Undergraduate Studies

Field Experience

Field Trips

Field experiences are an important aspect of all of the geological sciences. The UA Department of Geological Sciences integrates field trips into numerous undergraduate and graduate classes and sponsors a Regional Geology Class (GEO 490/590) that focuses on field trips to classic geologic locations. Recent locations include the La Popa Basin and Craton.

Summer Field Course

The Department of Geological Sciences offers a five-week field course for undergraduates, with opportunities to apply geologic techniques and principles, such as mapping, data collecting, and reporting. The course is offered during the first summer term, and students must apply to enroll.

Rio Grande river landscape
Rio Grande River, New Mexico

GEO 495: Geology Field Course 2021-2022

Cliff edge of Caldera in New Mexico
Caldera Outcrop, New Mexico

Location: Northern New Mexico

Term: Summer 1 (end of May to end of June), but exact dates may vary from year to year.

Course Number: GEO 495

Credit Hours: 6

Prerequisites: igneous and metamorphic petrology; structural geology; and stratigraphy, sedimentology, or sedimentary petrology

Students will learn the essentials of field geology, including outcrop description; introduction to geologic mapping; interpretation of sedimentary, metamorphic, & igneous rocks; and structural analysis.

Fees:  Total costs will range from $1000 to $1500 per student.  These costs include travel to and from New Mexico, lodging, and meals.   This amount does not include medical insurance (required), field gear (clothing, backpack, hiking boots) or personal items. Tuition for 6 credits is an additional ~$3500 for Alabama residents and ~$8000 for nonresidents.  If these costs are a financial burden, scholarship funds are available.


The Department of Geological Sciences will provide field notebooks and Brunton compasses for each student. Laptop computers and printers will be shared by the group, or personal laptops can be used.  Recommended personal gear and clothing lists will be provided to students.

Lodging: The Austing Haus within the Taos Ski Valley of Northern New Mexico will function as the primary base of operations for most of the exercises.  https://theaustinghaus.com/

Meals will be provided by the facility, which also contains a laundry room and a large dining room for holding group meetings and completing assignments.   Days off can be spent at the ski lodge, on the surrounding mountain trails, or in the town of Taos, which is a unique place with a rich artistic, cultural, and historical legacy.  https://taos.org/

The class may also stay at other locations in northern New Mexico depending on availability.

All circumstances can be accommodated, including issues of financial hardship, available resources, mobility, disability, or chronic illness.  If you are concerned about the financial or personal difficulty of taking this course, please contact Dr. Kim Genareau, Field Course Director, to discuss accommodations or if you just want additional information.

Field course applications for the upcoming summer can be found here and should be returned to Kim Genareau prior to March 15th 2022.  If you are not a UA student, you can still take the course for transferrable credit and should contact Kim as early as possible.