GLGY 435

GLGY 435 is a senior level field methods course (worth 1 HCE) that takes place off-campus for 12-14 days in August/September prior to the start of the fall semester or in April/May after the final exam period. There are usually several sections to choose from; each one has one professor, one graduate teaching assistant and spots for 16 undergraduate students. Additional faculty and staff may join your class on occasion. You will be working in groups of two to three students depending on the exercise of the day and for safety purposes. The department provides transportation for all field school participants - you are not allowed to use personal transportation.

It is very important that you are on time each day, and that you are rested and prepared for a full day of fieldwork. If you sleep in, you will be left behind. You must bring food each day, as most localities are not near convenience stores or restaurants. It is recommended that you bring extra munchies in case the day’s activities run late. Bring appropriate clothing and lots to drink. Field localities and activities may change due to circumstances beyond the instructor’s control; dates will not change. All field activities and most assignments are usually completed within the published field school dates.

The learning objectives for GLGY 435 include, but are not necessarily limited to:

  • Develop more expertise in recognizing, describing and interpreting sedimentary rocks in the field
  • Gain familiarity with a variety of lithologies in the field and the corresponding evolution of depositional and tectonic settings within a given sedimentary basin
  • Carry out a mapping project in a complex geological terrain to gain familiarity with the effect of folding, faulting and fracturing on rock bodies
  • Apply time management to complete a complex project within a finite, limited time
  • Apply dynamic, in situ collaboration with peers required to solve geological problems in the field
  • Synthesize field observations, interpretations, and geological illustrations in a concise written report

Each section of GLGY 435 has a separate itinerary, as they potentially go to different locations and do different exercises.

Click here to see the list of sections planned for GLGY 435 in the upcoming/current academic year. For international sections of GLGY 435 listed, you can click on the lab section to go to the group studies program web page for more detailed information. Some sections of GLGY 435 may involve camping. If you’re not sure, ask the instructor.

If you have already registered in GLGY 435 and are unsure of your section, check D2L or contact the undergraduate advisor in the Department of Geoscience.

Starting with students entering the geology program in fall 2018, GLGY 435 is one of the two choices for an upper-level field school required in that program (the other choice is GLGY 441).


  • GLGY 337
  • GLGY 381
  • One of GLGY 311 or 333
  • One of GLGY 341 or 343
  • Admission to the geology or applied and environmental geology programs
  • Consent of the department


  • Credit for both GLGY 435 and either GLGY 437 or 439 will not be allowed

If GLGY 435 takes place in August it may be considered a summer course or a fall course (if it overlaps into block week); when it is offered in May, it may be considered a winter or spring course. Typically, registration in this field course is not carried out online - instead registration proceeds via an email with undergraduate coordinator, Rofina Groebmair ( If you are not enrolled in a program that requires this course, or the course appears to be closed or restricted, contact Rudi Meyer at for assistance.

All sections of GLGY 435 going to the USA are administered by the Group Studies Program for Study Abroad (GSP). Sections travelling within Canada are handled by the Department of Geoscience directly. 

Once you are registered in GLGY 435 and the department has approved your registration, Canadian sections will be provided with instructions on D2L. For sections travelling abroad, you will be contacted by GSP to register on the international travel site.

Expect the communication from the GSP office via email some time in May/June for summer/fall field schools and some time in late January/early February for winter field schools. Required tasks must be completed by the deadline that GSP staff will communicate to you. If you do not complete theses tasks on time, you with be automatically withdrawn from the course. If this happens, you may either place yourself back on the PeopleSoft wait list or sign up for a later section of field school.

Costs for students travelling within Canada:

  • Regular tuition and fees (approximately $600) associated with one half course (payable to the registrar)
  • Supplementary fees payable to the registrar vary and are intended to cover hotel or camping accommodations, transportation cost and a contingency fee. Please see our course listings for details.
  • Food costs are also variable and may be group meals or individual. Meals may at times be covered by the supplementary fee mentioned above; if not, plan $20-40 per day paid on-site.
  • Textbook (variable depending on instructor’s preference)
  • Other equipment and supplies (highly variable depending your section and personal needs)
  • Other field-related costs (including admission to parks and local attractions)

Expect to pay the fees associated with GLGY 435 such as tuition and related supplemental fees by the deadline advertised for the semester in which the field course takes place

Costs for students travelling to the USA:

  • Regular tuition and fees (approximately $600) associated with one half course (payable to the registrar)
  • An administration fee of $100 by GSP
  • A contingency fee of approximately $100 (in case of emergencies)
  • Hotel or camping accommodations (variable, dependent on which section you’re in; payable to Group Studies)
  • Food costs are also variable and may be group meals or individual. Meals may at times be included in the fee to Group Studies; if not, plan for about $20-40 per day paid on-site.
  • Textbook (variable depending on instructor’s preference)
  • Other equipment and supplies (highly variable depending on which section you’re in and personal needs)
  • Other field-related costs (i.e. admission to parks and local attractions)
  • Additional medical insurance is strongly recommended for field activities in Alberta and required for those leaving Canada (i.e. Alberta Blue Cross Outside Canada Emergency Health Plan)
  • Passport application or renewal fees (for sections travelling outside of Canada). If you need to renew a passport, which can take several weeks to obtain. If you already have one, make sure it hasn’t expired (or isn’t about to). If you are a visiting or exchange student, ensure that your VISA allows you to travel to the field school destination and that your landed immigrant and student visa status is valid. You must have a proper re-entry paperwork with you on the day of departure or you will not be allowed to travel with the group.

Fees payable to GSP come in stages:

  • All or most of the GSP programs fees (which include the transportation, contingency, accommodation and/or group meal fees) will be paid to GSP within a few weeks of registration.
  • Equipment, supplies, insurance, passport fees at your leisure in the few months prior to field school
  • Tuition and related fees by the deadline advertised for the semester in which the field course takes place
  • GSP has payment plans available – contact them for more information (

The Group Studies Program office may be in touch with you via email quite regularly prior to the start of field school. These communications may contain updated information, fee payment deadlines, fee payment options, passport or travel advisories, and other critical tidbits of information. Do not ignore these messages and ensure that you deal with them in an appropriate and timely manner.

Your instructor should provide you with a specialized list of equipment and supplies that you will need for your section of GLGY 435 field school. You should also refer to the generalized list provided for our junior geology field school (GLGY 337).

Every student enrolled in GLGY 435 must attend a pre-departure meeting (orientation and safety meeting), which is usually scheduled within the two weeks prior to the start of field school. If you do not attend this meeting, you will not be allowed to attend the rest of the field school.

There will be a mandatory safety briefing on the first day of field school. Click here to see the orientation and safety meeting schedule for the upcoming/current academic year.

The orientation and safety meeting is designed to deliver critical information to you to ensure that you are well prepared for field school. At this meeting, you will:

  • Meet your instructor and teaching assistant
  • If you are travelling to the USA, you'll meet the Group Studies Program for Study Abroad (GSP) staff assisting with your section of field school and learn more about the GSP and the services they provide
  • Learn about general safety issues and the hazards in each field locality
  • Review the emergency response plan
  • Sign an informed consent form and provide your emergency contact information
  • Learn about the general course structure and activities planned

After the orientation and safety meeting, each section of field school then splits off into separate rooms to continue the orientation with each specific instructor and teaching assistant. At this time, you will review the itinerary for your section of field school and receive any additional instructions. If you are asked to act as a back-up driver, there will be further instructions on driving etiquette and the UCalgary driver authorization procedure.

Your instructor should provide you with guidance on what you need to do to ensure you are well prepared for field school. Check on D2L often.