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Geology of New Zealand

To follow the Frontiers Abroad Geology 2014 Field Camp, please see the Geology Field Camp Blog.

For 2009-2014 Geology Research Projects, please see Geology Research Projects.

Now accepting applications on rolling basis (reviewed as submitted). Spaces limied and all FA Programmes are expected to be filled for 2015. Apply as early as possible.


Geology of New Zealand: January – June, 2014

The Geology of New Zealand Programme (Geology) begins with a five-week field camp, a series of mapping exercises and interlinked modules, that explores the stratigraphy, mountain building, and tectonics of the South Island and the volcanology and geothermal geology of the North Island. Following field-camp students transition to a campus semester at the University of Canterbury located in Christchurch on New Zealand’s South Island. While at the University of Canterbury students enroll in four courses, one of which is a research methods course based upon data collected in field camp.

Field Camp: mid January to end February, 2015

  For 5 weeks, students will travel throughout the North and South Islands, deciphering the geologic evolution of New Zealand from a series of dedicated and linked field modules. This is a field camp experience and our goal is to provide students with a skill base of field focused techniques that will enable them to understand the fundamental causes and timescales of geologic processes. Field work is complemented by map preparation and exercises in the evenings, as well as lectures that highlight a wide variety of our staff’s field and laboratory-based studies.

*** in 2014, due to increased enrollment we added a second research stream (tectonics). Each stream participated in two joint modules and three separate modules. For 2015, we will research streams for:

  1. volcanology
  2. tectonics and structure
  3. glaciology

***If applying please indicate your choice. Space is limited in all streams and you may not get your first choice.

2014 field modules were:

  • Field Module 1: Introduction to Geologic Field Mapping- Quaternary geology, glacial deposits and active tectonics
  • Field Module 2: Detailed stratigraphic and structural mapping in an uplifted and deformed succession of Oligocene marine strata (Castle Hills basin)
  • Field Module 3: Gondwanaland to New Zealand: reconstructing the geologic architecture of the South Island (Volcanology Stream)
  • Field Module 3: The Alpine Fault: Active tectonics and hazards along a plate boundary (Tectonics Stream)
  • Field Module 4: Volcanoes: Eruption Styles, Volcano Monitoring and Hazards (Volcanology Stream)
  • Field Module 4: Hope Fault, Coastal Uplift, Geomorphic and advanced Structural Mapping (Tectonics Stream)
  • Field Module 5: Independent Research: Geology of Okains Bay, Banks Peninsula (Volcanology Stream)
  • Field Module 5: Independent Research: Canterbury active faulting and liquefaction research (Tectonics Stream)

Campus Semester: end February – end June, 2015

The field camp experience will transition into a semester at the University of Canterbury. Students will enroll in 4 semester courses (2 Geology courses including a required research methods course, and 2 course of your choosing from the University of Canterbury course catalogue). The research methods course allows the students to conduct a research project based upon data collected during field camp. In addition, students will learn to compile and prepare a professional map and geologic history based on field module 1. See full description of Research Methods Course


Download our Geology Brochure

Programme Director: Dr. Darren Gravley, Faculty – Department of Geological Sciences, University of Canterbury

Darren is a volcanologist in the Departement of Geological Sciences at the University of Canterbury. Darren blends his globally-recognised volcano research with undergraduate and graduate education projects in earth systems science. He studies the largest volcanoes known to man, “supervolcanoes”, and his research spans the globe from Japan to the United States to South America and New Zealand. With a New Zealand mother and an American father, Darren has taken advantage of a unique opportunity to blend his Pomona College undergraduate education with his love of the New Zealand outdoors and a concern for its environment.

Programme Details:

Credits/Units: Five course credits transcripted by the Lafayette College.

  1. Geology Field Camp - Geology 365 
  2. Geologic Field Research Methods – Geology 356 at the University of Canterbury. ***Please note if taking Glaciology Stream: Glaciology is offered in both the Geology and Geography departments at the University of Canterbury. For the glaciology stream students enroll in (GEOG 350). This course will be translated to Geologic Field Research Methods by Lafayette College
  3. One courses within the Department of Geological Sciences. Glaciology students have the option of taking the graduate level Glacial Geology and Geomorphology.
  4. Two courses of your choosing

Tuition 2014: $19,500 USD   ***2015 to be determined

  1. Tuition includes all 5-week field camp costs
  2. Semester tuition
  3. Travel and health insurance
  4. Academic advising
  5. Lafayette Transcript
  6. Pre-Departure Services
    1. Application and Visa Support Services
    2. Housing Support
    3. Course Selection

Housing Option 1-  Single Room at Ilam Apartments: $4,750 USD and Refundable Deposit $300

Ilam Apartments is a self-catered, fully-furnished apartment-style complex that offers independent living in a supportive environment to students of all ages, at all levels of their academic career, and from all over the world. Meals are self catered (you provide your own food) and not part of housing fee.

There are three apartment types (Manuka, Kowhai or Hinau) offering students a choice of applying for a place in a two, three, four, five or six-bedroom apartment. Each apartment comes with an equipped kitchen, bathroom, a lounge/dining room, laundry facilities and telephone. All bedrooms are furnished with a bed, study desk, wardrobe, bookshelves, and have a data outlet for prepaid internet.

Residents at Ilam choose their own rooms through an online allocation system. This allows friends to flat together, or alternatively, gives residents the opportunity to meet new people. There is a diverse range of people who live at Ilam providing students with an opportunity to develop lifelong friendships. Throughout the year a number of events are held to assist with academic success, personal development and having a great University experience. These events bring residents together to create a community atmosphere.

Housing Option 2- Single Room at FA House: $4,000 USD (single – 2  available), $3750 USD (Small Single)  $3,500 USD (double – 2 available – 4 people)

Frontiers Abroad has a five bedroom two bath house, a 20 minute walk to campus/10 minute bike ride, available for students who want a more residential experience. Fully furnished with a large yard and plenty of area for gardens. The FA House is often used for FA functions, events and BBQ’s. Internet and electricity provided in housing fee.

Other Program Costs:

  1. Return Airfare -  $1,500 NZD – $2,000 NZD (approximated)
  2. Board – self-catered approximately $250 NZD per week (catered meals available through the University)
  3. Books – approzimatley $400 NZD
  4. Internet – Dependent upon usage (provided at FA House for residents)
  5. University of Canterbury Gym Fee (optional)

Applications Close 15th October 2014

Geologic Semester Courses and Course Descriptions
Follow this link for a full complete list of geologic courses offered at the University of Canterbury. Please note: Most FA students take 200 and 300 level courses. Prerequisites may apply. You are enrolling for Semester 1 (NZ system)

Complete list of geology courses

Complete list of all University of Canterbury courses

The GEOLOGY programme has been one of the best experiences of my life. Not only did I get to travel to New Zealand, an amazing experience in itself, but I was able to study geological field skills in some of its most spectacular settings, all while in the company of good friends and great instructors. I’ve found myself at the tops of volcanoes and mountains, I’ve rafted over and swam beneath waterfalls, and I’ve hiked and camped over glaciers, in forests, and on top of mountains. New Zealand is an awesome place to spend a semester, and Frontiers Abroad is the best way for a geology student to experience it.” – Bryan McAtee, 2009 Lafayette College and Frontiers Abroad student