SoPA Students EDI Statistics

This page presents information about the gender and ethnicity of students in the School of Physics & Astronomy.

Gender and Ethnicity Statistics for the School of Physics & Astronomy

Introduction

The data presented below is produced by the University’s Equality Diversity Monitoring and Research Committee (EDMARC).  When this page was published, the latest data available for was 2019.

University-wide reports, methods, and definitions are available at the EDMARC web-page.

In some places, where we have small statistics (e.g. 5 or fewer students/staff in one category), we have aggregated categories together. Where we have done this we have noted this in the text.

Notation

  • In each graph, the School of Physics and Astronomy (SoPA) is represented along with the College of Science and Engineering (CSE), of which SoPA is a part. The whole of  the University of Edinburgh (UoE) statistics can be found on the far right.   
  • For comparison, Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) statistics can be found on the left for some statistics.  This includes data from universities from around the UK, serving as a benchmark to compare UoE statistics to what is typical for the UK.    
  • The sample size for students in each category ranks as follows:  SoPA  < CSE  < UoE  < HESA .
  • BME stands for Black and minority ethnic.  In some places, we have separated BME into UK and non-UK students.
  • In the gender statistics, we sometimes report sex (i.e. female and non-female) as opposed to gender, due to the way the data was collected.

Student Ethnicity Statistics

These present the proportion of Black and minority ethnic (BME) students for different groups.

The HESA data presented in the graphs of ethnic diversity is for all students in the UK in all subject areas, as HESA does not provide ethnicity data by subject area.

 Ethnicity: undergraduate students (UK and non-UK combined)

A bar chart showing the proportion of undergraduate that are BME and from the UK.  In SoPA, around 20% of total undergraduate students entering each year are BME.

Caption: Percent of undergraduate students that are BME, aggregating UK and non-UK students, by year of entry.
In SoPA, these are students studying for BSc and MPhys degrees.  The other categories include other subjects. 
Commentary: The proportion of BME students studying in the UK is slowly increasing, in the University and CSE trend is in the same direction but faster, but the percentage in SoPA is still below the University average.  Below you see the statistics separated for UK students and non-UK students.

Ethnicity: postgraduate research students

A bar chart showing the proportion of reseearch postgraduate students that are BME in SoPA, CSE and UoE over the past 5 years.  In SoPA, between 20% and 35% of PhD students entering each year are BME.

Caption: Proportion of postgraduate research students that are BME by year of entry.   
In SoPA, these are students doing PhDs in Physics or Astronomy.   The other categories include other subjects.
​​​​​Due to small statistics in SoPA, we have aggregated the data for UK and non-UK BME students.
Commentary:  The fluctuations in the SoPA statistics are partially due to the limited numbers of students (about 50) that start PhDs in the School each year.

Ethnicity: taught postgraduate students

A bar chart showing the proportion of reseearch postgraduate students that are BME in SoPA, CSE and UoE over the past 5 years.  In SoPA, between 20% and 50% of MSc students entering each year are BME.

Caption: Proportion of postgraduate taught students that are BME.
In SoPA, these students studying for MSc degrees in Physics. The other categories include other subjects.
Due to small numbers in SoPA, we have aggregated the data for UK and non-UK BME students.

Commentary: From 2014 to 2018, there is a slow upwards trend for the College of Science and Engineering and for the University, with a slight increase in the percentage of BME students over time. The number of MSc students in SoPA varies vastly from year-to-year and this is reflected in the variation in the percentage of BME students.

Ethnicity: UK undergraduate students

A bar chart showing the proportion of undergraduate that are BME and from the UK in SoPA, CSE and UoE over the last 5 years.  In SoPA, around 10% of undergraduate students entering each year are BME and from the UK.

Caption: Percent of UK undergraduate students that are BME by year of entry.
In SoPA, these are students studying for BSc and MPhys degrees.  The other categories include other subjects.
Commentary: About 10% of UK undergraduate students in SoPA are BME, which is slightly lower than the College and University average.   

Ethnicity: non-UK undergraduate students

A bar chart showing the proportion of undergraduate that are BME and from outside UK.  In SoPA, around 20% to 40% of undergraduate students entering each year are BME and outside the UK.

Caption: Proportion of undergraduate students from outside the UK that are BME.
In SoPA, these are students studying for BSc and MPhys degrees.  The other categories include other subjects.
Commentary: The proportion of international students that are BME has increased steadily in the University and College, the proportion in SoPA is below the College and University average. 

Student Gender Statistics

For the following graphs, the HESA statistics are specifically for women in the UK studying Physics and/or Astronomy.   

Gender: undergraduate students 

A bar chart showing the proportion of undergraduate that are women and from the UK in SoPA, CSE and UoE over the last 8 years.  In the last 4 years in SoPA, around 30% - 40% of undergraduate students entering each year are women.

Caption: Percentage of incoming undergraduate students that are women, by year of entry.
In SoPA, these students are studying for BSc or MPhys degrees.  HESA are students studying Physics and/or Astronomy; CSE and UoE categories include other subjects.

Commentary:  The proportion of women in our undergraduate intake (29%, 39%, 35% in the last three years) is consistently above the UK average of around 25%.  It might be useful to compare this to the proportion of women studying Physics at A-level, which is around 21-23% (source).

Gender: taught postgraduate students

A bar chart showing the proportion of taught postgraduate students that are women and from the UK in SoPA, CSE and UoE over the last 5 years.  In the last 4 years in SoPA, around 30% - 40% of MSc students entering each year are women.

Caption: Percentage of postgraduate taught students who are women by year of entry. In SoPA these are MSc students.  HESA are students studying Physics and/or Astronomy; CSE and UoE categories include other subjects.
Commentary:  The proportion of female students in SoPA varies a lot from year to year as the number of students studying for an MSc are small.  In the last two years reported, the proportion of women students studying for an MSc is similar to the proportion of undergraduates.

Gender: postgraduate research students 

A bar chart showing the proportion of postgraduate research that are women and from the UK.  In SoPA, around 20% - 40% of PhD students entering each year are women.

Caption: Percentage of women postgraduate research students who are women.  In SoPA these are PhD students.  HESA are students studying Physics and/or Astronomy; the other categories include other subjects.
Commentary: About one-quarter to one-third of PhD students in SoPA are women, which is in line with, or slightly above the national average.