Field trips are a critical part of learning in the environmental sciences.

Specific trips are offered on a staggered basis. Please contact the instructors listed with each course below to see when the next likely offering will be. Field trips offer a one-of-a-kind opportunity to apply coursework to real life experiences; these trips are not designed to be vacations, but immersive, hands-on experiences that will complement and expand upon classroom lessons. Of course, you’ll probably have a little fun, too.

Ecology & Landscapes Field Trip

The Ecology & Landscapes Field Trip highlights the areas of Ecology and Geomorphology with a trip to the American West. Students will travel by train and then spend two weeks in Oregon, with learning experiences spotlighting the Pacific Ocean and Cascade Mountains.

This trip can be taken as BIOL 4710 Selected Regional Habitats or GEOG 4760 Geography Field Excursion. Instructors Kristopher Wright and J. Elmo Rawling will be leading the excursion.

Japan Field Trip

The Summer Field Seminar is built around the examination of the physical and cultural geography of Japan.  The trip is designed to cover various regions of Japan, examining physical and cultural differences and likenesses among outer regions and such well-known areas as Tokyo and Osaka.  Approximately three to four weeks of the trip will be held on the campus of IEC Kyushu Kokusai College in Yatsushiro, Kumamoto (near Nagasaki), Kyushu, and three weeks will be spent using the rail system to travel between Hokkaido and Kyushu.  The field seminar provides a unique opportunity for students to conduct field studies and research on a variety of critical issues facing Japan's environment, culture and economy.  Students participating in the Summer Field Seminar Program will register in either a one to three-hour course if they only participate in the rail tour portion of the trip, or a six-hour course if they continue on to Yatsushiro.

Students will answer a set of essay questions pertaining to observations made along the way during the rail tour from Hokkaido to Kyushu for the first part of the course.

In Yatsushiro, under faculty guidance, each student will carry out a field-based research project from a variety of topics such as urban development, agricultural problems, migration, high-tech industries, environmental problems, and natural hazards, culminating in a final written report for another three hours of credit. Students in the past have selected topics from fields such as urban development, land-use policy, migration, high-tech industries, environmental problems, westernization, impacts of automobiles, linguistic differences, rural depopulation, and natural hazards.  A topic developed prior to the trip allows for more efficient use of time as well as giving an advantage on grant applications. Students will have the rest of the summer to complete the requirements for the courses.

Prior Japanese language study is not necessary.

This course may be used to fulfill the general education requirement in international education. If taken for less than three credits, other credits from other courses must be used to obtain the three-credit total.

Sweden Field Trip 

This 20-day field excursion is designed to help students understand the processes that have created the patterns we see in our environment and how these processes vary around the world. Participants will interact with students, faculty, and researches from around the world while exploring the rolling farmland of Stockholm, Sweden up to the treeless tundra of Abisko, Sweden. Participants will collaborate on a research project with faculty and students from Mid Sweden University in the spectacular Skuleskogen National Park, Sweden and present their research to global change researchers from around the world at Abisko Field Station, more than 200 km north of the Arctic Circle.

This course is three credits and satisfies the Social Sciences and International Education General Education requirements. Can be taken for graduate credit.

Students interested in geography, ecology, biology, or resource management will be given preference, but is open to all majors.

Accommodations will include hostels and camping; a love and appreciation of the outdoors is highly recommended.

Prerequisites: GEOG 1040: Planet Earth or an upper level physical geography course AND a minimum of 2.5 GPA AND a clean disciplinary record. Must include a letter of recommendation from Academic Advisor.


The cost of the program is approximately $4,200-4,500 + $35.00 application fee. Price includes three credits of tuition, airfare, transportation in-country, lodging, meals while camping, entrance and tour fees, and medical and accident insurance.

Price does not include passport, some meals, and personal expenses. Out of pocket estimate is $500-$1500.

Western Field Trip  

Geography at UW-Platteville offers Geog 3750 - Field Geography of the Western US, which is a three-week trip to the western part of the United States, run either in early (southern routes) or late (northern routes) summer.