Undergraduate Field Experiences

Department Field Trips

  • Photo of EPS students, with pickaxes and orange helmets, standing on icy ground in front of cliffs in Iceland

    Exploring the Icelandic landscape in August 2019

  • EPS undergraduate students in front of snow-capped mountains in the Canadian Rockies

    EPS undergraduate students in the Canadian Rockies

  • EPS students hike along a path in an arid landscape in Death Valley

    EPS Field Camp in Death Valley, California

EPS students have the opportunity to see first-hand the science, systems, and earth processes they learn about in the classroom. This experiential learning component is key to helping students learn about the world around them and why it is so great to study earth sciences. In addition to the science, students make connections with other students and EPS faculty. There are many options for participation: EPS-sponsored field trips at the start of the academic year, participation in an approved field camp for credit, summer research in oceanography, and EPS courses that include field trips throughout the semester.

Field Trips

EPS undergraduate students are invited to participate in an EPS-sponsored field trip to learn about relevant earth sciences. Examples of prior trips include: 

  • The Big Island of Hawai’i: Students visit an active volcano and learn about fault systems
  • The Canadian Rockies: Students are introduced to the basic concepts of physical geology by exploring the Banff and Kananaskis regions of southwest Alberta, which affords perhaps the best-exposed fold-and-thrust belt in North America

Undergraduate field trips are led by EPS faculty and accompanied by staff. All those who have declared EPS as their primary and joint-allied concentration or secondary field are eligible to participate. Contact Campbell Halligan (campbellhalligan@fas.harvard.edu) to learn more.

Field Camp

Undergraduate students can participate in an approved domestic or overseas field camp for credit as EPS 174. Field camp is usually taken after your sophomore or junior year, and lasts between 3-6 weeks. Additional field camps may be offered during January term. Field camp gives students hands-on experience in solving geologic problems in earth sciences. Students learn methods of obtaining, synthesizing, and interpreting field observations. Field schools are selected individually by students with the advice and approval of the instructor. Contact Campbell Halligan (campbellhalligan@fas.harvard.edu) to learn more.

Summer Research in Oceanography

Students are invited to apply for fellowships to do summer research in oceanography or join research cruises through an oceanographic institution, such as the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution or the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. To learn more, please visit the Oceanography Committee's website.

Courses Including Field Trips

Enrolled students in the courses below will have the opportunity to attend field trips:

  • EPS 52: Geophysics of the Earth and Planets
  • EPS 56: Geobiology and the History of Life
  • EPS 109: Earth Resources and the Environment
  • EPS 131: Introduction to Physical Oceanography and Climate
  • EPS 171: Structural Geology and Tectonics
  • EPS 174: Field Experiences in EPS