Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Enrollments in U.S. geoscience programs remained robust during the 2013-2014 academic year. Enrollments continued its long-term growth trend with 6% and 4.5% increases for undergraduate and graduate enrollments, respectively. The continued growth likely reflects the strong employment outlook for the geosciences relative to the continued weak U.S. job market, though the drop in oil prices in late 2014 may impede some of that near-term growth.
In general, geoscience programs around the U.S. continue to report that they are at, or near, full capacity for students, especially at the graduate level.
Total enrollments in 2014 were 29,219 undergraduates and 11,433 graduate students.
Degree production at U.S. geoscience programs also remained strong. The revised 2013 enrollments showed a surge to over 4000 awarded bachelor degrees. The dip in 2014 is expected to be a reporting artifact as increasing numbers of bachelor degrees are being awarded in December and Summer graduations, and will be reflected in the updated figures for 2014 in our Currents report next year. The sudden increase in master’s degrees awarded in 2012 has become persistent with continued strong growth, with some of that growth at the expense of doctoral program enrollments.
The increase in master’s degrees is likely in response to the strong job market, with an increasing number of students pursing geoscience graduate degrees to improve their employability. More reports are being made by geoscience programs that students in graduate school are opting to exit with a master’s even though their original intent was the doctorate.
The total degrees awarded in 2014: 3700 bachelors, 1480 masters, and 638 doctorates.