Race and Ethnicity of U.S. Citizen Geoscience Graduate Students and Postdoctoral Appointees, 2016

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The National Science Foundation’s Survey of Graduate Students and Postdoctorates in Science and Engineering is conducted annually to collect information about enrollments/hiring and demographics of graduate students (master’s and doctoral students) and postdoctoral appointees. AGI’s Workforce Program analyzed the data from 2016 to investigate participation of underrepresented racial and ethnic populations in postdoctoral opportunities within the geosciences.

Twenty percent of science graduate students were from underrepresented populations, whereas only 12% of graduate students in the geosciences were from underrepresented groups. Similarly, 9% of all science postdoctorates and 8% of geoscience postdoctorates were from underrepresented populations. Outside of the representation rate of Black and African American geoscience graduate students, the representation rates of racial and ethnic underrepresented groups in the geosciences are similar to STEM-wide trends, indicating diversity issues in the geosciences are not unique.

These reported rates only include U.S. citizens. If individuals from other countries were included in this analysis, the percentages would decrease because 54% of all science postdoctorates and 46% of geoscience postdoctorates in 2016 were non-U.S. citizens. Among graduate students, 32% of all science students and 22% of geoscience students were citizens of other countries.