Feature Image


Shenandoah Valley, Virginia Coastal Plain, Virginia Piedmont, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia, USA

Program Description

The Mid-Atlantic (USA) Geology Field Course 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 other features are well-exposed.


Steve Baedke | baedkesj@jmu.edu | Geology and Environmental Science

Eric Pyle | pyleej@jmu.edu | Geology and Environmental Science


When working locally (with JMU as the base camp) students will stay in their own accommodations. When traveling away from JMU, students will stay in shared double rooms.

Students will arrange their own meals while working locally (with JMU as the base camp), or meals will be provided (or stipend allocated) while we are traveling.

Additional Items to Consider

Students will complete a mapping project prior to departure.

Applicant Criteria

Applicants must have a GPA minimum of 2.0.

Open to juniors and seniors in Geology and Earth Science majors.

Pre-requisits: GEOL 300 and GEOL 387, or permission of the instructor.

Application Process

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

  • Study Abroad Online Application ($40 fee)
  • Short Essay
  • Attend Program Info Session
  • Official transcript required for non-JMU students

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

Application Deadline


All dates are tentative and subject to change


GEOL 399: Field Geology (4 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.


Back to Top