Orange Alert

Field Experience

One of the highlights of any undergraduate experience is the geology field experience, and as noted above, field experience is required for the BS in Geology, but is optional for other degrees. This requirement is usually satisfied by participation in an approved six-week summer "field camp". Aside from the field experience in New Zealand as part of a semester abroad, most SU students undertake field camps in the US that are run by other universities. Both the more traditional geological field camps, or a more discipline-specific field course (e.g., hydrogeology) are available. SU typically approves field camp experiences that include 4-6 weeks of intensive field study including excursions to key geological sites as well as geological mapping and related exercises.

Choosing a Field Camp:

Prior approval for field camps must be secured from the Director of Undergraduate Studies and may also require a petition to the faculty. Six or more transfer credit hours can only be accepted by Syracuse University if the field camp is pre-approved by the Director of Undergraduate Studies. The credits are awarded by the outside University program and transferred to SU as EAR470, experience credit.

Among the factors you will want to consider when choosing a field camp are:

  • Geography (our general advice: West is Best, but there are NY based camps as well);
  • Geology (structural complexity and style, principal bedrock types; ruggedness (some "rough it" all the way; others are tamer); and
  • Reputation (best judged by talking with seniors and graduate students who have had recent, first-hand experience).

Students should consult "How to Choose a Geology Field Camp". In addition, has a list of field courses offered by 100+ schools. You can examine brochures advertising many such programs in the department office (Room 204) or on the department bulletin board.

Occasionally, students can meet the field course requirements with an NSF-sponsored Research Experience for undergraduates (REU) or Keck Consortium field experiences. Students are encouraged to visit the websites for these programs to see what is available to them for the particular year they plan to satisfy the requirement.

Timing Field Camp

Most Earth and Environmental Science majors take field camp in the summer between their junior and senior years, but you can also receive a BS degree at commencement, pending completion of the requirement in the summer following graduation. An important consideration in timing is your own background: courses in Structural Geology and Sedimentology or Stratigraphy may be required by the schools offering field camps.

Pre-Requisites for Field Camp:

Students attending a traditional geological field camp (typically the majority of our students do this style of field camp) should have successfully completed EAR317 and EAR333 before they attend the field course. If they have not yet taken those courses, they will need to supply written communication from the director of the field camp to the effect that those courses are not required.

Scholarship for Field Camp:

The department recognizes that these courses constitute an extra financial burden on students. Therefore, if available, the department will provide a supplement (currently $1000) to our students to offset the cost of this course. To be eligible for the supplement, students must request support in writing to the Chairperson by April 1 of the year that they intend to attend field camp. A brief email requesting support and specifying the field camp is sufficient. Note that the field camp in New Zealand as part of Frontiers Abroad is included as part of the cost of one semester, airfare to New Zealand and accommodation are extra. There are also other opportunities to secure additional funding from outside SU to offset course costs. For example, the National Association for Geology Teachers offers a scholarship for field study, and many individual field programs offer a variety of ways to offset costs, both merit-based and need-based.