U.S. Geoscience Enrollments and Degrees Grow Robustly in 2011-2012

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The 2011-2012 academic year saw strong growth in U.S. undergraduate enrollments, continuing the nearly decade-long trend. Also, the 2010-2011 enrollment levels saw upward revisions based on additional updates provided by academic departments. The 2011-2012 preliminary data show an increase of 3.3% for undergraduate enrollments, and approximately a 3% decrease in graduate enrollments. Graduate enrollments nearly always are revised upward when they are confirmed in the following year, so we believe that final results will show flat graduate student levels. In addition, numerous departments have been reporting trouble accommodating the rapid expansion seen over the prior five years, so this level trend probably represents the general capacity of graduate students in the U.S. Also, particularly strong growth is being reported by departments in the Gulf Coast and by Northeastern public universities.

U.S. Geoscience Enrollments

U.S. Geoscience Enrollments (1955-2012). Source: AGI's Directory of Geoscience Departments.

Geoscience degrees conferred in the U.S. continued their upward trend, with over 3,200 Bachelor's degrees awarded in 2011-2012. Also, the 2010-2011 number was revised upward based on new updates from programs. Of particular note is the strong 44% increase in 2011-2012 in Master's degrees awarded, rising to 1,541. This robust growth was confirmed by a strong increase, and in some cases doubling, of awarded Master's in environmental science programs nationwide and geology programs in the Gulf Coast and Northeast. Doctorates remained generally steady, continuing its long-term trend.

U.S. Geoscience Degrees Granted

U.S. Geoscience Degrees Granted (1973-2012). Source: AGI's Directory of Geoscience Departments.

Date updated: 2013-02-01
Data Brief 2013-002
Written and compiled by Christopher Keane and Carolyn Wilson for AGI, February 2013

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