Long live social science

Gender imbalance persists and social science continues to dominate, says Stats Can.

Students graduating from Canadian universities increased by 43 per cent between 1992 and 2007, according to a Statistics Canada report released today. The study revealed few demographic shifts among Canadian students and what they studied. There were a few notable changes in the gender distribution and in the share of international students graduating from Canadian institutions.

The proportion of graduates aged 22 to 24 has held steady at 44 per cent. Graduates between 25 and 29 increased slightly from 22 to 25 per cent,  while graduates over 30 decreased slightly from 25 per cent to 23 per cent.

The gender imbalance on Canadian campuses has persisted, as the share of women graduating increased to 61 per cent from 56 per cent. Data on international students prior to 2000 was inconsistent across the provinces, but between 2001 and 2006, international students graduating from Canadian schools increased to 7.4 per cent from 4.7 per cent.

There has been virtually no change in the fields that Canadians study, with the social and behaviourial sciences and law accounting for a little more than a fifth of all graduates. Additionally, the top three fields including business and public administration and education, as well as the social sciences account for more than half of all graduates.

Health related fields are almost exclusively female, with 82 per cent of all graduates in 2007 being women. In fact, women dominate in all fields except for three: architecture and engineering, math and computer science, and protective and transportation services. However, the only category that saw a decrease in the share of women is math and computer science, which has been accompanied by a similar decline among Canadian males pursuing those fields. It is a trend that has been offset by a greater proportion of international students, mostly male, studying math and computer science.

Statistics Canada says data for 2008 will be released next year.