Chapter 4
Requirements and Criteria for
Registration in Alberta

Qualifications Needed to Apply for Registration

4.1 To be eligible to apply for registration as a professional geologist or geophysicist, a person must have experience in geological or geophysical work and possess certain minimum academic qualifications. There are two alternate sets of qualifications (Regulation 13), one being a university degree in geology or geophysics plus two years of experience (possessed by most applicants), and the other being an Alberta high school education, or equivalent, of a standard sufficient for admission to an Alberta university program in geology or geophysics, plus three years experience in geological or geophysical work. For the second criterion, graduation from a geological or geophysical technology program can be counted towards the three years of experience required. Applications are screened by the APEGGA Registration Department to ensure these conditions (and those of paragraph 4.4 below) are satisfied before applications are accepted.

4.2 Although the qualifications required for registration will be discussed in more detail later in this chapter, it should be noted that persons applying under the first set of criteria above normally will qualify for registration without examinations or with relatively few examinations. Those applying under the second set would normally have to write a large number of examinations.

4.3 An amendment to the regulations is in process (1989) which changes the entry requirement for registration by examination. This amendment raises the entrance requirement from a high school education to:

(a) completion of at least two years of post-secondary education in areas that relate to the science and technology of engineering, geology or geophysics, and

(b) credit or equivalent in an adequate number of fundamental subjects satisfactory to the Board of Examiners.

Notwithstanding the current criteria and the above amendment to it, no individuals have applied to the Association under the examination route (at least in recent years) for registration as a geologist or geophysicist. All have had university degrees.

4.4 In addition to the above qualifications, an applicant for professional membership must be a resident of Alberta who is a Canadian citizen or who has been lawfully admitted to Canada as a permanent resident. If he or she is resident in the province but does not satisfy the citizenship or immigration requirements, or resides outside the province (whether in another province of Canada or elsewhere) then the application is made for "licensee" rather than "professional member".

4.5 In accordance with the Regulations, an application can also be accepted from registered members of other Provincial Associations transferring into Alberta or wishing membership in APEGGA as licensees. The advantages of this rule from the applicant's viewpoint is that the application fee is less, and an application in this category need not be screened initially as the eligibility criteria (academic and experience) are automatically satisfied. On completing the registration process in Alberta they may be designated professional geologists or professional geophysicists if they satisfy the criteria for registration in one of these fields as the case may be.

4.6 Except for the Northwest Territories and now Newfoundland, no other Provincial Association has registered any of its members as professional geologists or professional geophysicists, even though they may be qualified in geology or geophysics. Rather, such individuals have been registered as professional engineers under special rules of the Association to which they were applying. However, some other Canadian jurisdictions are currently planning to amend their legislation to include registration of geologists and geophysicists (see paragraphs 3.25 - 3.33).

Board of Examiners and Application Procedures

4.7 Before discussing the qualifications required for registration as a professional geologist or professional geophysicist, it is appropriate to review the structure and function of the Board of Examiners and procedures for processing applications. The Board is the body which has traditionally appraised academic, experience and other qualifications of applicants for registration. Although its reporting relationships have varied from time to time, the Board in essentially its present form has existed for over 40 years. The Board is established by the Council of the Association under the Engineering, Geological and Geophysical Professions Act of 1981, but is an "arms - length" entity with virtually autonomous powers. While Council can make regulations affecting registration, and can appoint the Chairman and members of the Board, the Board itself operates independently in matters affecting registration.

4.8 Before 1981, the Board of Examiners came under the jurisdiction of the Universities Coordinating Council (UCC). There were arguments both for and against the Board being responsible to the UCC, but the most significant reasons for it becoming a part of APEGGA was that it was more appropriate for the self-governing professions (of engineering, geology and geophysics) to have full responsibility for appraising qualifications and deciding who shall be admitted according to standards set by the profession, and not some independent body or authority.

4.9 Under Regulation 23, the Board of Examiners consists of equal numbers of registered professional members of the Association from the universities in Alberta and from the Association at large, including a Chairman who is from one of the universities. The total numbers are "as specified by Council from time to time", but are based on the number of disciplines being examined and number of applications being received. The Board usually consists of about 35 members. All are volunteers and receive no remuneration.

4.10 The Board includes an executive committee which consists of two-thirds of the members. The executive committee meets monthly to evaluate and decide on applications for registration or enrolment. Members who are appointed from the universities and are on the executive committee review the academic qualifications of applicants and are considered to be members of the "academic committee" of the Board. Members from the "Association at large" who are on the executive committee review the experience qualifications of applicants and constitute the "experience committee" of the Board. The Board meets as a whole semi-annually in June and December to consider matters of policy, significant changes in procedures, examination results and appeals from examination assessments. These meetings are known as "meetings of the full Board". The Chairman of the Board is also the chairman of the executive committee. The Director of Registration - the professional staff officer of the Association responsible for registration - is also appointed to the Board as the Registrar's Designate, and sits at both executive committee and full Board meetings.

4.11 The amendment to the Act of June 1984 provided for a member of the public to be appointed to the Board of Examiners, in a manner similar to members of the public being appointed to the Council of APEGGA and the Practice Review Board. This amendment was introduced to conform to the Government's policy of having members of the public on bodies which set academic standards for entry into the professions. The public member participates in meetings of the full Board, but does not attend executive committee meetings nor take part in appraisal of qualifications.

4.12 The fields of geology and geophysics and each of the major branches of engineering are represented on the Board of Examiners. As of 1989 there were two geology members on the academic committee, one from the University of Calgary and the other from the University of Alberta, and two on the experience committee. The field of geophysics in 1989 was represented by one academic examiner and two experience examiners. The numbers may vary depending on the rate of applications received. In addition, there is one geologist and one geophysicist member from the universities at meetings of the full Board. Thus, applicants for registration as professional geologists and professional geophysicists have their qualifications evaluated by individuals qualified in their two fields (not by engineers), and the two professions have a voice in deliberations of policy and other matters at the semi-annual meetings of the Board.

4.13 As shall be seen later, there are certain academic, experience and other qualifications required for registration as a professional geologist or professional geophysicist, or for enrolment as a geologist- or geophysicist-in-training. To facilitate proper appraisal, certain documentation is also required in support of the application before it is ready for appraisal by the Board of Examiners. The first step is for an application to be made to the Association on the prescribed form, which among other things includes a detailed experience record and the names of supervisors and references, and a listing of academic qualifications (degree(s), institution(s) and dates of achievement). The required fee must accompany the application. The applicant must arrange for transcripts of academic records to be sent directly to APEGGA from the institution attended, using a form provided with the application package. This has been a long-standing policy of the Board of Examiners to ensure validity of academic credentials. The Association (Registration Department) will screen the application to ensure eligibility, acknowledge it by letter, and write to three of the references/supervisors named on the application to obtain appropriate comments in support of experience. As stipulated on the form, at least two of the references must be professional members of the Association or members of an equivalent professional association.

4.14 The Professional Practice Examination is a requirement for professional membership and it is to the applicant's advantage to complete it as soon as possible after the application has been accepted, providing he or she is qualified to write it. This examination is a multiple choice type with 80% of the questions on topics common to the three professions and answered by all applicants, and 20% on topics specific to engineering, geology and geophysics, selected at the applicant's choice. Applications are screened initially by Registration staff, and if academic and experience qualifications appear acceptable for registration, the applicant is advised to attempt the examination at an early date. In situations where many examinations would be required (e.g. applicants with technology diplomas), then the Professional practice Examination is not written until later in the program of examinations. Applicants who are already enrolled with APEGGA as geologists- or geophysicists-in-training are eligible to write the examination after they have acquired one year's experience after graduation; thus in these cases the examination is likely to have been completed by the time the application for professional registration is received.

4.15 The routes for processing completed applications for professional membership or licensee to the Board of Examiners are shown in Figure 1. The width of the lines indicates the relative proportion of applications which flow via each route. Since there is virtually no accreditation process at present for geology and geophysics programs, most of the applications follow route B in which they are evaluated by the academic and experience committees. The remainder consist of applications for which the programs have been judged by the Board as acceptable, and for these the Board has delegated to the Registrar the authority to refer the application direct to the Board if, in his judgement, the experience is "clearly acceptable" (route A). If the

Figure 1 Processing of Applications

Registrar is not sure about the experience, the application is referred to the experience committee and then to the Board.

4.16 Since the executive committee of the Board meets monthly, applications are referred by batches on a monthly basis through the Registrar and committees. Agendas are prepared by Registration Department staff and contain the recommendations of the academic and experience examiners. Applications which follow route A are included on the agenda by list. The executive committee which includes those academic and experience examiners who appraised the qualifications will decide on the basis of the recommendation whether to register the applicant, defer registration and assess more experience, assess examinations, or assess some combination of these. The Board also has the authority to refuse registration if character and reputation is in doubt, but this rarely occurs.

4.17 In addition to dealing with new applications, the executive committee at its meetings considers cases where previously assessed experience or examinations have been completed.

Qualifications for Registration of Geologists and Geophysicists

4.18 The qualifications required for registration as a professional geologist, professional geophysicist or professional engineer are specified in Section 21 (1) (a) to (g) of the Regulations accompanying the Engineering, Geological and Geophysical Professions Act. The academic requirement is of particular significance to geologists and geophysicists.

4.19 Regulation 21(1)(a) currently states this requirement: "a confirmed degree in Engineering, Geology or Geophysics from a university program approved by the Board of Examiners or equivalent qualifications demonstrated by passing such examinations as may be required by the Board". The word "confirmed" means that the degree must be validated or the academic credentials verified through transcripts submitted directly to the Association from the university attended. Experience several years ago with applicants who submitted so-called "original academic documentation", which subsequently was found to have been falsified, led to the introduction of this policy.

4.20 Curricula and course content of geology and geophysics programs at universities in Canada have varied widely, even for programs at the University of Calgary and the University of Alberta. It was impractical for the Board to identify those programs that would be acceptable as minimum academic standards for registration. However, four-year honours degree programs were considered to be acceptable programs to meet requirements for registration as a professional geologist or professional geophysicist, and based on these programs a syllabus of examinations in each field was developed in the 1960s by the Board of Examiners, to be utilized as reference criteria against which the academic qualifications of applicants for registration could be assessed, and for assessing examinations in areas where academic deficiencies existed or where confirmation of qualifications was needed. There were many ways or program arrangements which did not conform to the syllabus requirements that could lead to a program acceptable for registration, and the syllabus was intended to serve as a guide for the academic examiner when an assessment was being made. These syllabi were updated in 1973, in 1981/82, and most recently in 1986 (geology) and 1988 (geophysics).

4.21 As originally written, the educational qualifications specified in Section 21(a) of the Regulations were limited to two, i.e. a university degree or completion of examinations. Yet many individuals wishing registration as professional geophysicists have degrees in mathematics, physics or a similar discipline which satisfy the Board's educational requirements for registration. Other individuals have completed all the university courses to satisfy the requirements (for engineers and geologists as well as geophysicists) but do not have a degree. Therefore an amendment to the regulations was developed in 1988 and is in the process which adds a third provision to Section 21(a):

"... or university qualifications acceptable to the Board of Examiners in a related program..."

Related Sections 1(b) ("confirmatory examinations"), 1(d)(i) (qualifications necessary to apply for registration) and 16 (definition of examination candidate) which are affected by this change are also being amended.

4.22 Until about 1982, the academic records (transcripts) of every applicant for professional geologist and geophysicist were reviewed by the academic examiner relative to the syllabus. Compared with the registration process for engineers, this was an onerous task. In the case of engineering, the Canadian Engineering Accreditation Board (CEAB) had been in existence since 1965, had developed academic criteria acceptable for registration as professional engineers in Canada, and had regularly reviewed engineering programs at Canadian universities relative to this criteria. Lists of accredited engineering programs were available and were periodically updated. The programs recommended by CEAB were acceptable to the Board of Examiners and considered as "university programs (in engineering) approved by the Board", eliminating the need for a review of individual transcripts by the academic examiner - only certification of degree was required. However, as shall be seen later, steps have been taken within the last few years by the APEGGA Board to introduce a form of limited accreditation for geology and geophysics programs.

4.23 Prior to passage of the Engineering and Related Professions Act in March 1960, and the introduction of the professional designations P. Geol. and P. Geoph., the Board of Examiners decided to continue its practice of accepting only four-year graduates without examination; three-year and partial four-year graduates would be assessed on a subject for subject basis. Academic committees in geology and geophysics were directed to prepare listings of acceptable programs and institutions in Canada and prepare similar information on programs/institutions in other countries. For geology, the result was the "Stelck List" originated by Dr. Charles Stelck, P. Geol., which was utilized for the next decade or so.

4.24 In 1975, the Board decided to accept as academically qualified those applicants who had:

1. an Honours Geology or Honours Geophysics degree from a Canadian university, and

2. a B.Sc. with specialization in Geology or Geophysics from the University of Alberta.

It was subsequently found that the content of these programs continued to vary, hence this decision was revoked and the Board reverted to its previous practice of complete review of transcripts, which continued as far as geology was concerned, up to the time of the next revision of the geology syllabus (1981).

Geology - Academic Requirements

4.25 In 1981, the geology syllabus was revised by the Board of Examiners, based on the content of Honours B.Sc. geology programs at 19 Canadian universities. The subcommittee which did this work was composed of three academic members of the Universities of Calgary and Alberta and two professional geologists from industry. The number of exams that a candidate with no exemptions would be required to write was raised to 26 from 17 in the previous (1973) syllabus; this number was comparable to an increase in examinations for engineering candidates resulting from a revision to the CCPE uniform syllabus which was introduced in 1979. In reviewing this syllabus, the Board noted that it might be considered as a beginning of an accreditation program across Canada for geology, and that there was much confusion across the country on the differences between professional registration and technical society membership.

4.26 The review of the Honours B.Sc. Geology programs carried out by the 1981 subcommittee also resulted in a form of "limited APEGGA accreditation" of many of these programs. Thus anyone graduating from such programs in 1978 and subsequently would be academically qualified for registration as a professional geologist. Applicants with geology degrees other than honours would not necessarily satisfy the academic requirements without examination; for example a straight B. Sc. with a major in geology from the University of Calgary may be short some of the required courses. Students undertaking non-honours geology programs at the University of Calgary would however satisfy registration requirements if the correct courses were chosen initially, as counselled by academic staff.

4.27 There was also doubt that the honours programs as evaluated by the subcommittee would remain unchanged. In the case of engineering a sound system of control, through accreditation, was in effect. The same was not true for geology. Therefore, the Board would subject the programs to review at two-year intervals.

4.28 A comment should be made about geology programs offered by the University of Calgary. Two programs have been offered - a B.Sc. Honours and a B.Sc. with a major in geology. The first is a four-year program, a graduate of which will satisfy the academic requirements for registration. This program was the only one in effect at the time the Engineering and Related Professions Act, which required Alberta graduates to be registered, was introduced. The second usually contains a limited number of full courses in geology and a small number of fundamentals, in most cases the numbers being considerably less than the requirements of the syllabus although the core courses have usually been taken. A number of 1982 graduates applying for enrolment as geologists-in-training had undertaken the B.Sc. major program and therefore were assessed some examinations to make up for academic deficiencies. These 1982 graduates were admitted before the University of Calgary quota system was introduced and were, it is understood, informed by the Department of Geology and Geophysics that the required minimum in a geology program would not necessarily satisfy APEGGA's registration requirements. These individuals, however, were reassessed by the Board according to the previous syllabus (1973) which had been in effect during the period of their attendance and which generally resulted in elimination or reduction of the number of examinations.

4.29 In 1985 the 1981 geology syllabus was reviewed again by a subcommittee of the Board of Examiners. The number of examinations required remained unchanged but flexibility was introduced in the professional level subjects by modifying maximum and minimum requirements. The descriptions for examinations and textbook lists was upgraded and updated. The syllabus was approved by the Board as the 1986 edition and consists of examinations in the following content areas:

Examinations in Fundamentals - 11 subjects; 6 required - 3 compulsory and 3 optional of remaining 8.

Examinations Specific to Geology -

Section A - Core Subjects - 10 compulsory exams on subjects basic to a geology education.

Section B - Major Options - 8 subjects; minimum of 5 required.

Section C - Advanced Options - 14 subjects; minimum of 2 and maximum of 5 required.

Ten exams in total are required from sections B and C.

4.30 The 1986 syllabus subcommittee also revised the list of Honours B.Sc. Geology programs. Currently (1989) there are 22 such programs at Canadian universities that will satisfy the academic requirements for registration as a professional geologist. The same subcommittee also developed listings of geology courses at Canadian and US institutions that the Board accepts for purposes of registration.

Accreditation of Geology Programs

4.31 In 1984, under the initiative of John B. Maher, P. Geol., the CSPG (being a national body) proposed a program to bring about nationwide accreditation of degree programs in geology at Canadian universities in a manner similar to the CEAB and ABET accreditation system for engineering. The objective of such a system would be to facilitate appraisal of academic qualifications for professional registration of geologists in the Canadian provinces. It would also aid prospective students entering university geology programs to select the right courses of study to allow registration (without examination) when they had obtained their degree, and would facilitate mobility of professional geologists transferring from province to province. The latter was becoming important as other provinces besides Alberta were beginning to register geologists.

4.32 The proposal - for the establishment of a Canadian Geological Accreditation Board under the auspices of the Canadian Geoscience Council (CGC - see paragraph 6.18) - with draft terms of reference was presented by Mr. Maher to the CGC. It received considerable attention during meetings of the CGC held in 1985 with particular and detailed scrutiny by the Council of Chairmen of Canadian Earth Science Departments (CCCESD), an associate member of CGC. Also, the proposal was considered in depth by the Chairman of University Geology Departments in Ontario (CUGDO).

4.33 Accreditation of geologists proved to be a very controversial topic. There was confusion in the minds of many Canadian earth scientists between registration and accreditation. A small committee under the chairmanship of John Maher was established to deal with the proposal, but in the end both the CUGDO and the CCCESD expressed their opposition. The CCCESD's formal position may be found in the document forwarded to the CSPG by its Chairman, Dr. A. E. Beck, and published in the CSPG Recorder. Among other things, there was concern that accreditation would restrict the freedom of individual departments to define their own curricula; that there would be pressures to introduce more applied aspects of the profession at the expense of the basics; that the system might tend to infringe upon academic freedom generally.

Geophysics - Development of Requirements up to 1985

4.34 Before 1985, what constituted acceptable academic qualifications for registration as a professional geophysicist was a matter of concern for the Board of Examiners and had been the subject of discussion for many years within the geophysical community. The academic programs for professional degrees such as law, divinity, medicine, engineering or the like are definite and distinct, whereas those of many applicants for registration as geophysicists are often vague and diffuse.

4.35 To provide for the registration of competent geophysicists who had academic backgrounds in engineering (before geophysics programs were introduced in universities), the Board in 1960 adopted a general rule that a person with a B. Sc. in engineering obtained before 1955 would be academically qualified for registration as a P. Geoph. providing the major portion of his subsequent experience had been in geophysics. As time went on, in spite of an increase in the number of geophysics degree programs offered at universities, more and more individuals having science-based degrees in other fields entered the practice of geophysics and desired professional registration.

4.36 The subcommittees of the Board dealing with this matter concluded that the requirement for registration as a geophysicist was a four-year honours or specialization degree in the physical sciences which included some geology and geophysics. However it was recognized by the Board that there were many programs that did not conform to these requirements, yet were acceptable for registration in a broad sense. Therefore the academic examiner must have a wide latitude in reaching what is often a subjective opinion on the acceptability or otherwise of a specific degree. Notwithstanding, examiners needed some guidelines to assist in making assessments and in 1977 the "Gretener Rule" was developed. Dr. Peter E. Gretener, P. Geol., P. Geoph. was chairman of the subcommittee which stated:

1. Graduates with degrees in mathematics, computer science or physics may apply for registration as P. Geoph. after obtaining a minimum of one year of geophysical experience, and would be assessed six examinations from the (1973) geophysics syllabus, then reassessed after writing once only.

2. Applicants with academic degrees from recognized institutions shall be assessed in the spirit of the syllabus i.e. any geophysicist should be trained in the fields of mathematics, physics and geology, the relative proportions to be subject to variations within limits.

4.37 The geophysical community was still generally dissatisfied with APEGGA's policies for evaluation of applications for professional geophysicist, and in 1980 APEGGA president Roy O. Lindseth, P. Geoph. requested that the Board consider the matter of registration of geophysicists whose principal degree is in something other than geophysics. In response to this request, the Board set up a subcommittee of geology and geophysics members plus professional geophysicist representatives from industry, which considered this question in considerable depth. The subcommittee was chaired by Dr. Gretener. In the course of its deliberations several draft reports were produced, other members from industry were added to the subcommittee, and opinions of geophysicists experienced in certain specialized areas were obtained. At one stage a survey of geophysicists registered with APEGGA was conducted.

4.38 There was considerable difference of opinion within the subcommittee, but in the end a majority report was approved by the Board and introduced in 1982 which covered the following areas. Candidates not exempted from examinations would be required to write a total of 24 compared to 17 in the previous syllabus. The CSEG was given the opportunity to comment on the new syllabus, but it had few objections.

1. Fundamentals - 11 compulsory exams.

2. Core Subjects - 9 compulsory exams on subjects basic to a geophysics education.

3. Major Options - 4 exams required from a total of 13, or alternatively, submission of a written paper or report on selected topics in geophysics acceptable to the Board.

4.39 A review of geophysics programs at Canadian universities carried out in 1982 showed, as in the past, significant differences in the content of a number of programs. Therefore the practice of having the transcripts of applicants for P. Geoph. reviewed by the academic examiner in geophysics was continued until a further evaluation made in 1983 showed that some programs were acceptable, allowing a "limited APEGGA accreditation".

4.40 The Board's procedures reflect Regulation 21 (1) (b) accompanying the 1981 Act, i.e. a "confirmed degree in geophysics from a university program approved by the Board of Examiners or equivalent qualifications demonstrated by passing such examinations as may be required by the Board". However, a temporary relaxation in the academic requirements for registration as a professional geophysicist was introduced in 1982 as one of the results of a special task force established by Council to examine experience and other requirements for admission to the Association. Known as the "McManus Formula", it allowed applicants who applied by January 1st, 1984 to be registered without examination if the following conditions were satisfied:

1. they held a degree from a university recognized by the Board of Examiners in a field of science related to their area of practice;

2. they had at least 6 years of experience of an increasingly responsible nature satisfactory to the Board after graduation; and

3. the Board assessed the total package of academic and experience qualifications as being sufficient to meet the minimum requirements for registration.

Revised Geophysics Syllabus

4.41 The McManus route was closed January 1st, 1984, but the policies of the Board of Examiners respecting the academic requirements for registration of geophysicists with non-geophysics degrees were perhaps not as "rigorous" as before. But some segments of the geophysical community continued to have concerns about the academic requirements for professional geophysicist registration. As one of the activities of the CSEG/CSPG/APEGGA Liaison Committee (see paragraph 2.23), a subcommittee was established in 1984 to consider this topic and make recommendations, through the Liaison Committee, to Council and the Board of Examiners. Membership of this subcommittee was diverse and consisted of three persons appointed by the CSEG, one appointed by the CSPG, one appointed by the Liaison Committee and one academic representative (P. Geoph.). Advisors to the subcommittee were two professional geophysicist members of the Board of Examiners.

4.42 The subcommittee, in dealing with this matter, first developed a set of guidelines for program content, similar to CEAB's programs in engineering, which would apply to geophysics in a broad sense. The document was initially drafted by Dr. Ken West, P. Geoph., one of the subcommittee's CSEG appointees. Inputs were received from universities in Canada and the USA regarding content of their programs related to geophysics. From the program content document, an outline for a revised geophysics syllabus was developed, followed by the detailed syllabus.

4.43 It was agreed at the outset that the syllabus should be multidisciplinary within an overall "geophysics" connotation. The subcommittee took into account the perceptions of some people in the geophysical industry that the existing syllabus was too rigid, and aimed to develop a syllabus that reflected the various domains of the practice of geophysics.

4.44 Over the next several months from about mid 1985, a geophysics syllabus outline proceeded through several draft editions. In the course of its development, comment was obtained from a number of senior geophysicists in academic circles and in industry. The final stage in development of the syllabus outline was a review by a committee of the CSEG, which gave its blessing in July 1986. Both the program content document and syllabus outline were then submitted to the APEGGA Council where they were accepted and referred to the Board of Examiners. The Board accepted the program document for use as a guideline and accepted the syllabus outline as a basis for a detailed geophysics syllabus. The outline was then developed into the 1988 syllabus.

4.45 The syllabus covers the three levels of qualification - fundamentals, core subjects and major options. Within these three levels, subjects have been appreciably broadened so as to include a wider range of geophysics programs that would be more readily accepted by geophysicists. The most significant changes were in the major options in which several fields of geophysical specialization are covered. Also, while a greater variety of academic backgrounds is encompassed, the syllabus does not presume to register geophysicists by area of academic specialization. The six-year experience concept which was introduced by the 1981 McManus Task Force is also preserved. The syllabus consists of the following topics:

1. Fundamentals - 8 examinations equivalent to those normally taught during a degree program in the physical sciences or engineering. This section was broadened to make the coverage less narrow and some subjects were combined or removed.

2. Core Subjects - 9 examinations in areas of geology, physics and mathematics which represent the core of geophysical training.

3. Major Options - 6 examinations of the candidate's choice in one of: general geophysics, petroleum geophysics, seismology, mining geophysics, petrophysics or engineering geophysics. Each consists of 10-13 topics.

4.46 The detailed syllabus was subsequently presented to the CSEG/CSPG/APEGGA Liaison Committee and CSEG who concurred with it.

4.47 Completion of the 1988 geophysics syllabus also encompassed a review of the list of geophysics programs at Canadian universities. In 1989 there were 10 such universities (including one in the USA - Colorado School of Mines) and 15 programs.

4.48 The preceding discussions described criteria which was theoretically designed for either: persons who had only a high school education and planned to be registered via the examination route, or who had a university degree in geophysics from a Canadian university. But in the actual situation there are many individuals who possess academic qualifications in between these two extremes and possess varying kinds of geophysical experience. (This is why Section 21 (a) of the Regulations is being changed - see paragraph 4.21). The Board of Examiners utilizes the following policies in handling such situations. These policies include a modified version of the Gretener Rule (paragraph 4.36).

Bachelor Level Qualifications

1. In the case of applicants having geophysics degrees from institutions in Canada other than those stated in the Board's list and elsewhere, transcripts are examined relative to the Syllabus. If content as appropriately documented is judged acceptable, academic qualifications are deemed satisfactory. Otherwise, course-by-course (note (a)) or confirmatory (note (b)) examinations are assessed.

2. Graduates with geophysical experience and degrees in fields related to the practice of geophysics will be assessed course-by-course (note (a)) examinations according to the Syllabus. If geophysical experience is six years or more, the exams will normally be confirmatory.

3. Graduates in geology, mathematics or physics with 4 year degrees acceptable to the Board and six years of increasingly responsible geophysics experience may be considered to meet the requirements for registration. In cases of doubt, confirmatory (note (b)) examinations will be assessed.

4. Generally, experience is separate and distinct from academic qualifications, and cannot be used to make up for academic deficiencies.

Bachelor, Supplemented by Advanced Degrees

1. Content of all programs is examined relative to the Syllabus. If total content is judged acceptable, academic requirements are acceptable. Otherwise examinations are assessed. Applications are usually treated on an individual basis. If the subordinate degree(s) is acceptable for registration, the advanced degree(s) counts towards experience.

Special Cases

1. In exceptional cases, where the applicant has limited academic qualifications but many years of continuous experience with a clear record of increasing responsibility and outstanding professional reputation and stature, the Board may accept the total package of academic and experience, or alternatively require two examinations or completion of a report at the Board's discretion.


(a) Course-by-course exams are assessed when there are clear academic deficiencies relative to the Syllabus. A maximum of four attempts are permitted for each exam.

(b) Confirmatory exams are assessed when the subjects of the program appear equivalent to Syllabus subjects but content is unknown. Each exam assessed is attempted once; if all are passed academic requirements for registration are satisfactory.

Concluding Remarks

4.49 Inclusion of the geology and geophysics professions under the professional act presented some challenging problems for the Board of Examiners, particularly with respect to academic requirements for registration. Engineering had a common set of branches or subdivisions and program curricula that was generally recognized throughout Canada and the USA. All Canadian provinces and American states had been registering engineers for several decades and national accreditation boards had been established which formulated sets of engineering program criteria for use as a basis for judging academic qualifications for registration. Such was not the case for geology and geophysics. While programs of studies existed at the Universities of Alberta and Calgary, content varied and in some cases did not satisfy what was judged by the Board as needed to qualify as a professional geologist or geophysicist. Registrants intending to practice in Alberta who were graduates from other provinces often had qualifications which were also diverse.

4.50 Although the two professions have always been represented on the Board of Examiners by experience and academic examiners registered as professional geologists and professional geophysicists, the development of appropriate qualifying criteria for registration was a long and tedious process. To meet the obligations to the public under the Act, it was necessary that requirements be set at a high standard, and this philosophy was maintained. Yet the Board was consistently receptive to representations from the geophysical and geological communities and was prepared to change the qualifying criteria providing the high standards were not compromised.

4.51 Development of the geology and geophysics syllabi which culminated in the 1986 and 1988 editions are the results of much dedicated effort on the part of the Board and members of the geological and geophysical community. Alberta is considered to currently have a rigorous system of assessing credentials relative to criteria of high standards acceptable to the professions. Now that other jurisdictions are beginning to register geologists and geophysicists, further developments leading to accreditation of geology programs should enhance this system.