The New Zealand Earth Systems Programme at the University of Canterbury combines Environmental Sciences, ecology, and geosciences to provide students the tools to analyze current New Zealand environmental issues. During field camp we introduce basic geologic, ecological and environmental science field techniques. We explore how these techniques are currently used to solve New Zealand environmental challenges. In addition, students learn how both indigenous knowledge and western science are utilized to manage natural resources through field based education and scientific observation. Field camp takes students to both the North Island and South Island of New Zealand. Students will explore the Mt. Ruapehu, Waitomo Caves, Banks Peninsula, and the Southern Alps. Following field camp, students transition to University of Canterbury , where they enroll in four courses, one of which is a research methods course. Research projects range from environmental geochemistry projects to working with local Iwi (tribes) on habitat restoration projects. Research projects are team focused and can be built upon data collected at field camp or part of ongoing data sets collected by Canterbury scientists.
2024 Spring Semester Field Camp: January 21 – Feb 17th (Dates may change)
2024 Field Camp Modules (subject to change):
Field Module 1: Introduction to Field Observations and Field Mapping Techniques
Field module 1 introduces the various types of earth materials, processes and stratigraphic relationships, and how to record these (field notebooks) and depict these in geological maps and cross sections. The module is based on the principles of in-field training utilizing and developing basic field mapping skills such as the observation, recording and interpretation. In this module you will learn basic field mapping skills, including the compilation of a detailed stratigraphic column and geological map of a coastal exposure. You will be introduced to the various rock groups, the particulars of and how to describe variations of these rocks, and how to start interpreting geologic processes.
Field Module 2: Geomorphic and Bedrock Mapping of the Castle Hill Basin
This module examines the geology and surgical deposits of Castle Hill basin, located in the eastern foothills of the Southern Alps, inland Canterbury. This part of the course will build upon your field mapping skills and include the compilation of a surficial and bedrock geologic map with contacts, key structures, deposits, and geomorphic features. Geologic mapping of the basin relies on the complex folding best expressed by a middle Tertiary limestone unit. You will develop an understanding of both the structural and geomorphic evolution of the basin, and subsequent uplift, deformation and periods of Quaternary glaciation.
Module 3 : Kaitiakitanga, Maori perspectives on natural hazards, resource management, and environmental restoration, Mt Ruepehu and Waitomo (North Island)
In module 2 we will also be explore the concept of kaitiakitanga (which loosely translates as ‘guardianship’). Kaitiakitanga played a crucial role in traditional Maori society, and is increasingly sought as an environmental paradigm in contemporary settings. As kaitiaki, Maori were responsible for ensuring the viability of land and resources for the following generations. Guidelines and methods were developed to meet the needs and requirements of traditional Maori communities. In this module, we will investigate some of the indigenous methods used and the challenges contemporary societies face when assessing how to implement the principle of kaitiakitanga in the 21st century. Students will be exposed first hand to the concept of kaitiakitanga by investigating various issues volcanic hazards at Mt Ruepehu. This module will conclude at Waitomo, where we will be introduced to Dr. Hikuroa’s family Marae and explore the world famous Waitomo Caves.
Module 4: Climate Change and Conservation in the Southern Alps
In this module we will apply the field methods you have developed in the last four weeks to investigate the challenges the Department of Conservation (DOC) faces managing the intersecting spheres of the earth system in Aoraki Mt Cook National Park. Today anthropogenic climate change and an exponential increase in international tourism are reshaping the park. In this rapidly changing environment, DOC is attempting to develop a management strategy that addresses the needs of a diverse group of stakeholders including overseas visitors (a crucial component of the NZ economy), NZ alpine climbers and nature enthusiasts, tour operators seeking to profit off (primarily) international tourists, and indigenous peoples for whom the land has cultural significance.
Spring 2024 Dates January 23 - June 25
Applications due Septmeber 15th
Semester Courses: During the semester you may take up to 4 courses.
The required semester courses is :
In total you receive 4 Semester Credits per course transcripted by the Skidmore College, in addition to 5 credit hours for field camp (up to 21 in total). Although ENVR356 is listed as 30 points at UC it is still transcripted as 4 credits from Skidmore College
Tuition – 2024: $23,500 USD
Other Program Costs:
During the semester you may take up to 4 courses.
The required Semester Courses are:
Popular Courses at UC (based upon past student enrolment:
To view ES courses (Semester 1 is Spring):
In total you can receive up to 21 credits from Skidmore College. 5 for field camp and up to 16 for the Semester at UC.
The University of Canterbury is located on New Zealand's South Island in Christchurch. Located and within hours of campus world class hiking, climbing , camping and paddling - we recommend UC for adventurous students. Want to get out. Most of our students join a club that provides opportunities (and transportation) to get off campus on the weekends. There are hiking, climbing, canoeing clubs that offer trips every weekend. For more information about clubs visit UC's student association website!
Students studying at Canterbury live in Ilam Apartments or Sonoda Apartments. Both are located on campus and adjacent to large playing fields. On campus recreation centre is included. All apartments are self-catered, meaning you will cook for yourself.
Health Centre: The UC Health Centre is located on campus and is there to help you with medical (non-emergency) and counselling needs. When you arrive on campus you will learn how to enrol in the health centre. Click on the above link to learn more about UC's health centre.
Travel and Health Insurance: As part of your tuition you are provided with StudentSafe Medical and Travel Insurance. This is the preferred partner for UC. Please ensure you learn about the terms and conditions of the insurance we provide. You are usually required to pay for medical services and then submit a claim to be reimbursed. If you need to have a procedure that is covered we can help you get pre-approved so you do not have to pay. Remember, New Zealand has a socialised medical system. Medical and pharmaceutical costs are far less than in the US.