Commissioned by the Graduate School at The University of Texas at Austin, the 2017-18 Graduate Climate Study seeks to better understand the attitudes, opinions and experiences of students enrolled in both academic and professional master’s and doctoral programs. Ultimately, the data will help inform future decisions about how the Graduate School allocates resources to have the greatest impact on the graduate community and promote a productive, positive and equitable climate.
The study was conducted online in the fall of 2017 by Hanover Research, six years after the first Graduate Climate Study in 2011. Results presented here were analyzed by the university’s Institutional Reporting, Research and Information Systems (IRRIS) office during the fall of 2018. Results represent 1,622 respondents who primarily identified as current UT graduate students when completing the survey in 2017. The survey was sent to 10,616 respondents, thus representing a 15 percent response rate.
Results are organized around 11 survey themes. Select a theme to view highlights of the study.
Highlights of the 2017-18 Graduate Climate Study
81 percent of respondents from the 2017-18 Climate Study were satisfied or very satisfied with graduate school at UT Austin. 88 percent would probably or definitely recommend UT graduate school to others, slightly lower than 92 percent of respondents from the 2011 study.
71 percent were satisfied or very satisfied with their career and life situation. 71 percent of respondents from the 2017-18 study agreed or strongly agreed that they would feel comfortable using the UT Counseling and Mental Health Center, compared to 60 percent of respondents from the 2011 study.
Respondents rated their experiences with various UT community members with average scores of 2.88 or higher on a scale from 1.00 to 4.00, with 1 representing a less positive experience and 4 representing a more positive experience
8 percent of respondents from the 2017-18 study reported experiencing discrimination, compared to 17 percent of respondents from the 2011 study. In the 2017-18 study, gender discrimination was identified as the most frequently experienced form of discrimination.
The vast majority of respondents reported they have never received any unwanted sexual attention from a UT community member. Females were more likely to report unwanted sexual attention compared to males.
31 percent of respondents from the 2017-18 study reported taking out loans to finance graduate school, compared to 42 percent of respondents from the 2011 study. Respondents from the 2017-18 study identified the top funding sources out of a list of eight. The top three sources were university or department fellowship, teaching assistantship and research assistantship
79 percent of graduate respondents rented their housing. The median rent per month was $800. The two most-common forms of transportation by graduate respondents were personal vehicle (34 percent) and Capital Metro bus or rail (23 percent).
67 percent of respondents were involved in research at the time of the survey. Respondents were least frequently engaged in the following types of research: lab research and large-group research.
89 percent of respondents from the 2017-18 study considered their career prospects to be good or better than others in their program, compared to 90 percent from the 2011 study.
Respondents found the following two careers most attractive out of a list of possible career options: professor at a teaching college/university and professor at a research-intensive university.