Field Courses

Fieldwork is a vital part of an Earth scientist’s training. Our field courses are designed to provide a wide range of practical exercises and field experience in geology and geophysics: observing, measuring, recording, mapping, and problem-solving. Students complete up to 90 days of field training throughout the course, including their 4-6 week independent mapping project in the summer after 2nd year. For many, the individual mapping is the highlight of their undergraduate career.

Students Eleni Wood, Anna Bidgood, Robert Fox and Chantelle Roelofse made a short video of their independent mapping fieldwork in summer 2013:

Fieldwork Costs

Fieldwork requires some basic equipment. Safety equipment such as helmets, hi-vis vests and goggles are provided by the Department, free of charge. Over the past five years, basic field equipment such as mapping notebooks, Estwing hammer, etc. has been provided for students by an anonymous alumni donor.  From 2019, it is likely that students will have to pay for some essential equipment, at approximately £75 per person.  We are grateful to the Oxford Geology Group for their support in providing some essential equipment, and to BP for providing compass clinometers to all students at the start of the course.

Throughout your course, your fieldwork will take you to a variety of terrain and weather conditions; it is therefore essential that you have suitable outdoor clothing for all eventualities. Relatively inexpensive good quality clothing can be purchased from specialist outdoor retailers who can also provide useful advice e.g. Cotswold Outdoors, Blacks, GO Outdoors, Decathlon or independent retailers, ideally visiting in person to check fit. The Department has a discount code for use at Cotswold Outdoors.

Finding additional funding

Fieldwork is a core part of the course, and as such, students do not pay for field courses organised by the department. However, to do justice to your 3rd year mapping project, and some 4th year projects, you may require additional financial support. The following sites and organisations may be of use, though please note the department is not responsible for the content of these sites, nor any eventual outcomes.

College Travel Grants – see your individual College for how to apply

MinSouth & Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (IOM3) – offer scholarships and bursaries

Oxford Geology Group – our local interest group offer modest bursaries for student members

Silofunds – a search engine dedicated to finding student funding, such as travel grants. (NB: for information on undergraduate finance related to degree courses, please see the Fees, Funding and Scholarship Search on the University website)

Oxford Alumni Network Travel Grants – often restricted to students from, or travel to, a particular location.

Important: Fieldwork Safety Documentation

Click here for essential field safety guidelines and risk assessment forms.  Please note access to these documents requires your University Single Sign On (SSO).