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Take your chance!

If you are an undergraduate student, interested in and excited about geoscience, enjoy getting out into the field, and want to undertake international travel and cross-cultural experience as part of your degree, check out the two new Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree opportunities available through the UM Department of Geoscience.  Both degree opportunities are offered in collaboration with European institutions and both require UM students to spend one year of study abroad.

Opportunity #1:

Dual B.S. degree in International Field Geoscience, offered by UM and the University of Potsdam in Potsdam, Germany.

Opportunity #2:

Joint B.S. degree in International Field Geosciences, offered by UM and University College Cork in Cork, Ireland.

Both variations of the International Field Geoscience (IFG) degree provide students with a strong foundation in geosciences and allied sciences, while integrating a component of language training and cultural competency into the curriculum.  The required curriculum involves substantial field-based learning both in North America and Europe.  Degree-seeking students have opportunities to engage in a wide variety of field-based classes across the geosciences and on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.

 

How it works

Dual B.S. degree in International Field Geosciences, offered in collaboration with the University of Potsdam in Germany.

Students who participate in this program and complete all degree requirements will receive two separate B.S. degrees in International Field Geoscience.  One degree will be awarded through The University of Montana, and one degree will be awarded through the University of Potsdam.  UM students seeking this degree should try to mobilize in their third or junior year if possible and must have completed at least one year of college-level German, along with a series of core geoscience and science courses, before the year abroad.  While overseas, students will continue their geoscience and German language training, and are required to complete at least one formal field geoscience course through Potsdam as well as one field geoscience course through University College Cork.

Joint B.S. degree in International Field Geosciences, offered in collaboration with University College Cork in Ireland.

Students who participate in this program and complete all degree requirements will receive one B.S. degree in International Field Geosciences.  The degree will be jointly administered and awarded by The University of Montana and University College Cork, part of the National University of Ireland.  UM students seeking this degree should try to mobilize in their junior year if possible and must have completed at least one year of college-level German, along with a series of core geoscience and science courses, before the year abroad.  While overseas, students will continue their geoscience and language training and are required to complete at least one formal field geoscience course through University College Cork as well as one field geoscience course through the University of Potsdam.

 

Why ‘International Field Geosciences’?

The rationale behind the establishment of these new degree programs is rooted in the fact that most natural phenomena that geoscientists study either are quite literally global in scope or involve analyses and results that can be applied at more than one locality around the Earth.  Relevant topics include geologic processes associated with evolution of the continents, ocean basins, atmosphere and biosphere; surficial processes that shape landscapes; the search for economic geologic deposits; the analysis of global and local climate change; and the study of pollutants and their interaction with the environment.  For geoscience students seeking to optimize skill sets required for study of these subjects, field-based learning is an extremely powerful tool. Substantial time in the field places students into direct contact with their study subject (Earth), while providing a very efficient and effective means to cultivate marketable geoscience skills.

Because of this close connection to the Earth as a planet, professional geoscientists are likely to be more successful if their formal education provides a venue for understanding the subtleties of other cultures and peoples from different backgrounds. With exposure to cultural differences and a broader understanding of global socio-political issues, geoscience students are better able to contribute to decisions involving the environment and its evolution at governmental, industry, and scientific levels. Those students whose formal undergraduate curriculum involves a significant international component and emphasis on field-based study, combined with rigorous training in mathematics, physics, chemistry and computational skills, are likely to be more successful in terms of academic performance, scientific development, and societal leadership. They are also likely to be better equipped to operate well at a professional level in the increasingly globalizing socio-economic and scientific frameworks of the modern world.

The new Trans-Atlantic Bachelor of Science degree program in International Field Geosciences utilizes the superb natural field geoscience laboratories available in the western United States and in Europe as the basis for an undergraduate degree that focuses on the documentation, interpretation, and synthesis of critical geoscience issues in a field-based setting.  This approach is particularly well-suited to the three partner institutions, because each has a strong tradition of field-based learning in the Geosciences and because each has ready access to a wide variety of excellent natural laboratories that provide diverse and effective opportunities for field-based study at all levels of the undergraduate curriculum.

UM’s campus is surrounded by outstanding field-based learning opportunities that long have been at the core of the university’s Geoscience (formerly Geology) program. These include analysis of active mountain-building processes, investigations of surface water-groundwater interactions, analysis of economically important local petroleum and mineral deposits, and studies of a variety of environmental issues such as mining waste clean-up and river restoration.  In addition, the recent establishment of a partnership between the UM Geoscience Department’s Center for Paleontology and the Fort Peck Paleontological Field station provides exciting new field-based learning opportunities in the fossil-rich rocks of eastern Montana. 

The Geosciences program at the University of Potsdam utilizes classic, well-exposed, accessible geological field sites within Europe and Africa, including formerly glaciated regions of northern Europe and Scandinavia, active mountain-building regions in the European Alps and Pyrenees Mountains, as well as in East Africa, and economic deposits and environmental issues associated with the Black Forest and Rheingraben.  

The Geology Department at University College Cork prides itself on the strength of its field geology offerings and has a dedicated field course for each program year. These field courses take place in Ireland, Scotland, Crete, and the Canary Islands and involve field residence stays from 8-12 field days.

 

Degree requirements for UM students:

UM students seeking either the dual degree in International Field Geosciences with Potsdam or the joint degree in International Field Geosciences with Cork both take the same core geoscience and allied science classes prior to the year overseas.  These include a year of college-level chemistry, calculus, and German language training, as well as core geoscience courses that include Introductory Geology, Climate Change, Field Methods and Interpretation, Earth History and Evolution, and Mineralogy/Petrology.  In addition, an introductory computer programming class is recommended as are other upper-level courses in geoscience. 

 

Deadlines and how to apply:

Anyone interested in seeking one of the International Field Geoscience degrees through The University of Montana should contact Professor Marc Hendrix, the project coordinator on the UM side.  His email is: marc.hendrix@umontana.edu and his phone number is (406) 243-5278.  Dr. Hendrix will serve as academic advisor for all UM students seeking the International Field Geoscience degree.  Because it is necessary to complete a series of classes at UM prior to the year abroad, students are encouraged to contact Dr. Hendrix as soon as possible.

UM students who are interested in the program and who already are working on their degree requirements will need to apply to UM International Programs to be an exchange student prior to the year overseas.  This is a competitive process and students are encouraged to talk first with Dr. Hendrix before moving forward with the application to be an exchange student. 

Who knows what?

The project coordinator for The University of Montana is Professor Marc Hendrix.  Dr. Hendrix can answer most questions related to the nuts and bolts of the program and will serve as academic advisor for all outgoing UM students seeking either of the two UM degrees (dual or joint).  He also serves as the academic advisor for all incoming students from the University of Potsdam and University College Cork while they are in Missoula.

The person handling issues surrounding the student exchange process is Marja Unkuri-Chaudhry, the Assistant Director for Student Exchange at The University of Montana.  Questions regarding the arrangements for class registration overseas, housing, and other logistics should be directed to her.  Ms. Unkuri-Chaudhry and her co-workers at UM International Programs hold regular informational sessions regarding faculty exchange, and the schedule for these informational sessions is posted on the International Programs web site. Note also that International Programs has a mandatory informational session for all outgoing exchange students (including UM students seeking one of the International Field Geoscience BS degrees) prior to departure. 

 

Geosciences Department - The University of Montana - 32 Campus Drive #1296 - Missoula, MT 59812-1296
Phone: (406) 243-2341 Fax: (406) 243-4028 Email: geology@mso.umt.edu
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