In the fall, spring, and summer of academic year 2013-2014, AGI distributed AGI’s Geoscience Student Exit Survey nationally to students graduating with a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree in a geoscience field. The survey generated 688 responses from 167 different departments. Out of the 688 responses, 517 came from bachelor’s graduates, 115 came from master’s graduates, and 56 came from doctoral graduates. Using AGI’s graduation data from 2013, this sample size was determined as considerably large enough to represent the population of geoscience graduates.
The graph shows the 2013 median annual salaries for geoscience-related occupations in the United States as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The colors represent a dierent occupational category. The columns in the lighter colors display the annual median salary for a broad occupational grouping. The darker colors are specic geoscience occupations within the broad occupational groups. Except for soil and plant scientists and technician occupations, the median salaries for the geoscience occupations are higher than the median salaries for the broader occupation groups.
The circular1 diagram below displays the connection between the degree fields of recent geoscience graduates (in color) to the industries where these geoscientists found their first job after graduation (in gray). The size of the bars along the outer edge of the circle represent the number of recent graduates that pursued a particular degree eld and entered a particular industry. Each colored, inner ribbon connects a particular degree field with the various industries where graduates found jobs.
According to NSF’s Survey of Federal Funds for Research and Development, in 2010, the federal government spent $3.3 billion on grants for basic and applied research in geoscience. The majority of this investment was spent on projects in the environmental sciences.
In 2013, there were 10,265 geoscience faculty and researchers employed at U.S. four-year universities, compared to 10,213 in 2011 and 10,051 in 2008. Approximately 72% of the geoscience faculty are tenured and 14% are untenured but in tenure-track positions. The other 14% are the researcher scientists, adjunct professors, and lecturers working at four-year universities.
According to the U.S. Department of Education, in 2011, enrollments at two-year colleges were 16% African American, 19% Hispanic, and 2% Native American/Native Alaskan, whereas enrollments at four-year institutions were 14% African American, 10% Hispanic, and 1% Native American/NativeAlaskan. While total enrollments are higher at four-year institutions compared to two-year colleges, many underrepresented minorities start their post-secondary education at two-year colleges.
The number of degrees being awarded to women has generally continued to increase through time. The percentage of degrees awarded to women has not declined like enrollment, and the total number of degrees are rising at all levels.
The number of women enrolled as undergraduate geoscience majors continued to increase, and at the graduate level remained largely steady. Given the recent trend of lower percentages of female participation, we decided to present the data to see if the absolute number of females was also decreasing.
Enrollments in U.S. geoscience programs remained robust during the 2012-2013 academic year. Though total enrollments retreated from their 2011-2012 highs, the drop in enrollments was less than 3%. The current enrollment trend likely reflects the strong employment outlook for geosciences relative to the continued weak U.S. job market.
Accurate data on the enrollments and completions of underrepresented minorities in geoscience degree programs can be difficult to acquire. The most commonly used source is data provided by the Department of Education through their Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS).