GOPH 549

GOPH 549 is a senior level field course (worth 1 HCE) that takes place off-campus for 10-12 days in August/September, two weeks prior to the start of the fall semester. It is followed by four weeks of tutorials, which run twice a week in the evenings, giving students time to process and interpret the data that was collected in the field. There is usually only one section offered each year. The course is lead by two or three professors, as well as several technicians and graduate teaching assistants. There are usually enough spots for 35-45 undergraduate students (split into two groups). Additional faculty and staff may join your class on occasion. You will be working in groups of three to four 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 activities may be changed due to circumstances beyond the instructor’s control; dates will not change. Participants must be prepared and equipped for rugged field conditions and varying weather.

The geophysics field school provides students with opportunities to design, plan and execute a variety of geophysical and geological surveys, including seismic, gravity, magnetic, electromagnetic, resistivity, induced polarization and topographic surveys. You will work together to deploy geophysical equipment, collect the resulting data, and process it, then prepare the resulting interpretations for presentation. Teamwork and communication skills are key learning goals of this field school. Students are also asked to consider the big picture, contextual implications related to the geometry and origin of rock units, geological history of an area, as well as exploration and exploitation of natural resources.

Click here to see the proposed schedule for GOPH 549 in the upcoming/current academic year.

GOPH 549 is a required course for majors in the geophysics program. Majors in other programs may be allowed to take GOPH 549 only on a case-by-case basis as space permits.


  • GOPH 355, 453 and 457
  • Admission to the major or honours program in geophysics
  • Consent of the department

GOPH 549 is normally taken prior to the start of fourth year.

GOPH 549 is considered a fall course. Students in the geophysics program are eligible to register in it through their Student Centre starting in June on their regular Fall/Winter registration date. All other students must wait until the restriction lifts on the open registration date.

Because field schools take place off-campus and provide students with real-world learning experiences, they are more expensive than standard courses (for both the department and students). It’s a good idea to start saving money for field school as early in your university career as possible

The student costs associated with taking GOPH 549 include:

  • Regular tuition and fees (approximately $600) associated with one half course (payable to the registrar)
  • A supplementary fee of about $600 to cover accommodation, food and transportation costs (payable to the registrar)
  • Other equipment and supplies (highly variable depending on personal needs)
  • Other field-related costs (i.e. admission to parks or local attractions)

Your instructor should provide you with a specialized list of equipment and supplies that you will need for GOPH 549 field school.

Every student enrolled in GOPH 549 must attend a pre-departure meeting (orientation and safety meeting), which is usually scheduled in the morning of the first day of field school. If you do not attend this meeting, you will not be allowed to attend the rest of the field school.

The pre-departure meeting is designed to deliver critical information. At this meeting, you will:

  • Meet your instructor and teaching assistant
  • 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
  • Discuss driving etiquette and learn about the university's driver authorization procedure (for those students that have volunteered to be back-up drivers)

Click here to see the orientation and safety meeting schedule for the upcoming/current academic year.

Your instructor should provide guidance on how best to prepare for GOPH 549 field school. Please check on D2L often.