Geology field camp in Scotland

June 5th to July 9th 2024

The School of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of St Andrews runs a 5-week field geology programme committed to delivering in-depth training capitalising on a rich geological heritage and unparalleled opportunity to experience geology in the field.

Scotland is the birthplace of geology and an outstanding natural laboratory in which to study Earth science and learn techniques of geological field work. For its size, the geological diversity in Scotland is greater than almost anywhere else on Earth and within hours from St Andrews you can examine Archaean continental crust, igneous rocks that record the birth of the Atlantic Ocean, sedimentary rocks that represent the erosion of ancient mountains and metamorphic rocks that archive the processes of orogeny.

Why map in Scotland and at the University of St Andrews?

In this course you will visit and study the famous sites that led to the discovery of geological time, underpinned concepts of modern structural geology and led to understanding the rock-record of geodynamics. The School of Earth and Environmental Science is recognised internationally for its excellence in geological field training and research, with all staff committed to ensuring your education is world-class. Upon completion, you will have mapped outstanding geology, gained self-confidence in your ability to make key observations and honed your critical thinking, all within a context of meeting new friends, experiencing new cultures and a learning environment created by friendly staff.

What to expect

Geology Field Camp in Scotland is challenging and highly rewarding. Conducted over 4-weeks of residential fieldwork, it focusses on geological mapping that integrates igneous, metamorphic, structural and stratigraphic concepts and methods.

You will work on Carboniferous sedimentary rocks exposed along the coast of Fife, study the classic localities of Buchan and Barrovian metamorphism in Angus, Aberdeenshire and along the Moray Firth, map the iconic Moine Thrust system and foreland rocks of the Scottish Highlands that span Archaean to Ordovician in age, and study the igneous and metamorphic rocks of the islands of Mull and Iona. Upon completion, you will have become a confident field geologist capable of conducting independent field work in complex geological terranes.

Field training is led by School staff with decades of experience in fieldwork worldwide. The course builds upon a series of short introductory lectures with class size typically 20-30, and a staff:student ratio of c. 1:10.

Accommodation is in student halls of residence when in St Andrews and in Youth Hotels whilst in the field; all have internet, showers and cooking facilities, and most have clothes washers. You do your own cooking as groups

The £6,000 course fee includes:

  • all accommodation and food for the duration of the course
  • all transport costs during the course, including to and from airports (this does not include travel costs between your home country and Scotland)
  • materials required for mapping projects
  • admittance to sites of interest and scheduled extracurricular activities

There is a non-refundable deposit of £400 payable within 2 weeks of acceptance onto the course.

group of students sitting in rocks

What We Offer

  • A 5-week residential course (6 US credits) open to undergraduate students globally
  • Exceptional geology and field training from world-class staff
  • First-come, first-serve places (subject to applicants meeting the entry criteria)

Pre-Requisites (US students)

  • 3.0 GPA
  • 24 USA credits in geoscience

To apply

  • Applications for Geology Field Camp in Scotland 2024 are now closed. Applications for 2025 will open in September 2024.
  • If you are interested in attending our 2024 field camp but have missed the deadline, please reach out via email as places may become available. 

Contact Details 

Further Information

Geology Field Camp in Scotland - Welcome Pack (PDF) (2023) 

Essential Information (PDF)