Undergraduate Team Research

Any USC undergraduate can apply to join our yearlong Team Research program, which gives students the opportunity to combine field and lab experience while earning credit.

The three research options currently offered are:

  • In the Footsteps of Genghis Khan: Tectonic research in Inner Mongolia
  • Geologic Wonders of Yosemite at Two Miles High
  • Rocks under the Desert Sky: Examining a Crustal Section in Joshua Tree National Park

A maximum of 20 students are admitted every year to this program, which includes:

  • Two weeks of summer field work
  • Enrollment and participation in GEOL 385 in the fall semester
  • Completion of ongoing research in the fall and spring semesters for a total of 8 units. These units may be applied towards a 16-unit geology minor. One goal of this program is to present our research through scientific publications and presentations by the end of the spring semester.


Application deadline: March 15, 2013

Applications must include a brief resume and a one-page write-up of how participation in the UTR activities will enhance your USC program. Early application is encouraged. If you have questions about the program or are interested in applying please contact:

Prof. Scott Paterson
UTR Faculty Advisor


All USC undergraduate students are eligible: no experience in geology is required, although an Earth Science GE course is useful background. The program covers all non-tuition overload costs. Each option is a multidisciplinary, learner-centered, student research experience occurring largely outside the classroom. You will work at various scales of research ranging from individual to team based, while being mentored by a number of domestic and international scientists.

In addition to the 2 units of field research, each student must enroll in GEOL 385 (a Fall semester, 2-unit class that introduces you to many different aspects of scientific research and allows all UTR students to share your data and experiences) and participate in lab research in both Fall and Spring semesters (2 units each semester), culminating in presentation of research at both the USC undergraduate research symposium and possibly at a meeting of a national professional society or publication of an article in a refereed journal.

If you would like to sign up for a course or consider a major or minor in the Earth Sciences we encourage you to talk to Cindy Waite (waite@usc.edu) or Doug Hammond (dhammond@usc.edu).

  • Zumberge Hall of Science (ZHS)
  • Los Angeles, CA 90089-0740
  • Phone: (213) 740-6106
  • Email: earthsci@usc.edu