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Currents 36:
Student Perceptions of Geology and Implications for Choosing Among Different Science Majors

Geoscience Currents #36, authored by Dr. Thomas D. Hoisch from Northern Arizona University, examines the results from a survey of 783 students in introductory geology classes that were surveyed at Northern Arizona University during the fall 2008 and spring 2009 semesters. The survey evaluated the perceptions and attitudes toward the sciences that are offered as undergraduate degree programs: Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science, Geology, and Physics. The survey results indicate that misperceptions exist regarding the field of geology. Geology was perceived to be low in prestige, low in difficulty and low-paying relative to biology, chemistry, and physics. In addition, geology occupations were perceived to pay less than studentsí minimum salary expectations. Student perceptions of prestige, difficulty and pay are significantly correlated, with students tending to associate higher pay with greater prestige and difficulty (Hoisch and Bowie, in press). Read more in Geoscience Currents #36.

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