Trends in soil science: looking beyond the number of students

TitleTrends in soil science: looking beyond the number of students
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsHartemink, AE, McBratney AB, and Minasny B
JournalJournal of Soil and Water Conservation
Pagination76 - 83
Publication Languageeng
AbstractDecreasing student numbers—along with related causes and concerns—is a common topic of discussion in the international soil science community. Such discussion is seldom quantitative. Here we present long-term student numbers (in undergraduate courses as well as MS and PhD graduates) of soil science departments in North America, Europe, and Oceania. A previous study by P. Baveye and co-workers had shown that in the United States and Canada student numbers fell by 40% in more than 80% of the universities between 1992 and 2004. The United States and Canada experienced an increase in female students in soil science between 1992 and 2004. Meanwhile, the number of foreign students has decreased. Student numbers have also decreased in New Zealand. Numbers at Dutch universities decreased in the early 1990s but have since stabilized. Two of three Australian universities had increasing numbers of students for undergraduate courses as well as MS and PhD graduates. Currently in the Netherlands almost half of all MS soil science graduates are female, while in the 1970s and up to the mid-1980s 80% or more of soil science graduates were male. It seems that teaching is becoming more general (more introductory courses to a range of other disciplines), while …