Women in STEM Methodology
STEM-Friendly Scores were determined using several data points that are indicative of support for women in STEM. Schools were assessed across several categories and assigned scores based on performance. Each category’s scores were then weighted based on relative importance and combined with the other category scores to determine an overall STEM-Friendly score. These categories include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Percentage of female STEM graduates: schools with higher proportions of female graduates in STEM earned higher scores in this category. We used American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) data for this ranking criteria .
- Number of online STEM degrees offered: schools received higher scores in this category for having a variety of online options for prospective STEM students.
- Online support for women in STEM: schools with an online presence that focused on supporting women in STEM or virtual communities for online female STEM students received higher scores in this category.
Annual tuition numbers for these schools were manually researched and represent the bachelor's degree level if the school offers at least one online bachelor's degree or the master's degree level if the school offers at least one master's degree and no online bachelor's degrees. Out-of-state tuitions were used unless in-state tuition is offered to all online students. Tuition was calculated assuming full-time status. Unless otherwise stated, bachelor’s programs were assumed to require four years to complete and master’s programs were assumed to require two years.
To be considered for this list, schools must offer five or more online STEM degrees at the bachelor's level or higher.
Fully Online Status
Schools with programs that require some on-campus coursework were still considered for our rankings if the amount of in-person work was limited to less than two weeks worth of in-person requirements. This allows students to retain their current employment or other personal responsibilities.
The data used to determine the STEM-Friendly score was collected from schools' official websites, the American Society for Engineering Education, and the National Center for Education Statistics. The NCES is the primary governmental entity for gathering and presenting data related to education. The NCES data is updated annually as soon as it becomes available. The NCES does not release data into downloadable formats until it has been approved, so the most currently available data will not be for the most recent academic year.
Program data including available degrees, tuition rates, and details about program coursework were collected from schools' official websites, reflecting data for the 2017-2018 school year. Programmatic accreditation and profit status of schools were collected from official websites of the accreditation agencies or from the National Center for Education Statistics.