Success Maps

Geology Success Map


All Pillars | All Years
1st Year (0-30 Credit Hours)
BUILD Knowledge & Expertise

Complete required GEOL courses: Earth Materials (1200) and Dynamic Earth (1201).

Enroll in the online WHMIS safety course. You can’t start your GEOL labs without it!

Review MATH MAP and choose the right MATH courses for your program.

Explore your options for majors and minors by attending the Programs Day across faculties in February.

Learn about Professional Geoscientists Registration (P.GEO.) at the annual workshop in September.

Register for classes as soon as registration opens. Classes fill early!

Visit your Academic Advisor or Department Chair to be sure you have the right courses for degree and P.GEO. requirements.

Gather information on Co-operative Education opportunities. There are many offerings for Geology students.

DEVELOP Essential Skills

Begin the critical thinking process. Extract main concepts or ideas from what you read, recognize pattern and flow, and then organize and present your analysis.

Practice problem-solving skills by completing GEOL assignments.

Brush-up on the basics. Drop-in for free refresher workshops on sig. fig.’s, logarithms, exponents, trig, graphing, and more at the SNAP Centre.

Develop teamwork skills by planning with your lab partner.

Improve your writing and thinking skills at the Writing Centre or the Geology technical writing workshop. Get expert feedback and incorporate it into your work.

Develop research skills by navigating online databases and the stacks at the Patrick Power Library. Take a virtual tour.

Build a résumé at a Résumé Seminar, to prepare for internships, scholarships, and summer jobs.

Start your Co-Curricular Record. Document your acquired skills from on- and off-campus activities and volunteer work.

PARTICIPATE in Campus Life

Attend Welcome Week. Make friends. Meet classmates, faculty, and advisors at academic orientation. Attend a session about a culture of safety and respect at Saint Mary’s.

Introduce yourself to your professors after class or during office hours.

Read the SMU Science Newsletter for deadlines, reminders, contests, and opportunities in the Faculty of Science.

Follow SMU Science on Twitter and Facebook. Use the hashtag #SMUScience.

Attend an undergraduate GEOL thesis presentation. See what research students do.

Join the SMU Society of Economic Geologists Student Chapter and attend free field trips and workshops.

Visit the Societies Fair. Explore student societies, including the GEOL D. Hope Simpson Student Society and those that are culturally-based, before deciding which to join.

Try Speak Up!, a program where international students practice speaking English with Canadian students.

Stay Active. Explore SMUfit, campus sports, exercise, and recreation opportunities—no extra fees!

Apply for a scholarship. There are more than 260 available!

Need help with time management, organizational, or presentation skills? Book an Academic & Life Skills Coaching session.

Learn to budget your money. Attend a Financial Literacy workshop or get advice from Financial Aid and Awards.

Check in with Career Services to start discussing your career goals, related to your program. Experiment with different classes to see what you like.

When facing a personal crisis, get help from the Counselling Centre.

CONNECT Locally & Globally

Consider courses with global themes for your electives.

Attend the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada convention in Toronto in March and the Atlantic Universities Geology Conference in October.

Need a job? Create a HireSMU account to find available jobs.

Not from Halifax? Explore and discover all our cultural opportunities and have fun.

Keep current with local events. Read Pride in Your Shared Neighbourhood newsletter.

Travel while studying after 1st year. Investigate travel options beyond Canada at International Activities.

Obtain or update your passport in preparation for possible international travel.

Not from Canada? Browse Services for International Students for available support.

Attend International Night—an annual banquet showcasing SMU’s many cultures.

2nd Year (30-60 Credit Hours)
BUILD Knowledge & Expertise

Complete your required GEOL courses in Mineralogy and Optical Mineralogy. Although pre-requisites for most other GEOL courses, these required courses are only offered in alternate years. Check your GEOL major list of requirements.

Choose your Science electives. Remember that real-world problems require you to apply knowledge from different Science subject areas.

Update your WHMIS safety training. Your last certification expires after 12 months.

Practice your transmitted light microscopy skills in the Advanced Petrology teaching facility.

Develop technical GEOL expertise. Work with cutting-edge analytical instrumentation, and world-class teaching collections.

Thinking of changing majors or minors? Attend Programs Day for help.

Visit your Academic Advisor or Department Chair to be sure you have the right courses and you are on track for Professional Geoscientists Registration (P.GEO.). 

Declare your major in this year.

DEVELOP Essential Skills

Improve your GEOL report writing skills.

Sharpen your problem-solving skills and interpersonal skills. Become a 1st year tutor in BIOL, MATH, CHEM, or PHYS at the SNAP Centre.

Demonstrate your time management skills, responsibility, and ability to meet deadlines. Apply to be a Geology Marker.

Upgrade your writing with one-on-one tutorials at the Writing Centre or through online resources.

Learn advanced researching techniques at the Library.

Update your Co-Curricular Record to keep track of your accomplishments and set new goals.

PARTICIPATE in Campus Life


Apply your classroom learning and improve soft skills by joining some student societies.

Attend GEOL Department Seminars to expand your knowledge of Geological Sciences.

Participate as a research subject in a Psychology study.

Participate in intramurals. Demonstrate your team skills and character to future employers and admissions officers.

Browse the Scholarship List and modify your cover letter to match the criteria. Apply between February and May.

Need more academic support? Contact Personal Counselling or Academic & Life Skills Coaching.

Seek Career Counselling. Explore the core competencies of your major, and career possibilities related to your strengths, interests, and values.

CONNECT Locally & Globally

Discover ways to give back to your community, from local to global. Come to the Volunteer Fair held every September, or speak to a Career and Employment Coach at Career Services.

Get involved with activities outside of your major and minor. Employers like well-rounded candidates.

Attend a LinkedIn photo shoot and a LinkedIn Seminar with Career Services. Put your best (and most professional) face forward!

Keep your HireSMU Account updated with accurate contact information and most recent résumés.

Consider applying for the Co-op Program at the beginning of 2nd year (30+ credits). Gain work experience over three terms.

Visit the International Activities office for a study-abroad program or an international field study course in 2nd - 4th years.

Explore options for international internships in your area of study.

3rd Year (60-90 Credit Hours)
BUILD Knowledge & Expertise

Complete required GEOL courses at the 3000 level and above.

Expand your specialized technical expertise. Learn to use analytical tools and software in geomatics, geochemistry, and mineral resource/petroleum courses.

Strengthen interdisciplinary knowledge. Choose science electives that compliment GEOL and also satisfy P.GEO. requirements.

Complete any MATH, PHYS or other outstanding requirements of the GEOL major or for Professional Geoscientists Registration (P.GEO.).

Visit your Academic Advisor or Department Chair to be sure you’re on the right track to meet graduation and P.GEO. requirements.

Meet your Department Chair for help also with career advice, or selecting an Honours thesis or directed study supervisor.

Thinking about graduate school? Contact Career Services for options and admission procedures, and begin planning for applications with your Department Chair.

DEVELOP Essential Skills

Practice argument and conclusion writing in more advanced lab report discussion sections.

Exercise responsibility and communication. Work as a TA in a 2000-level core GEOL course.

Develop geology field skills in one of three GEOL national and international field courses.

Maintain a Dean’s List GPA, and be eligible to work as a tutor in the SNAP Centre, reinforcing your numeracy skills.

Develop your collaborative skills. Apply for Summer Research Awards, including NSERC-USRAs, AceNet, and Dean’s Awards.

Improve your research skills and grades by visiting the Library and using the Research-by-Appointment service for one-on-one help.

Visit the Writing Centre for workshops on Exam Writing & Preparation.

Update your Co-Curricular Record.

PARTICIPATE in Campus Life

Get to know your professors. They are excellent contacts for reference letters. Chat about your future plans for 4th year and beyond.

Attend the Research Expo. Learn from the research and critical analysis of peers and professors. Also, showcase your own research project.

Take on a leadership role in the GEOL D. Hope Simpson Student Society or Society of Economic Geologists Student Chapter.

Interested in teaching? Consider applying to lead LEAP Workshops as a Peer Facilitator.

Apply for over 200 scholarship and bursary awards.

Visit the Career Development Centre for help with tactical job searches, including using social media, information interview, fine-tuning your résumé and cover letter, and practicing interview skills.

CONNECT Locally & Globally

Attend the Halifax Career Fair in September and March. Discover career opportunities and employer expectations.

Let your networks know your major. Seek out potential employers for information and interviews.

Volunteer for outreach activities. Travel with your professors to visit schools, or welcome visitors to our campus and showcase science at SMU. Contact the Department Secretary for more information.

Explore new internships designed to help international graduates gain experience in Nova Scotia.

4th Year (90-120 Credit Hours)
BUILD Knowledge & Expertise

Complete required GEOL Major courses and all program requirements including those for Professional Geoscientists Registration (P.GEO.), while transitioning to work or graduate school.

Learn advanced geological systems interpretation and teamwork skills in 4000-level GEOL labs.

Is it too late to do an Honours degree? Speak to the Department Chair about your idea.

Complete a CAPP Degree Evaluation in Banner.

Visit the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research. Discuss SMU graduate opportunities.

Contact your Academic Advisor or Department Chair to ensure you are on track for graduation requirements and post-graduation plan.

Apply to graduate. Fill out an application for graduation form and submit it to the Service Centre. Get your picture taken for the yearbook.

Consider graduate schools or professional programs. Start early, and ask your professors and the Writing Centre to review your personal statement, cover letter, and applications.

Request transcripts, if required.

DEVELOP Essential Skills

Demonstrate and share your skills by considering a senior Geology TA position.

Ask your Department Chair for an audit of your transcript to make sure you have all requirements for Professional Geoscientists Registration (P.GEO.). Join the APGNS as a student member!

Before you graduate, do a final update of your Co-Curricular Record, and request an official copy.

Visit Career Services to prepare to clearly and persuasively articulate all you have learned at Saint Mary’s (in and out of class) to an employer.

PARTICIPATE in Campus Life

Serve as Department Student Rep. Speak to your Department Chair.

Enter your best research paper for the Academic Writing Awards.

Join the Nova Scotia Institute of Science (NSIS). Submit your best-written work for a writing award.

Get recognized for your involvement in the classroom and in the Saint Mary’s community. Apply for the Student Leadership Award.

Apply for other awards, including the SMUFU scholarship.

Brush up on your Financial Literacy. Receive guidance for a successful and healthy financial future, including student loan repayment.

Your degree can open the door to many types of careers. Use Career Counselling to discover where you want to go and how best to get there.

Plan to attend Career Services’ 4-week Job Search Seminar Series before or after graduation.

CONNECT Locally & Globally

Consider presenting your honours research thesis, summer research work, or the results of your directed study at the Atlantic Universities Geology Conference in October.

Be prepared to apply, interview, and network when school begins, to maximize your chance of receiving some job offers before graduation.

In addition to the Halifax Career Fair, attend some career fairs specific to your program. Bring your résumé. Prepare in advance to speak with recruiters and potential employers.

Apply for the Halifax Connector program. Meet with a Halifax professional in a field of your interest.

If you are a co-op student, arrange for your final work term placement early.

Are you an international student interested in staying in Canada and receiving permanent resident status? Contact the International Centre.

Get in contact with the SMU Young Alumni Association to begin your next phase as a Santamarian.

Remember, you have access to Career Services for three years post-graduation. Use these services to help you continue to get the most out of your degree.