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Table F2. Percentage of 2003-04 beginning bachelor's and associate's degree students who left STEM and selected non-STEM fields after their entrance into these fields, by major field entered: 2003-2009

Major field entered Left PSE without a degree or certificate   Switched to a different major field category   Total1
Beginning bachelor’s degree students
  STEM, total 20.2 28.1 48.3
   Mathematics 11.6 ! 25.9 37.6
   Physical sciences 17.7 28.2 46.0
   Biological/life sciences 15.2 30.5 45.6
   Engineering/technologies 19.7 21.3 41.0
   Computer/information sciences 31.2 28.0 59.2
   
  Selected non-STEM fields
   Social/behavioral sciences 17.2 27.6 44.9
   Humanities 23.0 33.1 56.2
   Business 23.2 26.5 49.7
   Education 19.9 42.4 62.4
   Health sciences 21.9 35.3 57.2
   
Beginning associate’s degree students
  STEM, total 36.5 32.8 69.3
   Mathematics 36.2 ! 41.7 ! 77.8
   Physical sciences 33.7 29.9 ! 63.7
   Biological/life sciences 23.6 44.9 68.5
   Engineering/technologies 40.2 21.9 62.1
   Computer/information sciences 41.0 30.8 71.8
   
  Selected non-STEM fields
   Social/behavioral sciences 33.4 34.2 67.6
   Humanities 43.0 29.4 72.3
   Business 39.7 26.0 65.7
   Education 39.0 31.5 70.5
   Health sciences 37.5 19.7 57.2

! Interpret data with caution. Estimate is unstable because the standard error represents more than 30 percent of the estimate.

¹ Total STEM attrition rate which is the sum of the percentage of STEM entrants who switched majors to non-STEM fields and the percentage who left PSE without earning a degree or certificate. Total attrition rates in other fields were calculated in the same way.

² “Students who left PSE without a degree or certificate” are also referred to as students who dropped out of college or college dropouts in the text.

NOTE: STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) includes mathematics, physical sciences, biological/life sciences, engineering/engineering technologies, science technologies, and computer/information sciences. Due to small sample sizes, science technology majors were combined with engineering/engineering technology majors. The resulting category is labeled as “engineering/technologies.” Social/behavioral sciences include economics, geography, international relations and affairs, political science and government, sociology, psychology, history, and other social sciences. Humanities include English language/literature/letters, foreign languages/literatures/linguistics, liberal arts and sciences/general studies/humanities, area/ethnic/cultural/gender studies, and philosophy/theology/religious studies. Business includes business, management, marketing, and related support services. Health sciences include health professions and related sciences, and residency programs. “PSE” refers to postsecondary education. Students who switched majors within a broad major category (e.g., from math to physics within STEM or from finance to marketing within business) are not considered as leavers from that broad major category. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding. Estimates include students enrolled in Title IV eligible postsecondary institutions in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Standard error tables are available at http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2014001. education. Students who switched majors within a broad major category (e.g., from math to physics within STEM or from finance to marketing within business) are not considered as leavers from that broad major category. Detail may not sum to totals because of rounding. Estimates include students enrolled in Title IV eligible postsecondary institutions in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Standard error tables are available at http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2014001.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2003/04 Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study, Second Follow-up (BPS:04/09) and Postsecondary Education Transcript Study of 2009 (PETS:09).

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