Is economics a STEM degree

Mint subjects: how many make it to graduation

It has almost become a magic word when it comes to future-oriented apprenticeships: Mint. Mathematics, computer science, natural sciences and technology should turn young people into the skilled workers of the future. But because fewer people are choosing this path than hoped, business and politics continue to stir the drum.

A picture over 14 semesters

The Institute for Advanced Studies (IHS) has now investigated the situation of Mint students. In order to be able to make statements about the course of studies, the researchers analyzed data from the university statistics of the Ministry of Science - but only from those with a higher education. Different age groups were observed from the first semester. For example, of all those who enrolled in a Mint bachelor's degree in the 2008 winter semester, a third had completed their studies by the 14th semester. Abortions occur especially at the beginning of the course: By the fourth semester around ten percent will have dropped out (also other courses, if they were enrolled more than once), after that the curve rises more slowly until it reaches 26 percent after 14 semesters. The change rate also rises steeply, especially at the beginning, and is 30 percent in the 14th semester. Two thirds of these changers have already completed another degree at the time (this can also be a Mint subject). In total, 56 percent of this year group finished their Mint studies they had started in this time window - 13 percent are still enrolled.

Compared to bachelor's degrees at public universities, which are not assigned to the mint area, the so-called shrinkage rate is higher there, but so is the success rate: 55 percent have completed any degree in the 14th semester, in the mint area it is five percent Less.

Which subjects are particularly long

At UAS, the curves are naturally somewhat different: in the sixth semester the success rate jumps up, in the eighth semester again - but at a significantly reduced rate - then next to nothing happens. By the 14th semester, 67 percent of the Mint studies started are completed, in other training fields it is 79 percent.

The data can also be used to identify which courses of study are particularly long or have higher drop-out rates. In science and math, the success rates in the Bachelor's are around 30 percent. The fact that around a third (up to the 14th semester) complete their first subject is also the case in non-Mint studies. The success rate in earth sciences is noticeably higher (50 percent). In four subjects - nutritional sciences, astronomy, meteorology and geophysics and statistics - only around a fifth complete the course they have started (although a few are still enrolled in the 14th semester).

Women just as successful

At universities of applied sciences, the success rates differ particularly if a distinction is made between full-time and part-time: In all courses in which both forms are offered, significantly fewer part-time students graduate. In Mint subjects it is 71 percent up to the 14th semester full-time, 60 percent complete part-time. It is not clear whether these terminations are due to a "job out", i.e. whether students are poached. According to the IHS, an indication of this would be if many dropped out towards the end of their studies, but in fact most dropouts take place in the first two semesters.

Overall, across all Mint bachelor's programs that have started at public universities, men and women are about equally successful. The IHS differentiates here further - according to previous school education: a total of 56 percent of Mint beginners were at an AHS, 26 percent at an HTL.

Previous school education has an impact

For women, the school background is less relevant. In men, those with an HTL Matura graduate 1.4 times as often as AHS Matura. The difference is particularly big in computer science: HTL high school graduates are 1.8 times more likely to graduate, while HTL women are even three times more likely to graduate. The trends at this level would clearly show that previous school education plays an important role in the different success rates of women and men, according to the IHS report - especially in IT. At universities of applied sciences, too, this is the subject with the greatest gender difference in qualifications (58 percent women vs. 67 percent men). (Lara Hagen, July 24th, 2017)