The Community College to University Pathway: Geoscience Majors in the Texas Public University System

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Community colleges are a key part of many four-year university students' post-secondary education pathways. According to AGI's 2011 Status of the Geoscience Workforce report, within the science and engineering disciplines, 67% of Bachelor's degree recipients, 58% of Master's degree recipients and 44% of Doctorates attended community college. Furthermore, within the geosciences, 52% of Bachelor's degree recipients, 40% of Master's degree recipients, and 21% of Doctorates attended community colleges.

Understanding the flow of students from community colleges to four-year institutions allows faculty to develop closer cross-institutional ties that can foster a stronger pipeline between community college and university programs. In 2012, 69% of the 7,445 geoscience majors at 26 Texas public universities had transferred from one of 67 Texas community colleges. Most universities received these transfer students from a pool of 5 or fewer community colleges. However, 5 universities received students from a pool of more than 10 community colleges.

Texas Tech University and Texas A&M University, College Station received these transfer students from the largest pool of Texas community colleges, at 25 and 32 community colleges, respectively. Sul Ross State University, Midwestern State University, Texas A&M International University, University of Texas of the Permian Basin, University of Texas at Brownsville, University of Texas at El Paso each received students from only one community college each in 2012.

Public Universities Receiving Geoscience Students from CC

Texas public universities receiving geoscience majors from the largest number of Texas community colleges (2012). Source: Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

Dallas Community College District, which is comprised of 7 community colleges, served 11 universities that had geoscience majors who transferred from Texas community colleges. The Lone Star College System District (which is comprised of 5 community colleges) and Houston Community College served the next largest number of universities in Texas in 2012, at 10 universities each.

Texas CC with Widest Distribution of Geoscience Majors at Public Universities

Texas community colleges with the widest distribution of students into geoscience majors at Texas public universities (2012). Source: Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

For a full exploration of the flow of students from community colleges to geoscience majors at public universities in Texas between 2000 and 2012, see the data visualizations posted on Tableau at: