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Geology Field Course in Ireland


Clonbur, Ireland

Program Description

This is a capstone field geology course intended for geoscience majors that are near the end of their undergraduate careers. Upon completion of this course, students should be qualified to function as professional geologists or environmental scientists in respect to field data collection, map preparation, and report preparation.

This intense lecture and practicum seminar serves as a capstone experience for geology majors, and combines study-abroad experience in western Ireland with a modern approach to field mapping, tectonic synthesis and professional report preparation. We train you to see the “big picture” using the spectacular geology and environment of western Ireland. Emphasis includes classical and digital mapping, glacial geomorphology and climate change, regional tectonics, and environmental earth science. Field locations feature unspoiled glaciated hills and valleys, Precambrian metamorphic rocks, Paleozoic metasediments, meta-volcanic rocks, igneous intrusions, Tertiary dikes, and Quaternary deposits. 

Location Description

The JMU Geology Field Course is based in the Irish village of Clonbur in County Galway, western Ireland, where most of the course is housed at a government-run outdoor education center. This is approximately an hour north of the medieval walled city of Galway, a cultural center for traditional Irish music and theatre. Later in the course we stay in Doolin for a week in the karst limestone of the Burren, one of Europe's unique natural environments, and then in Portstewart for a couple of days.

Participants will have time for leisure activities such as hiking, horseback riding, swimming, sailing, kayaking as well as enjoying cultural visits to Galway, Westport, Doolin, and the Aran Islands.


Steve Whitmeyer | | Geology and Environmental Science


Accommodations will be provided through hostels and residence halls/dormitories, with several lunches or dinners provided per week.

Additional Items to Consider

An equipment list will be provided to students upon acceptance into the program.

This program is only open to upper level geoscience / geology / earth science majors.

Applicant Criteria

Applicants must have a GPA minimum of 2.0

Prerequisite: GEOL 110, GEOL 230, GEOL 280, or equivalents

Juniors, Seniors

Application Process

For this program, students need to complete the online application (a $25 fee required), which includes:

  • Short essay
  • Recommendation
  • Official transcript required for first-semester transfer and non-JMU students.

Online Application Coming Soon

Application Deadline


All dates are tentative and subject to change


GEOL 399: Field Geology (6 credits)