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Alumni Survey, Summer 2007


The Alumni Survey is administered every four years to provide information that can be used in evaluating the academic environment of CU-Boulder. The survey contains questions about current employment of alumni, the extent to which that employment is related to the education they received at CU-Boulder, their plans for further education, and their satisfaction with CU-Boulder.

The 2007 CU-Boulder Alumni Survey, like the 2003 survey, was designed both to provide information that individual programs can use for planning purposes and to summarize alumni experiences for the entire CU-Boulder campus. Previous alumni surveys, conducted in 1998 and 2001, relied on much smaller samples and did not provide program-level information.

Near-simultaneous postcard announcements and email announcements were sent in May 2007 to a random sample of 4,008 alumni who earned a bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degree between August 2002 and May 2004. Alumni were directed to a website to access the on-line questionnaire.

A total of 828 alumni (21% of the sample) completed a questionnaire. This response rate is comparable to that observed in the 2003 alumni survey (19%). A table of the population, sampling frame, sample, and respondents illustrates this situation. Additional information is provided in the method section.

The relatively low response rate casts some doubt on whether we can properly generalize the survey results to the overall population of CU-Boulder alumni. The results of this survey should therefore be interpreted with caution.

Highlights of the Results

Where Alumni Live. The majority of CU-Boulder alumni (58%) who earned a degree between August 2002 and May 2004 chose to live in Colorado. Similar percentages of bachelor's and master's recipients (58% and 61%, respectively) live in Colorado, whereas fewer doctoral recipients (43%) do. California was the second most popular choice for CU-Boulder alumni, with 10% of all alumni living in California (8.5% of bachelor's, 1% of master's, and .5% of doctoral recipients). In addition, the proportion of bachelor's recipients living in Colorado differs substantially for those alumni who entered CU-Boulder as residents versus non-residents. Of the bachelor's recipients who were residents when they entered CU-Boulder, 78% were living in Colorado in 2007; compared to 26% of the bachelor's recipients who were non-residents at entry currently reside in Colorado. Note that the information on where alumni live is from the CU Foundation's records, and is based on data from alumni who had a U.S. mailing address (n=10,886), rather than on only those alumni who responded to the survey.

Employment and Further Education. The responses from several questionnaire items were combined so that patterns of employment and education could be studied. In the tables and graphs (see links to the left), this combined question is referred to as "Employment and further ed." Overall, three to five years after graduation, 95% of alumni report that they are currently employed and/or in further education (94% of bachelor's, 98% of master's, and 96% of doctoral recipients). Very few (3%) reported that they are not in further education at this time and are seeking employment (4% of bachelor's, none of master's, and 2% of doctoral recipients). A very small percentage of all alumni (2%) indicated that they are not employed, are not seeking employment, and are not in further education. It is possible that alumni with full-time parenting responsibility account for a portion of those in such circumstances, although this cannot be determined from the survey data.

87% of all alumni indicated they were either employed and/or pursuing graduate study within 6 to 12 months of graduating from CU-Boulder. This percentage varied across degree level and colleges, with for example, 87% of recent bachelor's recipients, 92% of master's alumni, and 84% of doctoral alumni reporting employment and/or graduate study 6 to 12 months after graduating. Across all colleges and Arts and Sciences divisions, the proportion of bachelor's degree alumni reporting employment and/or further graduate study soon after graduation from CU-Boulder ranged  from 83% for Journalism to 89% for Engineering, and as high as 93% for Music and 96% for Architecture and Planning. Data from both Music and Architecture and Planning are comprised of relatively few responses from alumni--approximately a dozen responses from each of these colleges.

Employment (in a job not related to an educational program, such as intern/graduate assistant). Most CU-Boulder alumni (76%) reported that they are currently employed. Doctoral degree recipients reported a higher rate of current employment (84%) than did master's (70%) or bachelor's degree recipients (76%). Some of the highest rates of reported employment, across colleges, occurred for Journalism and Music (100%, doctoral recipients), Business (91%, master's recipients), and Arts and Sciences-Natural Sciences and Arts and Sciences-Social Sciences (91%, doctoral recipients).

Current employment positions: Alumni who indicated they were employed, were asked to write in their current job title. Seventy-five percent of all alumni entered a description of their current job title; this included 75% of bachelor's recipients, 70% of master's recipients and 83% of doctoral recipients who listed their current employment position. The listing of job titles is posted as a word document and is organized by college/division, major program, and degree level.

Similarity of field of employment to program of study: Considerably more doctoral and master's degree recipients than bachelor's recipients reported that their current employment is in the "same field" as their CU-Boulder degree (70%, 68% vs. 25%, respectively). Substantially more doctoral recipients than both master's and bachelor's recipients reported that what they gained from their program of study "definitely" helped them to get or keep their current employment (91% vs. 58%, 55%, respectively). Notably, only 3% of doctoral recipients, and 7% each of master's and bachelor's recipients reported that they were in a different field "not by their choice." All others were either in the same or a related field, or in a different field "by choice."

Current salary: As might be expected, higher salaries were associated with higher levels of education. For example, 63% of employed bachelor's recipients reported earning $40,000 or more per year. In comparison, 81% of master's recipients and 77% of doctoral recipients reported annual salaries at this level. More doctoral recipients (34%) than either master's or bachelor's recipients (21% and 10%, respectively) reported earning $80,000 or more annually.

Further Education. Forty-one percent of bachelor's recipients, 22% of master's recipients, and 4% of doctoral recipients reported taking courses toward an additional degree after receiving their CU-Boulder degree. Seventy-nine percent of bachelor's recipients said that they plan to earn a master's degree or higher, and 42% of master's recipients plan to earn a specialist, professional, or doctoral degree. Among bachelor's recipients, courses taken for an additional degree are often in medicine and health (18%), business (12%), law (11%), natural sciences (11%), or social sciences (10% each). Master's recipients reported that their further courses are often in engineering (31%), education (14%), humanities (11%), or business (9%).

Further degrees currently working on or obtained: Almost one fourth of the alumni (24%) reported they were currently working on, or had obtained, an additional degree at the time of the survey. Of the bachelor's recipients who were pursuing or had received an additional degree, over half (57%) were pursuing or had obtained a master's degree and 40% were pursuing or had obtained a doctoral degree. Of the master's students, 18% were working on, or had received, an additional master's degree and 82% were pursuing or had obtained a doctoral degree. In an additional open-ended item, these respondents also provided written information on the level of the degree they were seeking, the area of study, the institution and location of the school they were/had been attending; they also indicated whether they had received this degree or not. This information is posted in a table, organized by college/division, CU degree level, the degree they were working towards, and whether they had obtained this degree.

CU-Boulder Experience. Nearly all alumni, approximately 97% of all degree level recipients, indicated that their respective programs of study at CU-Boulder "definitely" or "somewhat" met their educational goals. Slightly more doctoral recipients and bachelor's recipients (98%) than master's  recipients (96%) indicated this. Over half of bachelor's, master's, and doctoral recipients said that they would recommend CU-Boulder to a friend considering college or graduate school with "no reservations" (55%, 51%, and 51%, respectively). Approximately 90-95% of all alumni reported that they would recommend CU-Boulder with only "some" or "no reservations" (95%, 89%, and 90%, respectively).

Complete Results

Complete results, in both tabular and graphic form, are provided for the entire campus. In addition, results are provided for the entire campus by degree level, and by college and degree level. These results, along with program-level results, may be viewed by clicking on the links to the left. Numbers of respondents, overall and for each item, are reported in the tables but not in the graphs. Please note that, within any given subgroup, the number of respondents may vary from item to item.

Open-Ended comments:  Three long open-ended questions were asked at the end of the survey. These questions allowed alumni to provide more extensive, descriptive information about degree program satisfaction and experiences had while attending CU-Boulder. The comments are organized by college/division and program, degree level, and major code. The open-ended questions include:

Last revision 01/29/13

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