One of the many draws of Earth Sciences is working in fascinating and often beautiful parts of the world. Though by no means a requirement for being a student in our program, we offer many opportunities to spend time learning and studying in the great outdoors. Field-based components feature in many of our classes, from Stratigraphy to Structure to Hydrogeology.

Our “Maymester” classes (run as GEOL 465 – Field Geology) are a major highlight of our field education, covering a range of topics that vary on a yearly basis — typically alternating between a more environmental and more geological focus every other year.


Maymester 2024!

Field Geology: Tectonics of the Aegean (GEOL 465L)
Location: Greece
Professor: John Platt
Program duration: Spring Tail: 6 orientations during the spring semester, 11 days abroad after commencement.

All of our Maymester classes begin with a series of orientation seminars during the Spring semester, followed by an intensive 3-4 week field experience during the month of May, after the end of the normal semester exams (all of which is covered as part of Spring registration). These integrative field experiences offer an opportunity to apply the knowledge gained in classes to a research problem involving multiple aspects of the Earth Sciences — helping students to place the various courses they have taken in context with each other, and to think in an interdisciplinary and creative fashion. A major bonus of many of our Maymester classes is allowing students to experience aspects of the culture of vastly different countries.

Recent classes have included field mapping in the Argentina, the geological history of southern Spain, and the hydrology and biogeochemistry of the Andes Mountains and Amazon rainforest of Peru. What better way to learn and experience the Earth Sciences than to visit some of the most awe-inspiring parts of the world!

For more information and to see the classes that are scheduled to be offered this year, see the Dornsife College Maymester program website.

And check out this video put together by students on our Peru Maymester trip!

Maymester 2021, Colorado River Basin
Colorado River Basin