Abstract

The American Geosciences Institute (AGI) and the Association of American Geographers (AAG) were awarded support from the National Science Foundation (NSF grant #1202707) to investigate non-Ph.D. preparatory master's degree programs in geology and geography. The study sought to understand students' experiences in their graduate programs, their career decisions, and how prepared they are in technical and nontechnical competencies. Faculty members and students from non-Ph.D.-granting geology and geography programs responded to an online Likert-style survey. Students responded directly to questions regarding their own experiences and preparation, whereas faculty members reported data on their previous and current master's students. Responses were compared with the trends in the careers of nonacademic professionals and their preparation in the same sets of skills. In addition, the study investigated how important those competencies are to the current positions of nonacademic professionals. Comparing the amount of preparation that students receive in their degree programs to how important those competencies are in the workplace allows researchers to determine whether the skills and competencies developed in master's programs adequately reflect geoscience workforce demands.

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