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 mapping several different areas, drafting cross-sections and plotting other data, and writing final reports that summarize the observations 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 geology field camps include hydrology (e.g. Indiana University)!


Please check out the Scholarships and Grants link (at right) to learn more about funds to pay for field courses, undergraduate research, and more..

Transferring in the Geology Summer Field Camp credits

There are only two things you need to do to transfer in your summer field camp credits:

1. Fill out the “Request to Take Summer Courses at Another College" form and get it approved.

2. Arrange with the registrar of the university that runs the field camp to have an official transcript mailed directly to:

Student Records
140 Thackeray Hall
University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA 15260