Department of Family and Community Services

4.1 Undergraduate students

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Students participating in higher education at the undergraduate level

Current position

In 2011, women made up 57 percent of NSW undergraduate students (120,774 in total). Men made up 43 percent (92,322) of undergraduate students.

Gender gap

  • Some 28,500 more NSW women than men were enrolled in an undergraduate higher education course in 2011, a 13 percentage point gap in women’s favour.
The direction of change over time

In recent years, enrolment numbers of NSW students in Bachelor’s degrees have been steadily increasing for both women and men. From 2010 to 2011 the gap closed slightly in favour of men.

There has been a 23 percent increase in the number of women studying undergraduate courses from 2006 to 2011 (see Figure 3.11) compared with a 26 percent increase in the number of men, so the gap between women and men has closed slightly in this period.

Discussion

Three out of four female undergraduate students are under the age of 25. Of all female undergraduate students just over 2 percent were aged 50 and over.

Women born in Australia are amongst the least qualified of all women living in NSW with only 22 percent having attained an undergraduate qualification or higher. 56 percent of women born in Southern and Central Asia and 47 percent born in the Americas, North East Asia and the Sub-Saharan Africa attained an undergraduate qualification or higher. The only group to have a lower percentage than Australian-born women with undergraduate degrees are those from Southern and Eastern Europe (see Figure 3.12).

The educational gap for Aboriginal women is still acute, with only 8 percent of Aboriginal women having attained an undergraduate qualification or higher in 2011.

This indicator reports on all domestic students enrolled in undergraduate courses in Australia who in 2011 gave NSW as their state of permanent home location.
Undergraduate qualifications (associate and Bachelor's degrees and some advanced diplomas and diplomas) and postgraduate qualifications (graduate certificate, graduate diploma, Masters and doctoral degrees by research or coursework).

Year collected: 2011 and proceeding years.
Data source: Department of Innovation, Higher Education Statistics Collection (Student Collection), unpublished data.

Table 3.5 Undergraduate and postgraduate course commencements, NSW, 2011

Course level

Women %

Total Students

Undergraduate total

57

221,907

Bachelor’s graduate entry

56

5,011

Bachelor’s honours

60

3,014

Bachelor’s pass

57

197,061

Associate degree

36

3,786

Advanced Diploma

48

1,586

Diploma

48

2,463

Other undergraduate award courses

58

8,986

Postgraduate total

57

68,374

Doctorate by research

54

9,722

Doctorate by coursework

55

244

Masters by research

52

2,114

Masters by coursework

57

36,391

Postgrad. Qual/Prelim.

63

87

Grad. (Post) Dip.

60

11,436

Graduate Certificate

56

8,380

Population: NSW residents who enrolled in a higher education course in 2011.
Source: Department of Innovation, Higher Education Statistics Collection, (Student Collection), unpublished data. Explanation of the listed qualifications can be found at www.aqf.edu.au