Five College Coastal and Marine Sciences Program

Field Courses

Five College field courses present students with hands-on educational opportunities. These courses often give our students their first indepth field research experience in coastal environments. Students participate in active field learning, problem-solving, and critical thinking.

Regional Field Trips
During the academic year, we sponsor course-related field trips led by five college faculty. Recent field trips have included the Darling Marine Laboratory in Maine, Project Oceanology Cruises out of Groton, CT and cruises aboard the brigantine Ernestina and RV/CT.


Tropical Field Trips
Field-intensive courses are offered during January interterm and spring recess to tropical environments which complement five college course offerings. Students gain valuable exposure to different cultures and socio-economic conditions on many of these excursions.

Carbonate Systems and Coral Reefs of the Bahamas 
(January 2012)
Geology 270j is a field-oriented course offered by Smith College. Students examine the diverse carbonate environments typical of the Bahama Islands, including a variety of shallow subtidal shelves, coral reefs, lagoons, beaches, dunes, and lakes. The course utilizes the facilities of the Gerace Research Center on San Salvador Island. Students conduct an individual or small group project. This course is offered in alternate years.

This course will meet on San Salvador Island, Bahamas, January 11-23, 2012.

Please contact Course Director Bosiljka Glumac if you are interested in enrolling. Smith students are granted priority enrollment.

Tropical Field Biology, Panama and Costa Rica (March)
Biology 487H is a four-credit University of Massachusetts Amherst course featuring intensive exploration of terrestrial and marine ecosystems. Guided observation of organisms in their natural habitats is accompanied by on-site discourse on the ecology, behavior, taxonomy, and physiology of the organisms encountered. Field investigations are supplemented with preparatory classroom work in the weeks before the spring recess trip to Central America and with evening lectures and lab-based explorations during the trip.

Additional fees are required for the spring recess field trip.  Students must apply to take this course. The application deadline is usually in October. Five College students are encouraged to apply. For more information, contact Betsy Dumont at the University of Massachusetts Biology Department.
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Faculty interested in support for marine-related class field trips should download a Request for Field Trip Support.
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There are also many semester-away and summer programs that offer marine field courses.