The participation rate of women in geoscience degree programs has continued its slow decline over the last decade. Undergraduate participation rates have leveled off around the 40% level, while graduate participation rates continue to drift down to about 42%. These are compared to historical highs of 49% for undergraduates in 2004 and 47% for graduate students in 2008. Though participation rates fell at the undergraduate level, because of continued enrollment growth, 1,200 more women were geoscience majors in 2015 than 2014.
Enrollments in U.S. geoscience programs remained robust during the 2014-2015 academic year. Undergraduate enrollments continued its long-term growth trend with a 7% increase, while graduate enrollments remained at. The continued growth in undergraduate majors appears to be driven by recent increases in the number of wholly online geoscience degree programs. Those programs reported nearly 5000 majors in the 2014-2015 academic year. Graduate enrollments were flat for the year. The continued tough job market for academic positions continues to impeded expansion of doctoral enrollments.
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 spring 2013, AGI distributed this survey nationally and received 428 responses from 71 geoscience departments. This Currents examines the results from questions focused on the survey participants’ plans after graduation of either a graduate degree or entering the geoscience workforce.
For the 2014-2015 academic year, AGI’s Geoscience Student Exit Survey had 692 graduating students from 210 different geoscience programs participate -- 495 bachelor’s graduates, 127 master’s graduates, and 70 doctoral graduates.
According to AGI's Geoscience Student Exit Survey, 48% of geoscience graduates choose to major in the geosciences at some point during their first two years as an undergraduate. This supports the importance of the introductory geoscience courses as recruitment tools into the major. AGI is conducting a brief survey to see the subject focus of these introductory courses, as well as the supplementary activities, such as field and research experiences, that can develop interest in the geosciences, for universities in the United States and Canada.