Between 2003 and 2013, the total number of bachelor’s degrees awarded in the United States grew by 36% from 1.37 million to 1.86 million. During this same period, the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded to African American, Hispanic, and Native American women grew by 65% from 146,495 to 240,987. Overall, the representation of these women among all bachelor’s degree recipients in the United States grew from 10.7% in 2003 to 12.9% in 2013. These impressive gains are not mirrored in the physical sciences.

We have compiled data on degree recipients in Earth Sciences, Atmospheric Sciences, Chemistry, Physics, Astronomy, Oceanography, and Other Physical Sciences. As seen in the figure, the overall representation of African American, Hispanic, and Native American women jumped between 2003 and 2013. However, their representation among degree recipients in the physical sciences was virtually unchanged at 6%—or less than half of their representation among all degree recipients. Next...

AAPT members receive access to The Physics Teacher and the American Journal of Physics as a member benefit. To learn more about this member benefit and becoming an AAPT member, visit the Joining AAPT page.