Field Courses

Five College field courses present students with hands-on educational opportunities. These courses often give our students their first in-depth 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 members. Recent field trips have included a trip to coastal Maine (Smith's Marine Ecology class), Project Oceanology Cruises out of Groton, CT  (Smith and Mt. Holyoke College Oceanography classes), a Cape Cod whale watch (Hampshire's Marine Mammals class), and a trip to New York to look at ancient marine deposits (Umass History of Earth and Amherst College Paleontology classes).

Tropical Field Trips
Field-intensive courses are offered during January interterm and spring recess to tropical environments that complement Five College course offerings. Students gain valuable exposure to different cultures and socioeconomic conditions on many of these excursions.

Carbonate Systems and Coral Reefs of the Bahamas (January)
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.

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)
Class not offered Spring 2018

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.

Faculty interested in support for marine-related class field trips should download a Request for Field Trip Support.

There are also many semester-away and summer programs that offer marine field courses.