Fostering a more inclusive and diverse community requires baseline information about our current demographics, recent trends, and the broader context of diversity in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) disciplines. Here we present a snapshot of that information, which in many cases reflects unacceptably low numbers that we actively seek to address.
Beyond Princeton, nationally and internationally, fields within engineering and applied science do not reflect the diversity of the broader society that these disciplines serve. In 2019, the latest year for which U.S. data are available, for example, just 215 Black/African American students earned Ph.D.s in engineering and computer science fields – just 1.7% of all the Ph.D.s in those fields in that year. Among all Ph.D. recipients in those combined fields nationally, 23.8% were women.
These numbers are far too low. This systemic imbalance intensifies the challenge of building a more diverse community at Princeton and underscores our responsibility to engage and contribute more broadly to diversity and inclusion in STEM.
The following data reflect diversity within the Princeton Engineering community for the most recent year available.
Gender and race as percentages of faculty, student, researcher, and staff groups
|Faculty||Post-doctoral||Graduate Student||Undergraduate Student||Administrative Staff|
Faculty = Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, Professor
Post-doctoral = Dean-of-Faculty-appointed Postdoc Research Associate, Postdoc Fellow
International = not U.S. citizen or permanent resident
Graduate student and undergraduate ethnicity data exclude students who are not permanent U.S. residents.
The School of Engineering and Applied Science established its Office of Diversity and Inclusion in 2018. During that time, the number of undergraduates enrolled in engineering grew by 19%. At the same time, the number of women undergraduates grew 33% and the number of students identifying as Black, Hispanic, Native American, or Pacific Islander grew by 29%, and the number of international undergraduates grew by 13%. Overall, engineering majors now comprise nearly 30% of all undergraduates at Princeton.
Another area of focused attention has been in broadening the recruitment of graduate students. Over the last five years the number of Ph.D. students in engineering grew by 30%, while the number of women in the Ph.D. program grew by 56%. During the same period, the number of Ph.D. students identifying as Black, Hispanic, Native American, or Pacific Islander grew by 150%. The number of international Ph.D. students grew by 29%.
Each increment of improvement has required a multi-pronged approach, including a strong commitment from the six engineering departments, robust outreach to a broader range of schools, and a constant examination and evolution of approaches to better engage and support applicants from diverse backgrounds.
Women and U.S. AHNP students admitted as percentage of all admitted graduate students
* AHNP students include U.S. citizens or permanent residents who identify as Black/African-American, Hispanic/Latino, Native American/Alaskan, Hawaiian/Pacific Islander.
While we are making progress, we have more work to do. The School of Engineering and Applied Science and its departments and centers will continue to work at many levels to enhance the diversity of our graduate student population and to enhance the success of all of our students once they join us. The Pathways programs for rising college seniors and for prospective faculty members are examples of outreach to increase access to graduate school and faculty ranks.