Off-Campus Studies can help Geology students…

  • Develop a global perspective
  • Synthesize geology concepts and mapping skills in the field
  • Experience regions with very different geologic features (get away from basalt!) and hone geological observational skills in a different landscape
  • Interact with faculty with different expertise areas in geology

How does a semester or year of OCS help students in Geology prepare for graduate school or various career opportunities? 

  • Studying with a greater variety of geologists and in a different geological setting helps prepare students for careers in the geo sciences and graduate school.
  • Builds professional contacts for post-graduate opportunities such as Fulbright and Peace Corps
  • Prepares students for their senior research project
  • Provides an opportunity to take specialized courses not offered at Whitman

As a general rule of thumb, the Geology Department recommends the following for students who wish to study off campus. 

  • Students who wish to major in geology and participate in OCS should meet with a geology adviser no later than the second year and create a four-year course plan.
  • For Geology majors spring semester off-campus study is recommended because several of the required geology courses are taught in the fall semester at Whitman.
  • Ideally students should take the following gateway courses no later than the second year:
    • GEOL 110 and 111 The Physical Earth or GEOL 120 and 121 Geologic History of the Pacific Northwest or GEOL 125 and 126 Environmental Geology
    • CHEM 125 and 126 General Chemistry and CHEM 135 General Chemistry Lab 1, or CHEM 140 Advanced General Chemistry 1
    • GEOL 227 Sedimentology and Stratigraphy
    • GEOL 270 Minerals, Society, and Environment
  • In the third year, prior to studying abroad, students should take at least one of the following courses: GEOL 350 Geomorphology or GEOL 420 Structural Geology. Of these, GEOL 420 is particularly useful for students intending to take GEOL 480 Field Mapping abroad.  Ask your adviser about Whitman classes that might be particularly useful at the institution you plan to attend.

Which requirements can Geology majors fulfill while off campus?

  • The GEOL 480 Field Mapping course required for the major
  • Specific required courses in the major with department consent
  • Elective major credit
  • General Studies distribution credit
  • General degree credit

Major Credit Limitations

  • The maximum number of credits that can be applied to the Geology major from off campus studies (including AP credit, IB credit and credits from other U.S. institutions) is 12 credits with the approval of your major adviser.

Minor Credit Limitations

  • A minimum of three-fifths of the specific course and credit requirements for the minor must be completed in the on-campus program of the college.

What are the types of OCS programs recommended by the Geology department?

  • Direct enrollment in a foreign university with host-country students
  • Programs that offer high-quality geology field study experiences in a new landscape
  • Programs that offer cultural and linguistic immersion in another country (when the student is on-track for completing the geology major)

Which Partner Programs are recommended by the Geology department?

  • Courses providing GEOL 480 Field Mapping include:
    • Frontiers Abroad:  Geology of New Zealand (Christchurch, New Zealand)
    • University of Otago (Dunedin, New Zealand)
    • University of St Andrews (St Andrews, Scotland)
  • Other partner programs do not offer GEOL 480, but may be beneficial for students desiring an off-campus experience who are on track to complete their Geology major on-time.
  • Some students have met their GEOL 480 requirement during the summer studying on an approved program. Please see the Geology Department website for more information.

Students interested in Off-Campus Studies should attend an OCS First Step meeting in the fall of their second year, discuss their interests with their major adviser, and schedule an appointment with an OCS adviser.