New Geoscience Graduates' Employment and Education Plans, Spring 2012

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AGI's National Geoscience Student Exit Survey measures the relevant experiences in school and the immediate career plans upon graduation of recent geoscience degree recipients. In April 2012, AGI conducted the second pilot test of this survey and received responses from 46 departments. This Currents examines the results from questions focused on the survey participants’ future plans after graduation.

Out of the 233 undergraduate survey participants, 38% of undergraduates planned to go to graduate school; the majority of those students intended to work toward their Master's degree. While most of these students were planning to continue their studies within the geosciences, 11% of those are pursuing a graduate degree outside of the geosciences. Out of the 61 graduate degree recipients that completed the survey, 26% of graduate students plan to return for another graduate degree. Most of these students graduated with their Master's degree and are returning for their doctoral degree in the geosciences.

Percent of Students Planning to Pursue a Graduate Degree

Students planning to pursue a graduate degree. Source: AGI's National Geoscience Student Exit Survey.

When asked about their job prospects in the geosciences, 48% of undergraduates and 38% of graduate degree recipients said they were seeking a geoscience position, whereas 17% of undergraduates and 36% of graduate degree recipients had accepted a job position in the geosciences. The graph in the lower left corner shows the industry sectors where the new graduates are working. While salaries for undergraduates and graduate degree recipients ranged from less than $30,000 to more than $120,000, the average salary for a Bachelor's graduate was in the $30,000 to $40,000 range. The average salary for a Master's of Doctorate graduate was within the $60,000 to $70,000 range.

Industry Sectors Where students Found Jobs

Industry sectors where students found geoscience jobs. Source: AGI's National Geoscience Student Exit Survey.

The students that found a job in the geosciences were asked which sources led them to that position, and 83% of the undergrads replied either through their personal network or through faculty referral. The responses from graduate degree recipients were more varied as seen in the graph in the lower right corner. 20% of undergraduate and 8% of graduate degree recipients were seeking or had found jobs outside of the geosciences.

Useful Sources for Finding a Geoscience Job

Useful sources for finding geoscience jobs. Source: AGI's National Geoscience Student Exit Survey.