Concerns have been raised that geoscience programs tend to attract students from middle and upper class families, possibly due to either parental familiarity with geoscience from prior college experience or because of extra costs for co-curricular activities such as field camp. In an attempt to begin investigating the socioeconomic status of geoscience students, discussions within AGI’s Workforce Program have focused around using parent’s highest education level as a proxy for inferring a student’s socioeconomic status.
In AGI’s and AAG’s Geoscience Career Master’s Preparation Survey, similar to Currents 103, we asked Geography departments and non-academic professionals about 20 different specific technical competencies in geography. When asked about applying geographic information about geology and processes that shape the physical landscape, 51% of faculty and 36% of students indicate students are “Adequately” or “Extensively Prepared”, whereas 75% of non-academic professionals indicate that these skills are “Important” or “Very Important” to their careers. Overall in the physical Geography departmen
AGI’s and AAG’s Geoscience Career Master’s Preparation Survey asked facutly how prepared their students are in 36 different technical geology competencies. It inquired about how prepared students feel in these competencies, and compared those with how important each of the competencies are to non-academic professionals’ current positions in the workforce. The list of competencies were taken from the National Association of State Boards of Geology (ASBOG) Task Analysis Survey. The graphs examine 12 selected geology competencies that had the most interesting trends.
The number of women enrolled as undergraduate geoscience majors has leveled off, at least temporarily, at both graduate and undergraduate levels. Increased enrollment continues to be driven by growth in the number of men enrolling at both undergraduate and graduate levels. The shift in these gender-related trends is believed to be related to the rapid growth in the oil and gas industry with individuals seeking career opportunities to work in the field.
In AGI's and AAG's Geoscience Career Master's Preparation Survey, faculty were asked how prepared they feel their Master's students are regarding 28 non-technical competencies. Students were asked how much preparation they've received in their Master's programs for these non-technical competencies, and non-academic professionals were asked how important these are to employment in their current positions. Of the 28 competencies, the following graphs show trends in five selected non-technical competencies.
The Geoscience Career Master's Preparation Survey listed 22 different aspects about Geology and Geography Master's degree programs and asked how satisfied faculty and students are with these items. Overall, Geology and Geography students indicate they are "Satisfied" or "Very Satisfied" with faculty. This includes the amount of contact they have with professors (79% Geology and 74% Geography), as well as students being satisfied with the overall quality of instruction (66% and 72%, respectively).
AGI's and AAG's survey asked faculty how often their Master's advisees in Geology or Geography programs secure different types of positions post graduation. Students were asked how likely they were to consider these career choices . Non-academic professionals, whose highest degrees are Master's, were asked which best describes their current positions. Academia includes employment within K-12, 2-Year colleges or 4-year institutions, government positions include local, state, tribal or federal and the private sector includes industry or self-employment.
The Geoscience Career Master’s Preparation Survey by AGI and AAG inquired about Master’s students‘ career goals and what influenced those goals. Looking across Geology programs, some students’ most common career goals include working in the private sector, in teaching, education or diversity, and aspiring towards management positions. In Geography departments, Master’s students are looking to pursue teaching or education careers, work in the GIS field, or pursue industry careers in general.
The American Geosciences Institute (AGI) and the Association of American Geographers (AAG) received funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to investigate non-doctoral preparatory Master’s programs in Geology and physical Geography. The graph below depicts eight commonly identified reasons why students decide to enroll in a Master’s program.