Building Strong Departments > Workshops > Preparing Future Geoscience Professionals > Workshop Program > Knowledge, Skills, and Attitudes

Knowledge, Skills, and Attitudes

During the opening session of the 2007 workshop on "The Role of Departments in Preparing Future Geoscience Professionals," participants discussed what knowledge, skills, and attitudes are essential for success in geoscience careers. Here is a compiled list of their answers.

Geoscience knowledge

Basic scientific principles (i.e., multiple working hypotheses)
Basic geologic principles
Integration with cognate sciences
Earth materials, and their distribution in time and space
Deep time/Earth history
Computer modeling – how it works, its limitations
Local/regional geology
Field methods/mapping
Practical applications of geology


Oral and written communication
Critical thinking
Problem solving
Make decisions based on incomplete/ambiguous data
Quantitative skills, computational skills
Integrate disparate ideas to see the big picture
Be able to work independently or in teams of diverse people
Visualize in 3 and 4 dimensions
Computer savvy
Be able to use GIS
Be able to choose good/best idea or solution
Evaluate sources of information for reliability
Communicate science to a variety of audiences, including the general public
Self-awareness: skills, abilities, learning styles, ...


Lifelong learner
Tolerance for frustration, persistence
Appreciation for other cultures and people from different backgrounds
Self-confidence, self-reliance
Open thinking – willing to consider unusual ideas
Tolerance for ambiguity