Fieldwork is an important part of our undergraduate curriculum.

There are several field courses available to Earth Science students, which visit sites throughout the world.


Pre-honours students will attend two field courses in the first and second year of study in the School.

Lake District

The Lake District is one of the UK’s classic areas for geology, recording the closure of the Iapetus Ocean that once separated England from Scotland. From a base in Coniston, we will examine the sediments from the closing ocean, and volcanics and granites from an Andean-style arc that forms the rugged mountain scenery that the area is famous for. But before the tourists there were miners, winning slate (actually a volcanic ash), agricultural lime and copper ores which has had a major impact on the landscape. Glaciers also shaped much of the present day landscape, interacting with faults and other geological features to produce, amongst others, the lakes themselves. We will practice basic field skills including field mapping, with a 2 day assessed mapping exercise.


This is a two-week field course to the North West of Scotland. It teaches the wide array of field skills needed by Geoscience students, including mapping, geomorphological analysis, quantitative field skills and methods of data collection, and develops an understanding of the relationship between surface and subsurface data and increases the ability of students to gather pertinent data from rock outcrops and surface features.


Honours students have a wide choice of field courses across our degree programmes.


This is a two-week trip based at Discovery Bay Marine Laboratory, on the north shore of Jamaica. Field studies will include; coral reef ecology and geomorphology, coastal oceanographic processes andstream and groundwater sampling and analyses.

There will also be trips to investigate Jamaica's bauxite mining industry, the geology of the igneous Central inlier region, and karst processes in the Cockpit Country.


The Spain fieldtrip in year three is an opportunity to investigate the geologically young and tectonically active areas of southern Spain. You will fine-tune your mapping skills before starting your honours mapping project, and have the opportunity to reconstruct the geology of a complicated region. You will also visit a garnet-bearing volcano and see the Carboneras fault, one of the largest strike-slip fault zones in Europe.

Kinlochleven (Scotland)

This trip provides a structural mapping exercise, and is designed to improve the skills needed for the honours mapping project.

Mull (Inner Hebrides, Scotland)

Mull is the site of a series of volcanoes that were active from about 61 to 58 million years ago. They form a small part of a huge volcanic province, stretching from Arctic Canada to Scotland. Erosion has stripped off most of the volcanic superstructure in Mull and exposed the igneous complex that lies beneath the old volcanoes. Besides its volcanoes, Mull also has an amazing variety of older rocks, and some of the oldest rocks in Scotland are exposed on nearby Iona.

Helmsdale (Scotland)

The exposures of Jurassic rocks along the coastline near Helmsdale, NE Scotland, are world-class examples of fault-related clastic sedimentation. During this week-long field trip for third year geophysics students, a study is made of the structural, sedimentological and stratigraphic relationships exposed along the coastline.


Cyprus is one of the few places on Earth where the ocean crust is visible on land as a ophiolite. You will spend two weeks tracing the geological history of the island and investigating the interactions between tectonic, magmatic and sedimentary events. Highlights include a visit to the mantle and the opportunity to reconstruct an oceanic transform fault.

Oban (Scotland)

This is a five day fieldtrip at Dunstaffnage Marine Laboratory. It provides hands-on experience with water and sediment sampling methods, and bathymetric and hydrographic survey techniques, commonly used in coastal oceanography. Water and sediment samples are subsequently analysed for a variety of parameters and, together with bathymetric and hydrographic data, are used to provide insights on the physical and biogeochemical processes occurring in Loch Etive.

Eisen (Germany), Limoges or Condat (France) or the Lake District

This fourth year trip teaches practical and applied Geophysics in field locations and under explorations settings, with international teaching and student participation. Each day of the week will involve practical exploration of the Earth's subsurface using a different geophysical technique, then processing and interpreting the data, and combing such interpretations with those from data from other geophysical techniques.

Stonehaven (Scotland)

The fourth year trip to Stonehaven in North East Scotland is part of the Dynamic Stratigraphy course. The course provides an up-to-date overview of the main controls on the tectonic, sedimentary, igenous and metamorphic history of the British Isles. The lecture series will provide a broad overview of the UK stratigraphy within its global paleogeographic context. The trip takes place over one weekend.


This residential week-long field trip, taken by fifth year MEarthSci and MEarthPhys students, focuses on geological training in the field, which will be undertaken in Iceland. The theme of the field trip is the geology of a Mid-Ocean Ridge and Hot Spots, encompassing volcano-tectonics, magmatism, volcanism, sedimentology and geomorphology in an active volcanic setting.

2014-15 Field trip dates and costs

The link below takes you to a page detailing information on the dates and cost for each field trip that we offer in the School.

Students are expected to pay for 50% of the cost of travel to a field trip and 50% of the cost of accommodation whilst at the field trip location.

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