TABLE 3-4Top Reasons for Leaving Science, Engineering, or Mathematics Undergraduate Degree Program, by Sex

Reason for Switching to Non-SEM MajorWomen Men
%Rank%Rank
Non-SEM major offers better education 46 1355
Lack/loss of interest in SEM432421
Rejection of SEM careers and associated lifestyles 38 32011
Poor teaching by SEM faculty334393
Inadequate advising or help with academic problems 29 52010
Curriculum overload296 42 2
SEM career options not worth the effort277 36 4
Shift to more appealing non-SEM career option278276
Loss of confidence due to low grades199277
Financial problems1114 24 9
Morale undermined by competition419 26 8

NOTE: Percentages in bold face indicate where differences between men and women were significant.

SOURCE: E Seymour and NM Hewitt (1997). Talking about Leaving. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

From: 3, Examining Persistence and Attrition

Cover of Beyond Bias and Barriers
Beyond Bias and Barriers: Fulfilling the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering.
National Academy of Sciences (US), National Academy of Engineering (US), and Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Maximizing the Potential of Women in Academic Science and Engineering.
Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2007.
Copyright © 2007, National Academy of Sciences.

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