Education requirements for AIG membership

Australian Institute of Geoscientists > Education > Education requirements for AIG membership

AIG has responded to recent changes to geoscience degree undergraduate curricula at some Australian universities by introducing educational requirements for institute membership.

Over the last two decades the AIG has observed a trend for several Australian universities to move away from offering geoscience courses in favour of broader earth science programs.   In recent months this trend has accelerated, perhaps in part due to COVID related funding issues impacting most universities.  At least two Australian universities no longer offer a geoscience major and several others are reducing the geoscience subjects offered to students.   

The AIG has also noticed a reduction in the core geoscience subjects completed by many students graduating with geoscience degrees, which has resulted in an increasing number of graduates who have geoscience degrees but lack fundamental geoscience knowledge and skills, and as a result do not meet the knowledge and skills requirements of many potential employers.

Geoscience knowledge requirements for new membership applications have recently been implemented by the Institute.  The objectives of this initiative are to ensure AIG members have core geoscience knowledge and competencies in order to facilitate best practice and to meet the key object of a professional body to maintain standards and ultimately protect the public.

The AIG will also consider applications from applicants who do not meet the geoscience requirements but have substantial relevant experience or other relevant education and training.

The recently introduced minimum knowledge requirements for AIG membership applications are:

Minimum Geoscience Subjects

Applicants to have completed an undergraduate degree with geoscience subjects contributing a minimum of 33% of the credit points required to complete the degree. 

Minimum Geoscience Core Knowledge Subjects

Applicants must have completed Earth History / Principles of Geology or equivalent at Level 1 or above, Field Techniques at Level 2 or above, and at least four of the following subjects at Level 2 or above.

  • Mineralogy
  • Petrology (Igneous and Metamorphic)
  • Structural Geology
  • Geomorphology
  • Palaeontology
  • Sedimentology and Stratigraphy

Applicants may also meet the minimum subject and knowledge requirements through completion of the subjects within a post-graduate course.

Post-graduation professional experience requirements for membership remain unchanged:
To be eligible for election as a Member, an applicant shall be a geoscientist having not less than five years experience in their Field(s) of Practice, such experience having been of a responsible nature and involving the exercise of independent judgment* during at least three of those years.

The measures are seen to be critical to ensuring that AIG members are able to achieve and maintain professional global mobility and meeting the increasing requirements to practice in most regulatory regimes.  In addition, as Australian government bodies are increasingly requiring minimum standards for signatories on assessments, applications, reports, etc., AIG seeks to ensure that AIG members are well-placed as governments introduce requirements that constitute forms of professional licensing.

These new requirements are not retrospective and all new membership applicants will be covered by a “grandfathering period”  ending 31 March 2025. After this date, the minimum core knowledge subjects will be required.


* Discretion and independent judgment

In general, the exercise of discretion and independent judgment involves the comparison and the evaluation of possible courses of conduct, and acting or making a decision after the various possibilities have been considered. The exercise of discretion and independent judgment must be more than the use of skill in applying well-established techniques, procedures or specific standards described in manuals or other sources.

The exercise of discretion and independent judgment implies that one has the authority to make an independent choice, free from immediate direction or supervision. However, discretion and independent judgment can be exercised even if the decision or recommendation is reviewed at a higher level. Thus, the term “discretion and independent judgment” does not require that the decisions being made have to be final or free from review.