Field Trips

Purpose of our Field Trips



Our department synergizes classroom teaching with research, field trips, lecture series and hands-on experiences that expose students to the realities and professionals in their field. Our thematic field trips focus on both civil and environmental engineering and earth sciences and offer our students a first-hand look into their fields of study.


All students in the department participate in the Fall Junior Class Field Trip. This trip focuses on infrastructure, natural hazards, environment, water, and their interaction with the larger earth system. The trips have been to New Orleans and New York City. The New Orleans trip has focused on riverine and deltaic systems, wetlands, the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina (2005), flood protection systems and components including navigation gates and pumphouses, and transportation systems. The New York trip has focused on water supply, transportation systems, large structures, arenas, and systems that are resilient to terrorist attacks. The students extensively interact with design and project engineers and also have an opportunity to explore internships with the organizations that we visit.  


The Earth Sciences students participate in week-long field trips to Northern Michigan and the Southwestern United States. The students see many geological features that synergize these field experiences with their coursework and learn how observations and interpretations of geological features can translate into models of geologic processes. The objective of the geology field trips is to expose the students to a wide range of sedimentary, metamorphic, and igneous rocks and features. Students learn how to infer past geologic environments and processes from the chemistry and structure of the rocks that they see, and the trips provide them with a deeper understanding of early Earth tectonics, geochemistry and the geologic history of North  America in general.