The American Geosciences Institute has been conducting the AGI’s Geoscience Student Exit Survey for the past five years. The upcoming Status of the Geoscience Workforce 2018 report will have an analysis of the ve-year trends from the survey.
Career preparation for many geoscience students begins when they choose their undergraduate major and develop practical workplace skills through internships, leadership positions, or research experiences. A new series from the American Geosciences Institute called Career Compass provides suggestions and strategies for students to obtain critical competencies and experiences that will launch their geoscience career based on their academic preparation. Each Career Compass is constructed using data from the U.S.
Female undergraduate enrollment rates retreated slightly after several years of increases. Interestingly, the female participation rate in graduate enrollments rose sharply. This increase might be in response to an overall slower geoscience job market for bachelor’s recipients. This is likely enhanced with an exiting male-heavy cohort which did not seem to continue on to graduate school in response to the slowing job market, thus returning female graduate enrollment rates back towards the levels seen between 2005-2009.
The National Science Foundation’s Survey of Graduate Students and Postdoctorates in Science and Engineering is conducted annually to collect information about enrollments/hiring and demographics of graduate students (master’s and doctoral students) and postdoctoral appointees. AGI’s Workforce Program analyzed the data from 2016 to investigate participation of underrepresented racial and ethnic populations in postdoctoral opportunities within the geosciences.
Enrollments in U.S. geoscience programs remained relatively steady during the 2016-2017 academic year. Undergraduate enrollments have not substantially changed since 2012. However, a growing percentage of those undergraduate enrollments are in online degree programs, which have been offsetting enrollment declines particularly seen in private 4-year colleges and regional state universities. Following national trends observed across STEM fields in the past couple of years, geoscience graduate enrollment levels have declined 8%.
Between 2014 and 2017, 2376 geoscience graduates took AGI’s Geoscience Student Exit Survey--1764 bachelor’s graduates, 378 master’s graduates, and 234 doctoral graduates. In September 2017, AGI’s Workforce Program followed up with these Exit Survey participants to ask them about their career path as early-career geoscientists.
Online courses and programs in higher education have been a growing phenomenon for the past two decades. In recent years, geoscience programs have increasingly been adding online components to their curricula. During the survey in preparation for the 2018 Directory of Geoscience Departments, we asked departments about the state of online courses in their program.