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Division of Natural Sciences & MathematicsEnvironmental Science Program


Environmental Science Program

Field & Travel Quarters

At DU, students take advantage of learning by doing. The majority of our environmental courses include a field component, where students and their professors travel to a variety of sites in the Colorado mountains as well as throughout the western U.S. to learn first hand about environmental issues and problems. Students who are in their junior or senior year are encouraged to participate in the Field Quarter, in which they register for a block of academic credit and spend the entire quarter in the field. During the winter break or over the summer, many students take advantage of travel courses to such exotic places as Iceland, Costa Rica, and Turkey.

The Field Quarter offers students an exceptional opportunity for learning about environmental issues and problems first hand. As part of the Field Quarter, students enroll for a block of academic credit, and spend the entire ten-week quarter off campus, visiting different locations throughout the western U.S. and Mexico. The program is funded by external funding agencies that cover the cost of transportation, food, and logistical support. Much of the time is spent traveling by van and camping. The program is open to students majoring in environmental science, geography, and students with sufficient course work in earth sciences and ecology.

The Field Quarter is an opportunity for students to spend ten weeks in the field learning research techniques and applying them to different environmental issues and problems. During the quarter, students study alpine ecology at the DU Mt. Evans Field Station. They learn field research techniques, including the use of sediment corers, how to collect tree-ring cores, and state of the art GPS technology, on the Colorado Western Slope. Students travel to some of the more spectacular national parks in the western U.S. such as Yellowstone, Glacier, Carlsbad Caverns and Badlands to learn about natural resource management and conservation. Finally, the group travels to Baja, California, to study desert ecosystems and coastal environments.