News, Press Release

Twelve CGS Member Institutions to Assess Role of Master’s Education in STEM Workforce Development

Katherine HazelriggIssued: 08-18-21

Contact: Julia Kent (


Washington, DC — Today the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) announced that twelve CGS member universities will collaborate with the Council to expand our understanding of how master’s education across all fields prepares the STEM workforce. Using a common survey, they will examine the extent to which skills, expertise, and competencies instilled through master’s education align with rapidly evolving jobs and industries of the future. Participating universities include: California State University at Bakersfield, Georgia State University, Hood College, Jackson State University, Oakland University, Old Dominion University, Texas State University, the University of California, Berkeley, the University of Central Florida, the University of Minnesota, the University of North Dakota, and the University of North Texas.

As part of a project titled, Understanding Roles of Master’s Education in Entry Into, and Upskilling and Reskilling for, the STEM Workforce, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF# 2100343), participating universities will contribute to the development of a data infrastructure for future research on master’s education while providing more nuanced insights into labor market outcomes of master’s degrees by various fields of study, gender, race/ethnicity, and career stages. The universities will conduct a census of all master’s degree recipients through an exit survey.

“Recent Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data reveal that many of the fastest-growing fields will require master’s degrees, but little information exists about professional pathways. This project seeks to understand the variety of ways that master’s degree holders contribute to the evolving STEM workforce, and what types of attributes, experiences, and support enhance a student’s success as they transition to new careers.”

The twelve university participants will field the master’s exit survey, use resulting data for program improvement, and share de-identified, individual-level data with CGS to inform national best practices. This three-year project will be completed in summer 2024, but CGS intends to share insights throughout the term of the project.

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About CGS

The Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) is an organization of approximately 500 institutions of higher education in the United States and Canada engaged in graduate education, research, and the preparation of candidates for advanced degrees. The organization’s mission is to improve and advance graduate education, which it accomplishes through advocacy in the federal policy arena, research, and the development and dissemination of best practices.