Field Courses


The School of Earth Sciences emphasizes the importance of hands on education, especially in the field. In addition to OSU Field Camp, SES offers several other field courses. Contact the respective professors for more information. 

Advanced Historical Geology: Dr. Matthew Saltzman


This course includes both a field trip to the central Appalachian Valley and Ridge Provience and pre trip class meetings (lectures and student presentations) on tectonics and sedimentation in the Appalachian Basin. The purpose of the field trip is to examine exceptional exposures of sedimentary rock sequences in West Virginia and Virginia, which reveal the development of the Appalachian Basin during the Ordovician through Devonian. Emphasis on interpretation of depsoitional environments and fossil occurrences in relation to regional tectonics, global sea level, paleoceonogrpahy, and paleoclimate.

Geology of The Bahamas and Carbonate Field Studies: Dr. Liz Griffith, and Dr. Jill Leonard-Pingel


This 5000/8000 level course is designed as an international field-based, hands-on learning experience - providing an introduction to modern carbonate environments, sedimentation and diagenesis, and carbonate island hydrogeology using San Salvador Island, The Bahamas as a microcosm of these environments around the world. Prereq: All students must have declared a major or minor in School of Earth Sciences.

Environmental Sustainability in Costa Rica: Ozeas Costa


In this integrated multidisciplinary program (which includes lectures in the US and in Costa Rica, group discussions, and in county educational and cultural experiences), we explore the complex relationships between the use and conservation of natural resources and economical development in Costa Rica, In particular the role of protected areas in ensuring the country's environmental sustainability. Visits to a number of in-coutnry locations provide hands-on knowledge to asses different conservation practices and establish the effectiveness of protected areas in promoting environmental sustainability in face of accelerated development. 

Coastal Hydrogeology: Dr. Audrey Sawyer


This course introduces students to coastal issues in hydrogeology. Topics include ground-water discharge to marine and freshwater coasts, surface water-groundwater interactions, and implications for coastal water quality, eco-system processes and water resource management. Through literature reading and discussion, students learn about pressing water resource challenges in coastal zones, and novel scientific methods to address them. The highlight of the semester is a field trip to Lake Erie, where students measure discharge of groundwater and nutrients from shore.

Seminar in Coastal Geology: Dr. Derek Sawyer



This course is a graduate level seminar on coastal geology highlighted by a weekend field trip to Lake Erie to collect multibeam sonar, sediment cores, and to discuss principles of coastal geology. Throughout the semester, the class works on the collected datasets and discuss current issues on a broad range of coastal geology topics including hurricanes, tsunamis, sea level rise, coastal eco-systems, and coastal bluff erosion.

Field Stratigraphy in the Guadalupe Mountains: Dr. Derek Sawyer



This course is an opportunity to study carbonate and siliciclastic sedimentary systems highlighted by a field trip to the natural laboratory of the Guadalupe Mountains in west Texas. The Guadalupe Mountains provide outstanding continuous exposure of a wide spectrum of carbonate and siliciclastic environments across a shelf-to-basin transect. During the semester, students will lead presentations and discussion of carbonate environments, deepwater siliciclastic environments, and the geology of Guadalupe Mountains. In the field, students will measure sections, interpret depositional environments, and synthesize observations at multiple locations to infer paleogeographic evolution. It will be very helpful if the student has an upper level undergraduate course in sed/strat depositional environments but students from a range of subdisciplines are encouraged to participate. We will develop fundamental field skills and gain a broad understanding of the evolution of an Upper Permian carbonate platform and reef complex in a classic geologic area.