News Release

Geoscience Currents #69: US female geoscience enrollment and degree rate is mixed in 2011-2012

Reports and Proceedings

American Geosciences Institute

Alexandria, VA – Geoscience Currents #69 explores how female geoscience enrollments and degrees changed in the 2011-2012 academic year. New data collected shows that female geoscience enrollments and degrees in the U.S. dropped sharply at both the Bachelor's and Master's levels, but increased slightly at the Doctoral level. The percentage of women enrolled in undergraduate geoscience programs in 2011-2012 was at the lowest levels seen since the 1990s, and Master's participation rates fell below 40% for the first time since 2001. Alternatively, women's participation in geoscience Doctorate programs continued its steady growth, rising to 45% in 2012. Although specific causes for the decline are unknown, Geoscience Currents #69 poses potential theories for drivers for these changes, including the possible end of programs that engage female participation in STEM fields, or perhaps the recent growth in the energy sector is attracting substantially more men than women to the field.

A copy of Geoscience Currents 69 can be found online at


Geoscience Currents are quick snapshots of data released by AGI on the status of the geoscience workforce. The Currents represent data collaborations with other societies, employers, and professionals. Topics for these reports are inspired by inquiries from geoscience community leaders. Interested in participating in AGI's Geoscience Currents? Visit and register to receive free email updates containing the latest Geoscience Currents.

The American Geosciences Institute is a nonprofit federation of geoscientific and professional associations that represents more than 250,000 geologists, geophysicists and other earth scientists. Founded in 1948, AGI provides information services to geoscientists, serves as a voice of shared interests in the profession, plays a major role in strengthening geoscience education, and strives to increase public awareness of the vital role the geosciences play in society's use of resources, resiliency to natural hazards, and interaction with the environment.

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