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Geology Field Course in Ireland


Clonbur, Doolin, Portstewart , Ireland, N. Ireland

Program Description

The Geology Field Course in Ireland is the James Madison University Department of Geology and Environmental Science capstone course for geoscience majors. After completing the field course, you will be qualified to work for an industry, government, or academic employer who needs you to travel to an isolated field area, assess the local bedrock and surficial geology, natural resources, natural hazards, environmental conditions, etc., write a project report, draft a publishable map, compile a database, and return home safely. The main objective is for you to become confident at scientific observation and interpretation of geological problems in the field. You will learn to recognize and interpret a wide variety of rocks, structures, geomorphic, and hydrologic features. Methods of mapmaking, data recording, and report preparation are emphasized. Projects from one to five days’ duration are conducted in regions where igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks, surficial deposits, and karst features are well-exposed.
Specific learning objectives include:
1. Develop competence in a variety of geologic field methods and techniques.
2. Demonstrate confidence with taking field measurements and collecting field data.
3. Develop habits of mind towards constructing geologic maps and supporting materials
    (cross-sections, stereonets, documentation) to high quality standards.
4. Develop and enhance the capacity to work independently "to do" geology with a
    professional skill set.

Location Description

The Ireland Field Course is held in two sites in western Ireland: 1. The Connemara region, and 2. the Burren region.


Steven J. Whitmeyer | | Geology and Environmental Science

Eric Pyle | | Geology and Environmental Science


Housing is provided in furnished apartments (4 students per room; bunk beds) in a house at an outdoor education center.

Meals provided for most of the course. Students will provide for their own meals approx. 1 day per week (their free day).

Additional Items to Consider

The JMU Geology Field Course in Ireland is physically rigorous, and will require strenuous hiking over fairly rough terrain 6 days per week.

Students need to be a Geology, Earth Science, or equivalent, major.

Applicant Criteria

Applicants must have a GPA minimum of 2.0

Must have completed: Physical Geology, Historical geology, Mineralogy

Geology, Earth Science, or equivalent, major. 

Junior or Senior standing

Application Process

This list serves as an application preview. To apply, students will need to complete the following:

  • Study Abroad Online Application ($25 fee)
  • Short Essay 
  • Faculty Letter of Recommendation
  • Official transcript required for non-JMU students

Further details and instructions about these application requirements will be available upon log-in. 

apply now

Application Deadline


All dates are tentative and subject to change


GEOL 399: Field Geology (6 credits)

Courses listed here are to be used as a general guideline for program curriculum. *All courses are considered pending until approved by the Academic Department, Program, and/or College.


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