Increasing numbers of female doctorate holders in Iceland


The number of female doctorate holders having completed a doctorate degree has shown an increase in Iceland.  Women accounted for 46 per cent of doctoral degrees awarded in 2004.    This marks a considerable increase since 2003 when the proportion was 40 per cent.  All in all, this increase had an affect on the total number of completed degrees in 2004.  In 2003, 35 doctorate students completed their degree, whilst 37 completed their studies in 2004.  According to these figures, 2002 can still be considered a record-breaking year since that was when 48 students completed their degrees.  This can be seen in the annual Rannis analysis of doctorate degree holders.

The majority of Icelandic doctorate students undertake their studies in schools abroad.  Approximately 40 per cent of all students complete their degrees in universities in the U.S and 20 per cent do so in universities situated in the Nordic countries.  Nevertheless, an increase has occurred when it comes to the number of students completing their degree in Icelandic universities.  In 2004, ten students graduated from the University of Iceland whilst nine students graduated in 2003.  Thus far, the University of Iceland and the Iceland University of Education are the only universities that offer researcher training programs.

In 2004 most doctorate degree holders had studied subjects within the natural sciences, however the social sciences and medical sciences were also popular fields.  The trend was different in 2003 when very few doctorate holders came from the natural sciences.  That year, only men graduated with a degree in a subject within the natural sciences, but in 2004 women accounted for 40 per cent of degree holders in this field of science.  There is a marked decrease in graduations from subjects within the humanities and technology.

The number of doctoral students has increased considerably between 2003 and 2004.  In 2004, the number of doctoral students was 144, whilst 114 were registered the year before.  What is more, women account for 60 per cent of active research students.  There is an interesting difference between the sexes in their choice of study.   The majority of women undertake studies in the medical sciences whilst men select the natural sciences.

 The average age at the time of dissertation or award was relatively high in 2004.  The average age (graduating from the University of Iceland) was 38 years in 2004 whilst the mean age was 34 years the previous year.  Furthermore, the mean age was higher for the group of women (39 years) compared to the men (37 years) at the time of dissertation. 

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