Paper No. 11
Presentation Time: 11:00 AM


MATHEWSON, Christopher C., Department of Geology & Geophysics, Texas A&M Univ, 3115 TAMU, College Station, TX 77843-3115,

Thirty-two states currently regulate the professional practice of geology in some manner, ranging from a definition law to full professional licensure by examination. Thirty of these use the National Association of State Boards of Geology (ASBOG) licensure examinations as an assessment tool to determine if a candidate for licensure is a “minimally qualified” geologist. The important ASBOG examination from the view of an academic institution is the Fundamentals of Geology Examination which tests the fundamental knowledge of each candidate immediately following a 4-year degree program in geology. The examination is based upon a nation wide survey of licensed Professional Geologists that establishes the practice of geology as it impacts the public safety. There are eight task domains that are evaluated during the examination. These domains include: 1) General Geology, 2) Mineralogy/Petrology, 3) Structure/tectonics, 4) Stratigraphy/Paleontology, 5) Geomorphology/Surficial Processes, 6) Hydrogeology, 7) Engineering Geology and 8) Economic Resources. With professional licensure now regulating the practice of geology as it impacts the health, safety and wellbeing of the public our undergraduate geology degree programs should be designed to prepare each graduate with a fundamental knowledge of the principals of geology. An average of 995 candidates/year have taken the Fundamentals Examination since 2008, of these only 68% of the first time candidates passed the examination which has an average Reliability Rating of 0.91. These data indicate that almost 1/3 of our graduates with 4-year degree in geology are not “minimally qualified’ to practice geology or to become a “Professional Geologist, PG” in a licensure state. The development of undergraduate degree programs that provide the critical knowledge base in the fundamentals of geology should form the fundamental foundation of every BS/BA degree in Geology. Future graduate work, if desired by the student, can then concentrate on a specific speciality field within the profession.