Association of American Geographers
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Undergraduate and Graduate Education Data

Bierly, Gregory D. & Gatrell, Jay D. (2004) Structural and Compositional Change in Geography Graduate Programs in the United States: 1991-2001. The Professional Geographer 56 (3), 337-344.

This paper presents an accounting of observed shifts within the structure and composition of geography graduate programs between 1991 and 2001. Using the AAG Guide to Programs, the study details how geography's primary divisions and areas of specialization have changed based on several parameters. These parameters include: department name, total tenure track lines, tenure track lines by major division (macrospecialization), tenure tracks by selected research areas (microspecialization), faculty rank, and degree programs. Using descriptive statistics, the paper identifies the structural implications of retirement in recent years, notes the emergence of new research areas (at both the macro- and microlevel), charts the expansion of traditional geography graduate programs, and the creation of new geography degree programs. The trajectory of the discipline is positive and growth continues. When and where reductions have been observed, the demographic transition of the professoriate is often an issue. Despite this inevitable transition, the growth and expansion of graduate programs continues and the overall pace observed is encouraging.

Pandit, Kavita (2004) Geography's Human Resources over the Past Half-Century. The Professional Geographer 56 (1), 12-21.

This article examines trends over the past five decades in three human resource issues in geography: the production of new geographers; the size and diversity of the membership of the Association of American Geographers (AAG); and the topical specializations of geographers. The number of geography degrees awarded increased rapidly in the 1950s and 1960s, followed by a modest decline as baby boomers exited their college years. The number surged again in the 1990s, however, and it seems to have stabilized in recent years. AAG membership trends followed a similar trajectory and membership is currently poised to set a new record. The participation of women in the discipline has increased steadily over the past half-century, but geography still lags the social and physical sciences in the share of women receiving bachelor's degrees. The participation of geographers from ethnic minority groups continues to be very low. The number of AAG specialty groups has doubled since their inception in 1978, and geographic information science (GIS) now occupies a prominent position within the discipline. Challenges in the coming years include increasing the diversity in geography, reducing the turnover in AAG membership, preparing for the imminent retirement of a large cohort of baby-boom geographers, and reconnecting with nonacademic geographers.

AAG members can access the full articles online through the AAG website

Third Party Data on Geography in Higher Education

The Digest of Educational Statistics includes a broad range of data on schools and colleges, teachers, enrollments, and graduates, in addition to educational attainment, finances, federal funds for education, libraries, and international education. Supplemental information on population trends, attitudes on education, education characteristics of the labor force, government finances, and economic trends provides background for evaluating education data.

Digest of Education Statistics

US Doctorates in the 20th Century
NSF 06-319 | October 2006
This report from the National Science Foundation examines trends in doctoral education since 1920. The report analyzes trends in science and engineering fields as well as non-S&E fields, and discusses issues ranging from time-to-degree to post-doctorate career patterns.
Historical data on PhDs awarded in Geography are available here:
The full copy of the report may be downloaded (PDF) here:


AAG Data

The AAG will periodically post and update data on the discipline gathered directly from departments, the AAG membership, and from third-party sources. This information is available on the AAG Data Page.

Graduate Stipend

The B.L. Turner and Deb Sinha of Clark University conducted a survey in 2006 to acquire data on graduate stipends in geography. 51 programs were contacted and 34 responded. The results are available in an Excel spreadsheet.

K-12 Education

The Geography Education National Implementation Project (GENIP) has a website] with links to data and reports on geography in American schools.