Field Camp

What is Field Camp?

Field camp is a tradition in the education of a geologist. It is an intensive course that applies classroom and laboratory training to solving geological problems in the field. Skills developed during field camp typically include: collection of geologic data, constructing a measured section, interpreting geologic structures, and geologic mapping.

At UWM, students attend a field camp run by another institution and then receive transfer credit for Geo Sci 455 – Field Geology course.

Who needs Field Camp?

Field camp is required for the Bachelor of Science (BS) and Bachelor of Arts (BA) degrees in the Geosciences Department. UWM does not offer a field camp (Geo Sci 455) through the Geosciences department, and students must take a field camp through another accredited university. You must request your transcript from the field camp university to be sent to UWM in order to receive transfer credit.

Field camp course pre-requisites: Prerequisites vary between different field camp courses, but often include:

  • Geo Sci 414 – Structural Geology
  • Geo Sci 511 – Stratigraphy and Sedimentation
  • Geo Sci 301 – Mineralogy
  • Geo Sci 302 – Petrology

When is Field Camp?

Field camps are typically 5-7 weeks long in the summer. For the BA, a 3-credit course is acceptable, but a minimum of a 4-credits are required for the BS. Typically students do their field camps the summer after their junior or senior year, but it can be completed anytime.

How to Choose a Field Camp?

There are many field camps to choose from; however space is limited at many of them so you must apply early. Choosing a field camp is dependent on several factors, including cost, length of the field camp, where the field camp takes place (is there a certain region you would like to work in) and the type of exercises being done (e.g. geologic vs. hydrogeologic).

Most field camps focus on geologic field mapping exercises but some also have environmental or hydrogeological applications.

Past students have been to field camps that do field work in the United States, Canada, Africa, Argentina, and New Zealand.

What’s the cost?

Field camps vary in cost depending on which University you choose.

UWM is part of a consortium with the South Dakota Schools of Mines & Technology that allows our students to attend their field camp for a reduced rate. They have field camps in Wyoming, South Dakota, Turkey, the Himalayas, and Iceland. See

The UWM Geosciences department offers summer field work scholarships every spring and many geology-related organizations offer scholarships for field work. Check out the Scholarships section of the UWM Geosciences homepage.

Financial Aid is also available for field camps. However, to be considered a full-time student for the purpose of financial aid, you must be enrolled in a minimum of 6 credits!

What’s the Process?

  1. Choose the field camp that’s right for you, and apply for admission
  2. If admitted, enroll in the accredited university’s field camp course
  3. If you are applying for financial aid, complete all requirements before June 1st
  4. Attend the field camp
  5. Request a transcript from field camp university for UWM transfer credit (Geo Sci 455)Send official transcript to:UW-Milwaukee
    Department of Enrollment Services
    P.O. Box 749
    Milwaukee, WI 53201
    Enrollment Services will review and post transfer credit to your UWM transcript. Once the credit is posted, you will see it on your PAWS account in the My Academics section.
  6. Share your photos and experiences with us!

Field Camp Information (4-9 credits; field camp location and length in parenthesis)

  • South Dakota School of Mines & Technology (3-5 weeks; UWM is a consortium member with SDSM&T and offers reduced rates on field camps for UWM students. They run field camps in the Western U.S., Turkey, the Himalayas, and Iceland)

A more comprehensive list of available field camps:

National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT)/U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) List of Field Camps