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2016 entering class: female enrollment up for the 15th year running Share Share

EPFL continues to draw more students – including more women. A symbolic threshold was crossed this year as 31% of first-year Bachelor’s students are women.

A trend that has held for the past 15 years has been confirmed by preliminary figures for 2016: the proportion of women in EPFL’s student body continues to rise. And a symbolic threshold has been crossed this year, as 31% of new first-year Bachelor's students are women. The total number of new first-year students also rose again, with a 6% increase on last year.

The schools that attract the largest number of women are architecture and life sciences, and life sciences is the only school at EPFL where women accounted for more than half of incoming students in 2015 (50.3%).

The 2016 Bachelor’s degree enrollment figures suggest that this year’s class will be a strong one for women at EPFL. But this is a continuation of a 15-year trend. 20.5% of the study body was composed of women in 2002 versus 27.7% in 2015. The school of life sciences, which began in 2002 at EPFL, accounts for one third of this increase. But women have made strides in other schools as well, including engineering (rising from 12% to 17%), computer and communication sciences (from 11% to 15%) and management (from 21% to 33%).

Slowly but surely, more women in the technical sciences 
“The technical sciences are less and less a male bastion, and the ongoing improvement shows that the progress we have made is here to stay, even if we would like it to happen more quickly,” said Patrick Aebischer, president of EPFL. “This is clearly the result of a changing society, but also of efforts that we have made in terms of encouraging women to study here and highlighting the careers that women graduates have embarked upon, whether in academia or entrepreneurship.”

The size of the overall student body should also increase, since the number of new first-year Bachelor’s students is up 6% compared to 2015. Physics showed the steepest rise (around 50%), followed by math (20%) and life sciences (15%). Of EPFL’s 13 schools, chemistry is the only one to see a significant decline in the number of new first-year students (-30%). While these figures account only for newly enrolled students, they give a fairly accurate idea of the total number of students on campus. Final figures will come out in November.



Lionel Pousaz, EPFL Press Service

lionel.pousaz@gmail.com or +41 79 559 71 61