Professional Geoscientist Certification (P.Geo)

Professional Geoscientist designation (P.Geo)

Many undergraduate students in a specialist program plan to work as professional geoscientists. This requires professional registration, and in our program this is regulated by the Professional Geoscientists Ontario. This registration requires three steps: knowledge (4-year BSc degree), work experience (4 years), and an ethics exam. The PGO registrar assesses your knowledge requirements on an individual basis. This is unlike engineering, where university programs are accredited. A PDF detailing the knowledge requirements, including course descriptions, can be found on the website of “Geoscientists Canada”: Guidelines to Registration for membershipGeoscientists Canada provides more detailed information.

To help you find courses that fulfill the knowledge requirements, here is a suggested correspondence between the PGO knowldege requirements and U of T courses:

Group 1A: Foundation Science

  • You need all three
Subject Course Name
Chemistry CHM135H Chemistry: Physical Principles
Mathematics MAT135H Calculus
Physics PHY131H Introduction to Physics I or PHY151H Foundations of Physics


Group 1B: Additional Foundation Science

  • You need six, not more than two from one area
Subject Course Name
Biology BIO120H Adaptation and Biodiversity
Computer Programming ESS245H Computational Geology and CSC108H Introducrion to Computer Programming
Chemistry CHM135H Chemistry: Physical Principles and CHM136H Introductory Organic Chemistry
Mathematics MAT136H Calculus 1B and MAT223H Linear Algebra I and MAT221H Applied Linear Algebra
Physics PHY132H Introduction to Physics II and PHY152H Foundations of Physics II
Statistics STA220H Statistics and GGR270H Introduction to Analytical Methods

Note: for groups 1A and 1B the courses are suggestions, other courses will probably fulfill these requirements also.


Group 2A: Compulsory Foundation Geosciences

  • You need all four
Subject Course Name
Field Techniques ESS234H Intro to Geological Field Methods (for geophysics: ESS450H Geophysical Field Methods)
Mineralogy and Petrology ESS224H Introduction to Mineralogy and Petrology
Sedimentation and Stratigraphy (Sedimentology) ESS331H Sedimentation and Stratigraphy
Structural Geology ESS241H Geological Structures and Maps


Group 2B: Additional Foundation Geosciences

  • You need six
  • For geology and environmental geoscience PGO allows you to choose courses from the two columns for these
Subject Course Name
Geochemistry ESS223H  Introduction to the Geochemistry of Earth Materials
Geophysics JGA305H Environmental & Archaeological Geophysics
Igneous Petrology ESS322H Igneous Petrology
Metamorphic Petrology ESS424H Metamorphic Petrology
Sedimentary Petrology N/A
Glacial Geology N/A
Sedimentology ESS431H Basin Analysis (formerly ESS322H)
Geomorphology GGR201H Geomorphology
Soil Science GGR205H Introduction to Soil Science
Hydrogeology ESS312H Hydrogeology
Hydrology GGR206H Introduction to Hydrology
Remote Sensing GGR337H Remote Sensing


  • For geophysics the following five courses are required
Subject Course Name
Digital Signal Processing PHY408H Time Series Analysis
Physics of the Earth JPE395H Physics of the Earth
Seismology JPE493H Seismology
Exploration Geophysics JGA305H Environmental & Archaeological Geophysics
Radiometrics/Gravity and magnetics N/A
Electrical & Electromagnetic Methods (potential fields) ESS452H Geophysical Imaging with Non-seismic Methods


Group 2C: Other Geoscience/science (total 9 courses, rather flexible)

Again, you will be assessed on an individual basis. You can count extra courses you took in 2B towards this group, and most courses offered by our department but not listed on this page should be allowed.