Exploring gender diversity in CS at a large public R1 research university

Monica Babeş-Vroman, Isabel Juniewicz, Bruno Lucarelli, Nicole Fox, Thu Nguyen, Andrew Tjang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

10 Scopus citations


With the number of Computer Science (CS) jobs on the rise, there is a greater need for Computer Science graduates than ever. At the same time, most CS departments across the country are only seeing 25-30% of female students in their classes, meaning that we are failing to draw interest from a large portion of the population. In this work, we explore the gender gap in CS at Rutgers University using three data sets that span thousands of students across 3.5 academic years. By combining these data sets, we can explore interesting issues such as retention, as students progress through the CS major. For example, we find that a large percentage of women taking the Introductory CS1 course for majors do not intend to major in CS, which contributes to a large in- crease in the gender gap immediately after CS1. This finding implies that a large part of the retention task is attracting these women to further explore the major. We correlate our findings with initiatives that some CS programs across the country have taken to significantly improve their gender diversity, and identify initiatives that we can start with in our effort to increase the diversity in our program. These findings may also be applicable to the computing programs at other large public research universities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSIGCSE 2017 - Proceedings of the 2017 ACM SIGCSE Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781450346986
StatePublished - Mar 8 2017
Event48th ACM SIGCSE Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education, SIGCSE 2017 - Seattle, United States
Duration: Mar 8 2017Mar 11 2017

Publication series

NameProceedings of the Conference on Integrating Technology into Computer Science Education, ITiCSE


Other48th ACM SIGCSE Technical Symposium on Computer Science Education, SIGCSE 2017
Country/TerritoryUnited States

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Engineering(all)


  • Gender diversity
  • Introduction to computer science
  • Student retention


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