Women, on average, outnumber men and are more successful in higher education. A literature overview showed that these differences may be explained by gender differences in learner characteristics, by external factors and by institutional factors. This study aims to explain gender differences in higher education in more detail by focusing on one of the recent research findings in this area: the role of the numerical representation of men and women in course programs. What are gender differences in study success in male and female-dominated course programs, and what are gender differences in reasons for leaving these programs? The research questions were answered by analyzing Dutch census data and conducting a survey on students that have left college. Results showed that gender differences in retention scores and reasons for leaving were indeed related to the numerical representation of women and men in course programs. Leaving female-dominated programs seemed to be a different matter from leaving male-dominated programs.

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doi.org/10.1007/s11162-011-9237-0, hdl.handle.net/1765/63114
Research in Higher Education
Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Severiens, S.E, & ten Dam, G. (2012). Leaving College: A Gender Comparison in Male and Female-Dominated Programs. Research in Higher Education, 53(4), 453–470. doi:10.1007/s11162-011-9237-0