Course code:



MA - Intermediate/Advanced

Class size limit:


Meets the following requirements:

  • ES - Environmental Science

This four-week summer field course will take place during the months of June-July (dates TBD). A maximum of 8 COA students will join peers from University of San Francisco and Mt San Antonio College for a combined cohort of around 24 students and four faculty to study and work in the eastern Sierra Nevada region of California. In this field methods-based course, topics will include hydrology, geomorphology, geology, ecology as well as the human dimension of each topic (education, policy, hazards, resources). This region of CA is a perfect natural laboratory for students to engage in classic field activities such as geologic and geomorphic mapping that are critical to helping students develop geospatial skills. The region hosts major active faults, striking variations in relief, a rich glacial history, a wide range of bedrock lithologies spanning multiple timescales, as well as resource availability (e.g. geothermal, salts) and scarcity (e.g. water), and susceptibility to different types of geohazards (e.g. rockfalls, volcanic, earthquakes, drought, fires). We will also take advantage of the opportunities in the region to experience applied geoscience through research opportunities and engagement with local stakeholders (YNP and SSCZO). Field exercises will be designed to capitalize on existing infrastructure at the Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Laboratory (SNARL), the Southern Sierra Critical Zone Observatory (SSCZO) and Yosemite National Park (YNP). Field exercises and exchanges with local stakeholders will provide opportunities to earn badges that represent mastery of skills and content knowledge relevant to potential environmental-STEM careers. Students will be assessed based on their performance on field exercises and a final field report. This course is linked to a follow-up Professional Development Seminar that students will take upon returning to COA in the fall term.


Two ES courses, one being an introductory geoscience course (Geology and Humanity, Geology of MDI, Natural Resources, Rocks and Minerals, Quantitative Geomorphology, Critical Zone I or II); Ecology would be very helpful; permission of instructor.  

Always visit the Registrar's Office for the official course catalog and schedules.