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:o ensure AIG members have core geoscience knowledge and competencies, in order to facilitate best practice and meet the key object of a professional body to maintain standards and ultimately protect the public.
Membership applicants are required to have completed a four year geoscience degree.
The recently introduced minimum knowledge requirements for AIG membership applications are:
Minimum Geoscience Subjects
Applicants to have completed a 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.
Post-graduation professional experience requirements for membership remain unchanged.
Students lacking the necessary core knowledge are able to join AIG as a Graduate Member within five years of gaining their degree, or as an Associate Member if they possess the required professional experience but lack core geoscience knowledge.
AIG is working with education and training providers to develop and endorse short courses intended to fill the gap between degrees not equipping geoscientists with required core knowledge and AIG’s membership requirements, providing a pathway to professional recognition for all geoscientists.
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.
All new membership applicants will be required to demonstrate that they possess the required core geoscience knowledge.