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Graduation In Engineering Related To Personality Type And Gender

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1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



Page Count


Page Numbers

4.279.1 - 4.279.10

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Peter Rosati

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1692

Graduation in Engineering Related to Personality Type and Gender Peter Rosati The University of Western Ontario


The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) was completed by most students (n=1865) entering the University of Western Ontario (UWO) engineering program during the years 1987-1993 and has provided a stable personality profile of the engineering entry class. The personality type of this entry class of Canadian engineering students shows cross-cultural differences from similar data for American students. The UWO entry class are also significantly I_TJ (introverted, thinking and judging) in comparison with other Canadian first-year students and, additionally, the UWO engineering program graduates an even larger proportion of students with these same I_TJ preferences. On the other hand, E_FP (extraverted, feeling and perceptive) types are under- represented in the entry class yet feature significantly both in the group of students who withdraw after or during first year and also in the group who transfer out of engineering and graduate in other non-engineering disciplines. The engineering profession would certainly benefit from a larger proportion of E_FP types who by nature adapt well to change, enjoy variety and action, are interested in people and are good communicators!

In general those personality type trends which are statistically significant are those for the total group (1865) or for the male students (1601) rather than for the smaller group (264) of female students. However the female engineering students although they are significantly more ENFJ than the male engineering students both in comparing the entry groups and in comparing the engineering graduate groups are nevertheless at least equally successful (68%) as the males (56%) in graduating from the engineering program.

This paper highlights the main connections between personality type and progress of students through the engineering program in terms of retention, choice of engineering discipline and engineering graduation and compares the data for male and female students.


Professional engineers both in Canada1 and the U.S.2 have identified an increased future demand for engineers who not only have broad-based technical competence but also the adaptability to cope with societal and technological change. In order that the profession can function in an increasingly multiracial and multicultural workplace engineering schools must attract all races and both genders. These future engineers will need an appreciation of society’s environmental concerns, a commitment to the solution of environmental problems and the interpersonal skills to work effectively in groups towards their solution. It would therefore be of serious concern if engineering schools were unable to attract, or maybe retain, those students whose personality preferences would dispose them to be good communicators, outgoing, creative and naturally attuned to consider the human aspects of any situation.

Rosati, P. (1999, June), Graduation In Engineering Related To Personality Type And Gender Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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