Off-Campus Studies Mission Statement

Off-Campus Studies at Whitman College aims to develop in our students intercultural skills and global understanding for a lifetime of leadership.  We endeavor to achieve this goal by:

  • Providing off-campus study opportunities worldwide that offer high-quality academic content, instruction and evaluation.
  • Expanding learning opportunities for students and integrating the learning off-campus into their academic program to the fullest extent possible.
  • Promoting programs that increase a student’s foreign language and intercultural fluency.
  • Offering programs that foster an ability to question assumptions and think critically in the context of other worldviews.
  • Ensuring that programs are well integrated into the host community and encourage immersion of the student into the host culture. 
  • Developing the means by which returning students can actively contribute to international awareness and programming on campus, as well as in the Walla Walla community.

Off-Campus Studies can help Geology students…

  • Develop a global perspective
  • Gain primary research skills from field studies
  • To investigate the geology of the world beyond basalt and hone geological observational skills in a different landscape
  • Interact with faculty with different expertise areas in geology

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

  • Direct enrollment in a foreign university with host-country students
  • Participate in an excellent geology field study program 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)

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

Which requirements can Geology majors fulfill while off campus?

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

Planning Tips

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.
  • Ideally students should take the following gateway courses no later than the second year:
  • GEOL 110 The Physical Earth or GEOL 120 Geologic History of the Pacific Northwest or GEOL 210 Environmental Geology
  • CHEM 125, CHEM 126 General Chemistry and CHEM 135 General Chemistry Lab 1, or CHEM 140 Advanced General Chemistry 1
  • GEOL 227 Sedimentology and Stratigraphy
  • 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.

Credit Limitations

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

Which Partner Programs are recommended by the Geology department?

  • Frontiers Abroad:  Geology of New Zealand (Christchurch, New Zealand)
  • University of Otago (Dunedin, New Zealand)
  • University of St Andrews (St Andrews, Scotland)

Advising Support

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.