Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
Newton Horace Winchell School of Earth and Environmental Sciences

Summer Field Courses

(please check back periodically as information will be updated)
Please hold off on registering for summer field courses (February 25, 2021)
Hello everyone, 

We understand that registration for summer courses has recently opened and that many of you are eager and anxious to enroll in your preferred field courses. However, due to evolving conditions regarding Covid and vaccine distribution, the department has not yet made a final decision about how or when these courses will be offered. Additionally, some students will need to have priority access to these courses in order to graduate in a timely manner. These considerations were part of the rationale for Prof. Teyssier circulating the field survey yesterday. (If you haven’t yet responded to this survey, please do so here).   

For now, we ask that all students please hold off on trying to register for summer field courses.  

We promise that as soon as we have a final decision, we will move forward with registration in a fair and equitable way that allows each of you to plan their summers. 

Thank you for your understanding!

Annia Fayon 
Josh Feinberg
David Fox
Christian Teyssier

2021 Summer Field Courses updates: A message from Professor Christian Teyssier, Chairperson, Field Committee (February 24, 2021):

Hello ESCI undergraduate students,


The department's Field Committee would like to provide an update on this summer's field courses. As we mentioned in our Dec. 14 email, we are committed to teaching all three courses (ESCI-3911, ESCI-4911, and ESCI-4971W). The question is, in what form will they be?


As you know, the University is deeply concerned about the spread of Covid-19. At this point it appears that University courses will be online this summer, but we can request an exception, and this is what we intend to do. We are actively working on a range of options, from all online to all in-person, with the possibility of hybrid modes. The options are summarized below:


1. If the University does not authorize in-person courses, then we will teach all the courses online. In this case, we will likely revise the timing of the courses, and possibly the duration of the courses (the number of credits will remain the same); we will let you know as soon as we can.


2. If the University gives us sufficient time for in-person teaching at the end of the summer (a few weeks before classes begin on Sept. 6, 2021, we will consider a hybrid mode; we will shorten the online portion of the courses, and add extended field trips and possibly a full field course.


3. If the University allows us to teach in-person this summer, we feel that it should be later in the summer in order to provide more time for wider vaccination. In this case, we would propose to concentrate the courses in July and August, possibly as follows:

     July: 3911 (section 1) and 4971W

     August: 3911 (section 2) and 4911


We expect to have a very large enrollment in 3911 this summer. If we are in this scenario of in-person teaching, we request that those of you who are taking Field Hydrogeology (4971W ) enroll in the August section of 3911 (3911 is not a prerequisite for 4971W). Students planning on taking the Advanced Field Geology course (4911) will be required to take the July 3911 section. 


To help us with planning for different scenarios, we need help from you! Please complete this short survey so we can work out logistics and be as prepared as we can for summer instruction.


We should have more definite information as we proceed over the next couple of months, and we will share this as it becomes available. We really want to exhaust all possibilities of taking you to the field before we commit to all-online courses. We hope your semester is going well!


Field committee:  Scott Alexander, Hannah Blatchford, Annia Fayon, Josh Feinberg, David Fox, Mark Griffith, Nora Loughlin, Christian Teyssier, chair, Josie Welsh

Please continue to check back for updates or email Annia Fayon, Field Course Coordinator.

General Learning Outcomes and Field Safety

While the specific learning objectives for each course differ as a function of content, all courses maintain common objectives. After successful completion of the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences field curriculum, students will be able to:
1. Work, plan, and communicate effectively in teams whether in person or remotely; 
2. Design and implement a strategy for conducting field-oriented research or analyzing available field data from various sources (images, geophysical data, drill core);
3. Anticipate and work through problems in the field safely and reliably;
4. Develop and test hypotheses based on observations in the field and of images;
5. Work with ambiguity: be able to formulate and test multiple working hypotheses, revising as necessary based on continued data collection; 
6. Collect, manage, and analyze data; and communicate results in written, graphical, and oral delivery formats.
Field safety is our number one priority. This includes safety while working in nature as well as safety from harassment of any kind. It is our goal to provide a safe, inclusive learning environment for all students and instructional staff. With regard to field safety, students will learn how to complete a site safety analysis - identifying hazards and risks associated with working in nature. The goal of this exercise is to increase student self-awareness and self-efficacy in the outdoors.


With regard to student conduct, the University provides detailed guidelines on students Code of Conduct and general community standards. General information on community conduct can be found on the University's Community Standards webpage. The University policy prohibits sexual harassment of any kind by anyone. For more information on our department's policy, please read our ESCI Field Camps Sexual Misconduct Policy June30_2019.pdf




Introductory Field Geology Course near Dillon, MT

Section 001 - June 2021 - pending; Tentantive departure dates from Tate Hall, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN: June 2, 2021, returning June 26, 2021


Advanced Field Geology Course, NEW LOCATION! Northern MN near Ely

Section 001 - July 2021 - pending; Tentative departure dates from Tate Hall, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN: July 10, 2021, returning July 29, 2021




Hydrogeology Field Course, located in Akeley, MN and Deep Portage Conservation Reserve (exact dates forthcoming)








If you have any questions regarding the summer field programs at UMN, please contact Annia Fayon. Students from outside the University of Minnesota may apply for the Geology Field Courses by completing the application. The Hydrogeology link contains more information and contacts for that course.