GSA Fellowship


Fellowship is an honor that is bestowed on the best of our profession once per year at the spring GSA Council meeting and is recognized at our yearly Annual Meeting. GSA members are elected to Fellowship in recognition of distinguished contributions to the geosciences.

Society Fellowship nominations may only be made by a GSA Fellow. Please see the election criteria below to ensure your nominee is eligible for Fellowship, and follow the guidelines and instructions listed on this page to nominate a colleague for this honor.

If you are not certain whether your potential nominee is already a GSA Fellow, see a list of current fellows, check the Membership Directory, or contact GSA Headquarters: GSA Sales and Service, +1-888-443-4472 (toll-free in the U.S.); +1-303-357-1000, option 3;

Instructions for Nominations

The following are required from the primary nominator

  • Completion of the online nomination form
  • A letter of nomination from the primary nominator
  • A current curriculum vitae or government record of the nominee
  • 2 supporting letters from secondary nominators
  • A full bibliography of the nominees (only required if being elected for “ Publication of the results of geologic research” See item A in the election criteria listed below).
Please email supporting documents to

Guidelines for Making a Successful GSA Fellowship Nomination

Primary and Secondary Nominators

  • A GSA Fellow may only support two nominees per election cycle, only one of which as a primary nominator.
  • A GSA member may not be a primary nominator, but may be a secondary nominator for no more than two nominees per election cycle.
  • Both supporting nominators must be GSA members; at least one needs to be a GSA Fellow.

Supporting Documents from the Nominator

The following are required from the primary nominator (in addition to completing and submitting the nomination form):

  • A letter of nomination (up to two pages) including a separate paragraph describing the nominee's contributions which support the primary selected criteria for election.
  • A current curriculum vitae or government record of the nominee.
  • One supporting letter from each of the secondary nominators, which must support the nominator's selected criteria for election. At least one of the secondary nominators should be from an organization other than that of the nominee.
  • A full bibliography of the nominee (only required if the nominee is being elected for "Publication of the results of geologic research" — see item A in the Election Criteria listed below).


  • The primary nominator will collect all the nomination materials and submit them as one package ; either via e-mail (with attachments) or in a mailed packet. The online nomination form will automatically be emailed once submitted online. Electronic submissions are encouraged.
  • Late, incomplete, or insufficiently supported nominations will, regrettably, be turned down.
  • Submit early so that errors or omissions can be rectified before the deadline.

Election Criteria

A member of the Geological Society of America is elected to Fellowship in recognition of distinguished contributions to the geosciences.

A member can be nominated for Fellowship only by a Fellow of the Society who initiates the process by completing the nominating sponsor's form and identifying two other Fellows, or one Fellow and one member, who agree to support the nomination.

A nominee for Fellowship shall have had an established career; typically this means least ten years of professional experience past their terminal (highest) degree in geology or related fields. Alternate career paths with a strong case will be considered. Nominees for Fellowship will be selected from individuals who have been members for at least twelve months prior to nomination. Fellows are expected to maintain GSA membership.

In addition to professional experience, to meet the standards for Fellowship, it is the responsibility of the nominating sponsor to document or attest to the nominee's contributions to the science based on personal knowledge of the professional activities documented in that nominee's vitae and bibliography.

The nature of the contributions to the science made by the Fellowship candidate may take many forms, including those examples listed below. This list is not intended to be exclusive or restrictive, but merely serve as a set of examples. Furthermore, the categories listed are not intended to represent any order of importance, but rather exemplify activities commonly presented as reasonable qualifications for Fellowship.

Election Categories

  1. Publication of the results of geologic research: This category should include the development of new data and interpretation of data in some aspect of geology reported in standard publications appropriate for the discipline.
  2. Applied research: The practical application of geologic knowledge to significant problems concerning geologic resources, natural hazards, and/or environmental problems is an avenue of contribution to the science of geology that may be made by geologists in academia, industry, or governmental agencies at all levels.
  3. Training of geologists: Teaching geology students in either graduate or undergraduate formal education programs constitutes an important contribution to the science. In addition, participation in presentation of specialized training in applied programs, short courses, etc., may also be recognized. Preparation of educational materials (textbooks, laboratory manuals, short-course guides, field guides, etc.) may also constitute a contribution.
  4. Administration of geological programs: A wide range of administrative positions provides an opportunity to make a contribution to the geological sciences. These include effective administration of distinctive academic programs, leadership of research teams, coordination of research programs, supervision of industrial programs involving application of geologic principles, and in general, supervision of a significant number of geologist employees.
  5. Public awareness of geology: Presentations of geological work to governmental agencies (legislative bodies, courts, committees, etc.) as well as to the public in general may provide the basic support for important advances in geology.
  6. Professional organizations: Participation in the leadership of professional organizations, particularly GSA.
  7. Editorial, bibliographic, and library responsibilities: The dissemination of geologic knowledge contributes to the advancement of the science, and unique activities in these areas may provide qualification for Fellowship.
  8. Other: The opportunities available to GSA members to make a contribution to the science of geology are as diverse as geologists are and indeed as geology itself. Therefore, a nominating sponsor may present activities that do not fit into any of the ordinarily prescribed categories.