apply to pHD programs in Geophysics after BS or work for a few years, then apply?

<p>Son is a geology major with an interest in Seismology and is committed to going to grad school, but at this point [sophomore] is not sure exactly what area of Geology he is interested in studying further or if he will be applying for a MA or PHD program. Looking at what newly minted UG geologist are commanding-$80-$100K a year due to the small # of geology graduates and the recent rise in commodity prices, the question has come up about whether he would be better to work for 3-4 years, and then apply to grad programs, or if he should apply and go to grad school right out college? He has been doing grad level research for 3 years[ started when he was 16] with a senior seismologist at USGS, and is preparing a paper for co- publication this summer. He will have great recommendations from both his USGS mentor and his UG professors, but are they going to be viewed as out of date 3 years after he graduates? Any thoughts from those with experience would be appreciated!</p>

<p>
[quote]
Looking at what newly minted UG geologist are commanding-$80-$100K a year

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Uh, that starting figure is way off. Try about half.</p>

<p>"...beginning salary offers in July 2007 for graduates with bachelor’s degrees in geology and related sciences averaged $40,786 a year."</p>

<p>[url=<a href="http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos288.htm#earnings%5DGeoscientists%5B/url"&gt;http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos288.htm#earnings]Geoscientists[/url&lt;/a&gt;]&lt;/p>

<p>well, you may want to look at this recent article
Bloomberg.com:</a> News
Here's a excerpt:
More Than MBAs </p>

<p>Geologists' pay tops the average for new U.S. MBAs, which, according to an August 2007 survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, was $86,696.</p>

<p>For some reason 'Sakky' seems to be running around disagreeing with information regarding Geoscience opportunities. I am a geologist in the energy industry in Houston. Demand is high in the energy industry and salaries are good along with it. I will post information regarding this link in another post</p>

<p>Salary</a> Survey :04:2007 EXPLORER</p>

<p>Oh i am a 25 year energy geologist who does some hiring, and is very involved with our salaries. We dont hire many new people are our ompnay, but two that we have salary was 75-80 k$ with fairly good benefits.</p>

<p>Read the ENTIRE link that sakky posts for full information... also link to me in other majors section for some more inforamtion</p>

<p>thank you rty456!
But back to the original question- will it "hurt" S's chances to eventually get into a pHD program if he works after getting his UG degree?</p>

<p>I believe the numbers that sakky links are for BS degree and include more than energy industry.... so now that I read more detail on the original post, I would STRONGLY encoourage the OP to look at grad school, and unless he is interested in teaching, look at a MS degree... ALSO based on almost UNIVERSAL experience that I have seen (and experienced personally as a geologist), I would encourage a MS right out of undergrad, not later. (sorry this is rambling, but Geophisicst have more opportunities as a BS than geologist, but overall advice holds)</p>

<p>USGS is good work, usually less than industry, but more stability.</p>

<p>OK thanks!</p>

<p>I dont really know. Since I dont have any experience on that side. I would say that the skills for grad school and working are different and that Grad school would be easier right after undergard. the USGS folks can say better about working at USGS with a BS, but they often dont get to do as good of stuff as the advanced degree folks. </p>

<p>Look into working a summer in the energy industry and see how he likes it... in houston we pay about $5000/month for summer interns. BAkersfield, has the highest concentration in Calif ( i lived there for 9 years even though I grew up and retured to Texas, after stops in Calif, Alaska, Russia, Middle East)</p>

<p>Is your son at USC?? trying to see by past posts, but asking is easier!</p>

<p>Yeah, he's at USC. I doubt he is interested in working at USGS [ at least at this point he is not since he's been there the past 3 summers] He has been doing seismology research, but it has all been at a computer, not in the field.
Whoa, $5000 a MONTH for interns? What kind of work does that involve?</p>

<p>The short answer is interpreteing reflection seismc data to evaluate subsurface geology to assess the presence and quantity of oil and/or natural gas. </p>

<p>USC (along with many Calif schools) are well respected in geoloscience</p>

<p>While many of us enjoy being in the field, most work is in the office on the computer these days</p>

<p>No offense, but why exactly does your son need your help to figure out if he she do grad school or enter the workforce? Is he graduating from University or middle school?</p>

<p>
[quote]
For some reason 'Sakky' seems to be running around disagreeing with information regarding Geoscience opportunities. I am a geologist in the energy industry in Houston. Demand is high in the energy industry and salaries are good along with it. I will post information regarding this link in another post

[/quote]
</p>

<p>First off, it is not I that is disagreeing with your posts. I am relying on NACE data, as reprinted by the Department of Labor. Why exactly would the NACE or the Department of Labor have an incentive to lie about bachelor's degree geology starting salaries? </p>

<p>
[quote]
well, you may want to look at this recent article
Bloomberg.com: News
Here's a excerpt:
More Than MBAs</p>

<p>Geologists' pay tops the average for new U.S. MBAs, which, according to an August 2007 survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, was $86,696.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Uh, actually, as rty456 said, you ought to read the links more carefully. First off, your link has to do specifically with Canadian geologists. What does that have to do with the topic at hand, where I gather your son is an American (as evidenced by his work with the USGS)? To legally work in Canada as an American, you have to secure work permits which are far from automatic. </p>

<p>Secondly, your original post is regarding starting salaries for bachelor's degree level geologists, as evidenced by your original quote of "Looking at what newly minted UG geologist are commanding-$80-$100K a year". </p>

<p>Look, we shouldn't kid ourselves. The data explicitly states that undergrad geologists in the US with no experience do not make anywhere near to $80-100k. In fact, they make about half that figure. Now, sure, the average geologist (averaged over all experience levels and all educational levels) can make $80-100k. But we're not talking about that. We're talking specifically about undergrad US geologists who are just starting out.</p>

<p>Rather than clouding the water, let me just say this. the energy industry offers starting (usually, though not always with an MS) salaries to Geologists and Geophysicsts of about $80,000/year plus often some sign on and travel bonus, and likely bonus program/stock that might vest over 3-4 years and be worth say another $20,000.<br>
The post I made from the AAPG, backs up these numbers. MY point about the BLS/NACE numbers is that undergraduate (especially) geology major often go into fields not in energy (which is the highest paying at the moment). The AVERAGE quoted may be correct, just not representative of those going into the field and on the energy side especially can expect.
For the OP, USC is a respected school, California has significant oil and gas, if energy is an interest it is an option and the AAPG (and my personal first hand knowledge) attest to starting salaries and intern salaries as noted above. In line with the bloomberg article, while about Canada, more closely represents the energy field, due the concentration fo energy in western canada and small number of geolscience grads.<br>
The AAPG salary survey in my post #4, shows for example someone with 20-24 years of experience averaging salary $155,000 is very much in line with my experience, significant stock and bonus on top of this (our internal surveys say industry average of about an additional 25%) are the numbers used in the ENERGY industry for geoscientists.
I dont question the validity of BLS/NACE numbers. I have recruited at a number of schools , lived adnd worked internationally and in several states, and there are large number of schools where geology majors do 'non-geology' things when they graduate. I stand by the numbers I quoted, in the context quoted.<br>
The quote that " The data explicitly states that undergrad geologists in the US with no experience do not make anywhere near to $80-100k" is wrong from a statistical view. On average that may be the number for those with a BS degree, but the average can certainly include a wide sample distribution.</p>

<p>
[quote]
I also am curious why sakky cares so much,

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Similarly, I could say that I am curious as to why YOU care so much. </p>

<p>Look, we call care because ultimately we are trying to figure out what the real truth is. And the fact is, the data indicates that BS geologists in the US with no experience do not make anywhere near to $80-100k on average. </p>

<p>
[quote]
but he needs to learn about averages

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Oh really? I need to learn about averages, do I? Should I report that to the moderators? Or perhaps we could exchange CV's and find out which one of us has taken more and more-advanced statistics courses and hence determine which of us REALLY knows about statistics? </p>

<p>Look, I have not insulted you personally. This is your warning not to do the same. </p>

<p>
[quote]
The data explicitly states that undergrad geologists in the US with no experience do not make anywhere near to $80-100k" is wrong from a statistical view. On average that may be the number for those with a BS degree, but the average can certainly include a wide sample distribution.

[/quote]
</p>

<p>Uh, exactly how is it 'wrong from a statistical view'? What does it matter if the average includes a wide sample distribution? That does not invalidate the data statistically. What is undeniable is that there is no evidence to indicate that a US UG geologists with just a bachelor's and no experience can reasonably expect to get $80-100k.</p>

<p>sakky, could you please take it outside? You have a pattern of arguing that is not helpful here, so if you want to discuss who is right or wrong, which I am not interested in, can you take your arguement elsewhere please?</p>

<p>Menloparkmom, if you don't like my posts, then don't read them. Nobody has a gun to your head.</p>

<p>I simply don't want anybody to believe uncritically that UG geology grads with no work experience get starting salaries of $80-100k. There is absolutely no evidence to support such an assertion, and much evidence to the contrary.</p>

<p>sakky is about right here. I think it is highly misleading to suggest that geology BS grads have $80 as starting salary. Unless you work in the oil drilling business. I think half of that is about right ~$40-50 for most of my friends fresh out of college. If geology was so lucrative, a lot of the engineers by training (ChemE/MatSci/PetroE) who get involved in the related energy business would opt to be geology majors instead. But the fact is that only a small portion move into the drilling sector.</p>

<p>Geology, agree or not, is an easier degree than engineering both comparing the number of courses required and the difficulty of coursework in basically any research-level university. So it is expected that normal traditional engineers have higher average starting salaries.</p>

<p>Anyways, to answer the original question, if your son was doing "grad level research" since he was 16, whatever that means, and that has been a good experience for him, he should continue and not wait. Time waits for no one and if your son is sure he wants to pursue a grad degree in geophysics (which is substantially different than geology). Don't let him wait till he's 30, because he will most likely be married by then and have much more lifestyle restrictions. Grad school is an investment of time so best use it wisely.</p>

<p>Well sorry if I have created an y controversy. I am 49 years old and a 25 year 'veteran' of the energy industry. I am in Texas, but I have lived around the world. Currently there is significant hiring of Geoscientist, true enough many/most have a MS degree, but not all. I will say this, as the Bureau of LAbor Statistics site that sakky posted mentioned the opportunites are good for geologist/geoscience. I can say with certainty that the salaries quoted are currently what the energy industry is paying. </p>

<p>NOW, on average and across the board and around the country this is not the normal outcome for a geoscience BS grad, but we are in a Graduate school forum.</p>

<p>I am a little passionate about this, because on the 'average' CC board there seems to be the idea that only certain specialities from certain schools can 'suceed' financially in the world. I dont want to be too specific about my financial outcome, but I have exceeded my dreams of compensation while enjoying a career as a geologist. Reports of compensation from our Executive group, all with multi 10 of millions in stock and income came from Colorado School of Mines, Oklahoma State, Univ Houston, DePauw, New Mexico State and have engineering and miscl business degrees..... I just want people to know that there are opportunities in the world from a number of backgrounds!!! </p>

<p>ALL THE BEST and best of luck</p>

<p>Back on task I want to back up Jmilton comments. I would generally agree that engineering is harder than geology (though geophysics is probably 'harder' than geology in general) , and second that especially with Geophysics that going on to grad school should be encouraged. ACROSS the earth sciences, I really think doing some graduate work and right after undergrad, is the best path for professional development</p>