The average salaries for geoscientists in 2005 varied by years of experience. For geoscientists employed for 0-2 years, the average salary was $74,000, a 9.7% increase over 2004’s average. Geoscientists employed for 20-24 years earned an average of $139,000, which was more than a 23% increase over 2004 salaries.
The number of students enrolled in the geosciences in US colleges and universities remained relatively steady in 2007 based on preliminary numbers, with 19,216 undergraduates and 7,944 graduate students enrolled.
Degrees granted in 2007 remained steady, except for new doctorates, which increased sharply by over 30%. This sharp increase mirrors the influx of entering graduate students in 2003 and 2004 following the collapse of the dot-com boom. However, given the graduate enrollment profile since 2003, this increase in doctorate production will be short-lived.
The steep increase in the price of crude oil in the United States remains a headline issue, along with the falling US dollar. The drop in the dollar has caused concern in oil-producing countries which use it as the economic basis for the commodity, and often their currency. The chart below shows the spot market price of crude oil per barrel (BBL) in US dollars and in euros from 2001 to today. The price of oil has grown faster relative to the dollar than to the euro. Yet, a portion of the rise in oil prices is due to the fall of the value of the dollar.
As for January 2008, there were 12,354 geoscience faculty employed in geoscience departments at US colleges and universities, compared to 13,554 in 1999. The numbers of Emeritus and Assistant Professors remained the same over this time, but the number of all other faculty dropped. Currently, 56% of all faculty are tenured, while 19% are untenured, but in tenure-track positions.
Females make up 14.2% of tenure-track faculty in geosciences departments compared to 28% in tenure-track positions in all science and engineering elds. In the geosciences, 18.6% of non-tenure track positions are held by women. The level of female participation in faculty positions has not changed signicantly in recent years.
In contrast, the number of female students in the geoscience pipeline has steadily increased over the past several decades, with overall percentage of degrees granted to females at 43%.
College graduate workers with their highest degree in the geosciences comprise 23% of the mining industry, 11% of the petroleum industry, and 3% of the basic research industry. If a worker has multiple degrees, only their highest degree (bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate, or professional) is represented in these charts.
Individuals who hold terminal geoscience master’s or doctoral degrees have similar academic backgrounds. Both groups have comparable percentages of bachelor degrees in business (~ 1%), engineering (12-17%), geosciences (50-56%), other science & mathematics (18-19%), and other degree elds (12-14%). Also, 9% of geoscience master’s degree recipients have an associate’s degree, whereas 4% of geoscience doctoral degree recipients have an associate’s degree.
Most geoscience doctorate holders (79%) have a master’s degree.
Tenure-track geoscience faculty progress steadily through the academic ranks from assistant professor to full professor by the age of 60. Full professors tend to work later into their career, and there is a cross-over in the population of full professors and emeritus in the 71-75 age range.
The states with the most geoscience departments are in California, New York, and Pennsylvania. Students in states that have a larger number of universities with geoscience departments will, in general, have a greater diversity of options to major in the field in their region.
Low student to tenure-track faculty ratios have be linked to enhanced educational experiences of university students by allowing more contact hours between students and faculty members. This ratio, interestingly, does not strongly mirror the number of departments per state.