Career goals, pathways and competencies of geography graduate students in the USA

Michael Solem, Aurelia Kollasch, Jenny Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


This study examines the motivations and career goals of geography graduate students and the extent they are prepared in transferable skills. Women and students specializing in geographic information science and technology are primarily motivated by career opportunities in the private sector, whereas doctoral students express a preference for academic career paths and their goals are more influenced by faculty and departmental prestige. Students in Master's programs and those specializing in physical geography are more likely to seek positions with government employers. Master's and doctoral programs are providing opportunities for students to develop competency in a wide-range of transferable skills. However, there are many organizational and business-oriented skills that employers value but which are not commonly taught in graduate curricula in geography programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)92-116
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Geography in Higher Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2013


  • career preparation
  • graduate education
  • transferable skills

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Education


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