How to Nominate

GSA Fellowship is an honor that is bestowed on the best of our profession.

GSA members are elected to Fellowship in recognition of a sustained record of distinguished contributions to the geosciences and to the Geological Society of America.

An Ad hoc Committee on Fellowship was formed in 2021 to review the GSA Fellowship criteria and nominations process with the objectives to benchmark the processes to similar professional organizations and then better align the criteria for achieving Fellowship; and work to remove any biases in the process of recruiting and vetting fellows.

The Committee has made recommendations, approved by GSA Council, which have been incorporated for the 2022 Fellowship nominations cycle. These changes include: updated criteria for nominators, clarified eligibility requirements for nominees, and new nomination categories. Please review the requirements, eligibility, nomination categories, and instructions prior to preparing a nomination.

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 at +1-800-472-1988 or

Nominations are due 1 February.


Requirements and Eligibility

Requirements and Eligibility—Nominees

The following are required without exception.
(These requirements will be verified by GSA membership staff):

1. Nominees must be members in good standing.

2. Nominees shall not be under investigation by any court, regulatory agency, employer, or other public or private entity for professional misconduct of the type covered in GSA's Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct; nor shall nominees have been found to have engaged in such misconduct by any entity.

Some flexibility in the below requirements (#3–#6) is possible with written justification. Each of these requirements must be addressed in the nomination letter (GSA membership staff will verify #3).

Nominees are required to have:

3. At least five (5) years of continuous professional membership in GSA. The Membership & Fellowship Committee may waive this requirement if the nominee has a demonstrated record of long-term service to GSA, or there are other extenuating circumstances. Members who have become Lifetime Members satisfy this requirement no matter when the membership was obtained.

4. An established career in geology or a related field. Typically, at least fifteen (15) years of professional experience will suffice to achieve the high impact required for Fellowship. Recognizing that individual career paths may differ, nominees with less than 15 years of experience may be considered if the nominee has made contributions at the highest level of the geoscience profession, and these contributions must be clearly explained in the nomination letter.


5. A record of sustained engagement with and service to GSA. Nominees must have a record of sustained engagement with and service to GSA. The nominee's participation with GSA should be addressed in the nomination letter and/or the resume or curriculum vitae. Minimum qualifications must include three (3) items from the list below.

  • GSA Meeting Attendance (at least once in previous 5 years)
  • GSA Meeting Presentation (at least once in previous 5 years)
  • Publishing in GSA Journals (1)
  • Service on GSA Editorial Boards
  • Manuscript Reviews for GSA Journals (>5)
  • GSA Field Trip Leader (1)
  • GSA Short Course Instructor (1)
  • Publishing in GSA Journals (>5) (exemplary)
  • GSA Field Trip Leader (2+) (exemplary)
  • GSA Short Course Instructor (2+) (exemplary)
  • GSA Committee Service (1) (exemplary)
  • GSA Division Leadership (1) (exemplary)
  • GSA Section Leadership (exemplary)
  • GSA Mentorship (exemplary)

Exemplary Participation/Engagement with GSA

Exemplary engagement and service are recognized by satisfying at least four (4) criteria identified as ‘exemplary’. GSA engagement and service are balanced against overall achievement impact.

Nominees with a low to medium overall achievement impact who have a high level of engagement/participation with GSA (exemplary) may be considered favorably by the review committee. If the nominee has a very high level of engagement and service to GSA, consider nominating for Professional Organizations.

6. A sustained record of achievement in one or more Fellowship Nomination Categories. To demonstrate this achievement, nominators typically should make compelling arguments in two (2) to three (3) elements (see the examples listed under each Nomination Category). In rare cases, Fellowship may be awarded to nominees with proof of exemplary achievement in just one category and element. While there is no limit on the number of Nomination Categories that can be selected, because nomination letters are limited to two (2) pages, nominations based on more than one (1) Nomination Category or that focus on more than three (3) elements within that category may be unsuccessful.

Requirements and Eligibility—Nominators

  • A member can be nominated for Fellowship only by another GSA member who initiates the process by completing the nomination form and submitting all required documents.
  • At least two, but up to three supporting nominators, are required in addition to the primary nominator. At least one nominator (either the primary or a supporting nominator) must be a GSA Fellow.
  • The primary and supporting nominators must be GSA members in good standing.
  • At least one of the up to four (4) nominators (primary or supporting) must work in a different organization or unit than the nominee in order to provide different viewpoints on the nominee’s achievements. For example, this guideline can be satisfied within different units of a single, large organization, provided that the nominators explain how the units operate as separate entities.
  • A GSA Member or Fellow may only support two (2) nominees per nomination cycle, only one of which as a primary nominator.

Nomination Categories

Nominees must have a sustained record of achievement in one or more Fellowship Nomination Categories. To demonstrate achievement, nominators typically should make compelling arguments in two (2) to three (3) elements of the selected Nomination Category(ies) (see the examples listed under each Nomination Category). Read more information about nomination categories and see examples.


Instructions for Submission

Nominations are due 1 February.

Read FAQs and Tips for making a Fellowship nomination

The primary nominator will collect all supporting documents. Completion of the form requires the following information and documents:

  • Nominee's information
  • Names and affiliations of two (2) or up to three (3) supporting nominators
  • Selection of one (or more) Nomination Category(ies)
  • A brief 50 word reason for nomination to be published if nominee is elected to Fellowship
  • A letter of nomination from the primary nominator and endorsed and signed by all supporting nominators. The letter should:
    • Be up to two (2) pages:
      • Separate paragraph describing the nominee's contributions which support the selected Nomination Category(ies)
      • Attest to the nominee's contributions to the science based on personal knowledge of the professional activities documented in the nominee's resumé or curriculum vitae and bibliography
      • Address the nominee’s participation in and service to the Geological Society of America if not indicated in the nominee’s resume or CV
  • A two-page maximum current curriculum vitae, government record, or resumé of the nominee focusing on Categories for Nomination and service/participation in GSA. The CV/resumé can have links to the full document in Google Scholar, etc.
  • A full bibliography of the nominee, if applicable

Upon receipt of nomination, the primary nominator will receive an email confirmation. Late, incomplete, or insufficiently supported nominations will, regrettably, be turned down.


Review Process

Nominations are due 1 February.

The Membership and Fellowship Committee members review all complete and qualified nominations independently and then collectively at their meeting in March or April. Nominees that are agreed upon are required to complete the online ethics disclosure form and are then forwarded to Council for approval and election into Fellowship at the GSA Spring Council meeting.

All GSA members, including Fellows, must uphold high ethical standards of behavior in all of their professional activities as delineated in GSA’s Code of Ethics & Professional Conduct. Given their stature, GSA Fellows are expected to model both the letter and spirit of these ethical standards in their day-to-day actions.