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Department Recommended Preparation

The Department recognizes three ways for students to prepare for the Washington State Geologist Licensing Exam. The endorsement option and geology major both require courses covering a wide range of topics on the exam and in the field of geology. The minimum requirements option is to assist students who may have other geology experience to ensure they also meet the State's educational requirements. More information about each option is below.

Update 12/1/12

The licensing board has recently updated their requirements in response to community feedback. The new requirements are much more flexible and Earth and Space Sciences was added to the list of approved majors. This means that if you meet the credit requirements (detailed below) you will not need to petition, regardless of your track.

36 quarter hours of upper division geology courses (300+), including 21 quarter credits (unduplicated) from the following list:

  • Earth Materials (combination of mineralogy and petrology) - ESS 212*
  • Economic Geology -
  • Engineering Geology - ESS 447
  • Field Camp - ESS 400
  • Geomorphology - ESS 326, 426, 427, or 435
  • Geophysics - ESS 314, 411, 413, 414, or 416
  • Geochemistry - ESS 312 or 457
  • Hydrogeology - ESS 454
  • Mineralogy - ESS 437
  • Petrology - ESS 439, 440, or 441
  • Sedimentology - ESS 441 or 456
  • Stratigraphy - ESS 455
  • Structural Geology - ESS 463
* courses do not count as upper division, but are useful for additional practice

Most students will be able to meet the 21 specified credits with ESS 400: Field Camp (12 cr), ESS 312: Geochemistry or ESS 314: Geophysics (5 cr), and then another upper division elective from the list above. The remaining 15 credits can come from any upper division ESS course, and the courses above are great for preparing for the licensing exam.


Listed below are some links to relevant information.

State Licensing Board Links

General Information -
How to get your license: Geologist -
Educational Equivalent Requirements (for those not graduating with a Geology option) -