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Field education

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Want to get into the field? No experience required.

We recognize that field education is a fundamental component of undergraduate education and an integral part of professional development for Earth scientists and engineers. In the field, you will learn to understand Earth’s dynamic processes and develop your observational, spatial, and problem-solving skills. 

From one-day exploratory trips to a 10-week course in Hawaii, field experiences are available for students at all levels – from undergraduates with no background who want to learn about the natural world to majors and graduate students in the geosciences.  

Introductory field courses

Our instructors immerse you in hands-on field experiences to understand Earth’s processes and develop your observational, spatial, and problem-solving skills.

Living on the Edge

Ariel view of coastline with houses near the edge

This weekend trip along the Pacific Coast exposes students to local beaches, landforms, and geology.  Camp overnight in tents along the coast. No experience needed, food and camping equipment will be provided.  Interested students complete this form.

Know Your Planet: Science in the Field

Over the course of two day-long field trips to Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, students will learn and implement hands-on skills for conducting research outdoors in the natural environment. No previous field-work experience necessary. Interested students complete this form.

Moving and Shaking in the Bay Area

Students rock climbing

Observe earthquake faults and erosion in the Bay Area, and their effects upon landscapes. Learn about landslides and tectonic processes in the valleys, mountains, and coastal areas around Stanford.  No previous experience needed.

Energizing California

People in field looking at windmills

This spring quarter weekend field trip takes students to geothermal, bioenergy, and natural gas field sites in Northern California. No prior experience needed. Freshmen get priority.

Natural Perspectives

Faculty and students looking at a map

This four-day field trip combines exploration of regional geology, ecology, and environmental history with guided drawing exercises in the Eastern Sierra Nevada. Students will gain an appreciation for how scientific and aesthetic perspectives enhance one another in the study of nature. No previous experience required. Preference for freshmen and sophomores.  Interested students complete this form

More field learning opportunities

Learn about courses taught by our faculty through Stanford's Sophomore College courses and Bing Overseas Studies Programs. Faculty take students to South Pacific coral reefs, Alaskan fisheries, Italian volcanoes, and other sites for the study of Earth processes.


Peter Vitousek teaching students in Hawaii

A quarter-long course for students interested in the interaction between humans and environmental systems. Learn more

Going into the Field?

Resources for a well-equipped and safe field experience.

See all Field Resources