Geological Field Techniques (GEOL 478 and GEOL 479)

This class is a five-week program designed to teach geological field mapping and integrative geological problem-solving. The class spends three weeks in Wyoming and two weeks in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

During the course, students typically spend six days a week in the field working on a variety of group and individual projects. Early in the course students are familiarized with the regional Phanerozoic stratigraphy and Precambrian crystalline basement rocks, learning how to describe rocks, measure stratigraphic sections, and record geologic field data. After this initial introductory week, students conduct a series of group mapping projects ranging from two to four days in length, and covering areas from approximately one to three square miles. Included in these projects are map areas containing lightly to highly deformed Precambrian igneous and metamorphic rocks as well as Phanerozoic sedimentary rocks deformed during the Laramide Orogeny. Students will map rocks deformed in a wide variety of structural styles.


The course cost includes two portions:

  1. a course fee that covers the cost of most meals, lodging and transportation, and
  2. standard tuition and fees for six credit hours.
The course fee is paid to the department, and is the same for all students, regardless of in-state or out-of-state status. For the summer of 2018, the course fee will be $3000. For in-state students, tuition and fee costs vary according to the year you entered the university. Out-of-state students pay increased tuition and fees. This document provides a more detailed explanation of course tuition and fees for both in-state and out-of-state students.


Courses in Structural Geology, Stratigraphy/Sedimentology and Mineralogy. Cumulative grade point average for all geology courses must be at least 3.00/4.00.

Credit hours


Summer 2018 Dates

May 21 to June 23 (anticipated daily schedule)


The application process begins with the e-mail submission of an unofficial transcript and list of your spring 2018 courses to Mark P. Fischer at Once your GPA and prerequisite course work is verified, and if room remains in the course, Dr. Fischer will send you the necessary application materials. Our desire to maintain excellent faculty/student ratios means we have a limited number of spots for external students. These spots fill up quickly, so students are encouraged to send their transcripts no later than the end of January, 2018. Note that submission of an unofficial transcript does not guarantee you a spot in the course. This means you should plan accordingly, and have an alternative course in mind, should you not be admitted to ours.


Students and faculty will be housed at Sheridan College, Sheridan, Wyoming and Black Hills State University in Spearfish, South Dakota.

At the beginning of the course, students may travel with the group by van from DeKalb, Illinois, or arrange for separate travel to Sheridan, Wyoming. At the conclusion of the course, students may travel by group to DeKalb, Illinois, or depart and travel privately to the destination of their choice. Students share rooms in dormitories, cabins or motels throughout the course. While on college or university property, students have ready access to campus recreational, computer, and internet facilities. With the exception of Sundays and two or three extended travel days at the beginning and end of the course, all meals are included in the cost of the course

Undergraduate Advising

Geology Emphasis
Jim Walker

Environmental Geosciences Emphasis
Justin Dodd

Earth Science Education Emphasis
Nicole LaDue