What Students Do After Graduation

What Students Do After GraduationGWU students who graduate with a degree in geoscience typically follow various pathways as they launch their post-baccalaureate careers.  Many of our students choose to pursue additional study in graduate school.  Most enter MS programs; however, it is not unusual for students to undertake Ph.D. studies directly upon leaving GWU.  Students who complete senior research projects and qualify for Special Honors typically have greater choice of schools to attend and are usually more likely to receive financial aid in the form of assistantships.  In recent years, GWU geology students have gone on to pursue studies at many of the most prominent graduate departments for geology in the United States, including those at Stanford, UCLA, University of California at Santa Barbara, University of Arizona, University of Michigan, and Washington University at Saint Louis, among others.  In all cases, such students have been the beneficiaries of full financial aid through graduate assistantships.  Students who ultimately complete a doctorate degree typically pursue careers in research and/or academia.  Students choosing to complete only a master’s degree have considerable latitude with respect to pursuing careers in industry, including working at firms specializing in environmental applications.

Other students have chosen to enter the private work force directly upon graduation.  Most such students obtain employment with private firms that specialize in environmental applications.  There are many such companies located in the greater Washington D.C. metropolitan area, and such firms are common in most urban areas of the United States.  Students who accept positions with such firms immediately after completing their BA or BS degree can expect to take on a variety of duties ranging from sample collection and other field-based responsibilities to providing research for the report-writing staff.  Other students have chosen to accept employment in the energy or mineral resources industries working for companies engaged in petroleum exploration or mineral-resource development.

Some students have chosen to work for Federal agencies such as the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) whose national headquarters are located nearby in Reston, Virginia.  Students who have followed this route in recent years have worked on teams focused on topics ranging from coal characterization to field mapping of volcanic rocks.  The nature of such jobs varies from temporary contract work to extended full-time positions.  However, in nearly every case, students report that the jobs provide extraordinary opportunities for meeting and interacting with a wide array of geoscientists, thus providing contacts and forging friendships that can last for most of a career.  In some cases, such employment opportunities have been the direct result of internships held by students while they pursued their studies at GWU.