Summer Field Camp

Pitt does not offer its own field camp, so you get to pick one that best meets your interests and summer schedule. Here is a list of field camps. Not all of these field camps will count for the geology degree--in general avoid those that are fewer than 4 credits. For example, there are a number of 3-credit field camps to exotic places like Iceland, Nepal, and the Galapagos. While interesting, these camps tend to focus on sophomore level learning, and they are not true capstone experiences that allow you to cement and advance your undergraduate learning.

What Counts as a Geology Summer Field Camp

The geology summer field camp is the capstone course for the geology major. A capstone course should reinforce and advance all of the skills you acquired as an undergraduate. People often return from field camp full of enthusiasm because they finally feel like a real geologist.

A geology field camp should be 4 to 6 weeks long. It should include the mapping of several different areas, drafting cross-sections and creating other data plots, and the writing of final reports that summarize all data and figures and discuss the inferred geologic history of the map areas. Some field camps include hydrogeology or other specialized components.

When to Sign Up for Field Camp

It is best to take your field camp after you’ve completed your core geology classes, especially GEOL 1100 Structural Geology. Many students take their field camp in the summer after they have completed their senior year. Seniors can still go through the spring graduation ceremonies (no one gets their diploma at graduation!). The only difference is that you apply for August graduation instead of April.


Every geology major must take some sort of field course that involves geology. Exceptions to the standard field courses tend to be made only when a student has an exceptionally focused interest and identifies an alternative that is rigorous and clearly functions to advance career or academic interests.

The most common exception is when a student decides to take a hydrogeology field camp. There are several out there, but you want to pick one that lasts at least four weeks and that works up to capstone projects in which you gather data, create maps and other diagrams, and write reports describing your results and how they helped address a particular question. Note: Some regular field camps include hydro!


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