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More women are applying for Electrical Engineering at KTH

Published May 31, 2017

KTH is officially Sweden’s most popular place to study engineering, and one programme that’s seen a spike in demand – Electrical Engineering – also logged a record number of women applicants in the last year, according to new figures from the Swedish Council for Higher Education.

Gabriella Hernqvist

The number of applicants for the electrical engineering programme, of which an increasing number are women, has picked up in recent years, after a period of decline. For the autumn term, the proportion of women who applied for the programme as their first choice was 20 percent (a total of 27 women), which is double compared to the previous year.

“This is an amazing development. We’re hoping of course that this is just the beginning and that we’ll be seeing more and more women join the programme many years into the future. We won’t be satisfied until we achieve a balance of around 40–60 percent,” says Communication Manager Gabriella Hernqvist.

These figures are unique for a master’s programme in electrical engineering. The programmes are traditionally dominated by male students, according to Hernqvist.

The leadership of the School of Electrical Engineering has taken the recruitment issue extremely seriously and has allocated resources accordingly; Hernqvist believes this is the most important factor for success in this area.

“It’s meant that we’ve been able to develop the programme while having the opportunity to try out different ideas for how to reach our target group. We’ve now settled on a couple of projects that we want to continue working on.”

To encourage more women to apply it’s been important to provide a more diverse image of what an electrical engineer can look like and work with in the future. The website and course catalogue have been key channels of information, along with student ambassadors and bloggers.

Hernqvist adds that without committed students, the recruitment project would not have been possible.

“It feels like we at Electrical Engineering have unusually powerful drive and commitment among our students, alumni and all the other stakeholders around us. We must continue to maintain and make use of this in the best way possible.”

She says that KTH-wide events such as Open Days and Giants have also helped. “They’re crucial to us. They give our programme an opportunity to reach prospective students in a way that we’d never be capable of ourselves. We’re entirely dependent on initiatives such as Giants and Tekla carrying on many years into the future if we’re to continue to broaden our recruitment base and seriously get close to the kind of figures we want to achieve.”

The high number of applicants has positive consequences for the programme, e.g. in terms of quality, she says.

“The fact that, as a student, you’ve applied for a programme that a lot of people see as attractive and exciting may be proof that you’ve chosen the right programme and hopefully spur you on to complete your studies at KTH. We also hope, of course, that a large number of applications and the higher points required for acceptance onto the programme that this often entails, will give us higher-quality students with a better chance of passing the courses.”

Christer Gummeson

Closer look at the numbers

  • The total number of KTH applicants has fallen, from 42,297 last year to 40,452 for the autumn term this year. The number applying with KTH as their first choice has remained more or less the same: 7,523 compared with last year’s 7,675.
  • At the same time a greater proportion of those who applied for an engineering programme chose KTH, seen nationwide. This proportion, 29.6 percent, is an increase of half a percent – most other seats of learning with engineering programmes have seen a slight decline in market share.
  • The master’s programmes in biotechnology, computer science, energy and the environment, and information technology, along with the bachelor’s programmes in computer science and mechanical engineering are among the programmes that have witnessed the biggest increase in applicants compared to last year.
  • The proportion of women who applied to KTH as their first choice remains more or less unchanged: 33.3 percent compared to 33.7 percent last year.
  • The programmes with the biggest proportion of women who have selected the programme as their first choice – 50 percent or more – are the architecture programme, the master’s programmes in biotechnology, medical engineering and engineering chemistry, the Bachelor’s in chemical engineering and the Bachelor’s in property development and real estate.

See more statistics on the number of applicants per course and programme (Swedish).