Field Courses | Department of Geography and the Environment

Field Courses

The Texas Parks Field School

Offered during 17 days of the Maymester, the Texas Parks Field School includes activities in Lost Maples State Natural Area, Seminole Canyon State Park, Big Bend National Park, Davis Mountains State Park, Guadalupe Mountains National Park, and Palo Duro Canyon State Park. Students camp, hike, and learn about the history of each park. As well, the parks serve as the basis for four comparative research activities:

  1. Texas Geology: students observe, record and interpret the geology in diverse parts of the state.
  2. Landscape Change: using 1960s-era postcards and high-resolution historical photographs, students identify and analyze land-cover and landscape changes in six parks.
  3. Museum Geography: students use a museum geography perspective to analyze and compare park visitor centers.
  4. Biogeography: students learn to identify plants and biogeographical variations on the landscape, and they examine and compare ecosystem transition zones among sky islands in West Texas.

The China Field School

GEOG 4070 or 5075 - China Field School develops skills in field observation, analysis and interpretation for a variety of geographical, geological and environmental problems. Participants experience diverse landscapes and cultures in China. The China Field School will be centered on four sites - Beijing, Kunming, Dali and Lijiang, spending 3-4 days at each site. In Beijing, students will develop a better understanding of the landforms, climate, natural resources and population of China through visits to national research institutes in geography, resource and environment, and geospatial technologies. In Kunming, Dali and Lijiang, students will examine urban planning and study karst topography, neotectonics and active faults, plateau lakes and wetlands, the three parallel rivers and water resources, the Lufend dinosaur valley and changes in glacier size in the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain.

The British Isles Field School (6 hours)

This course is available at the undergraduate or graduate level. For geography majors the course counts as 3 hours of regional science and 3 hours of earth science (Groups A and B, in the geography degree requirements). For non-geography majors this course can count as advanced elective hours. The field school gives students direct experience in applying geographical field techniques in a foreign setting - the UK and Ireland. The field school will be centered on five base sites - Plymouth (England), Cork (Ireland), Galway (Ireland), Bangor (Wales) and Edinburgh (Scotland). At each site, students will conduct human and physical geography exercises, designed to provide training in various field techniques. Each exercise is designed to be completed in one day. Duration of field work will be approximately three weeks and includes a "free day" at each of the five base cities. Students are free to stay on for independent travel in Europe following the field school.

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