This graph shows the average number of earth-science masters and doctoral degrees awarded every year (the data has been averaged out by decade). There has been an almost linear increase in master’s degrees from 1950 to 2000.
Almost no earth science PhDs were awarded in New Zealand before 1960. The number of people undertaking doctoral study has gradually increased, and includes a high proportion of students from overseas.
To a large extent the increase in earth science graduate students reflects the expansion in university education in New Zealand during the later part of the 20th century. Similar data is not readily available for many other disciplines, but qualitative comparison suggests that earth science may be unusual in showing such a steady increase.
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Source: S. Nathan and others. Bibliography of New Zealand earth science theses 2002. 2nd ed. Miscellaneous Publication 113. Lower Hutt: Geological Society of New Zealand, 2002