Skip to content

Programs : Brochure

This page is the brochure for your selected program. You can view the provided information for this program on this page and click on the available buttons for additional options.
  • Locations: Nemo, South Dakota, United States;
  • Program Terms: Summer
  • This program is currently not accepting applications.
Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Program Type: Faculty-led Minimum GPA: 2.5
Area of Study: Geoscience
Program Description:
FLP Banner 2021

Geological Field-Research Methods: Black Hills, South Dakota | Faculty-led Program

The most recent Geological Field-Research Methods: Black Hills, South Dakota faculty-led program took place in May 2019. The program was scheduled to be offered in May 2021, but was cancelled due to COVID-19. This faculty-led program may be offered again in summer 2023 or summer 2024. 

GEOS 401: Geological Field-Research Methods is a 2+ week-long field course studying the rocks exposed in the Black Hills of South Dakota. This course will begin with one logistics meeting and two ½ day lecture/lab periods in Winona before we leave for the Black Hills. This will be an opportunity to review skills and topics from earlier courses and to ensure all participants are up to date on the basic skills to ensure a level starting point. The following will be covered on these days prior to departure:
  • Reading a topographic map
  • Making a topographic profile
  • Reading the geology from the topography
  • Intro to field note taking
  • Intro to field sketching
  • Intro to geologic cross sections
  • Intro to geologic summaries
While in South Dakota, we will begin mapping flat-lying sedimentary rocks and progresses to folded sedimentary rocks and end on a week-long project in multiply-deformed metamorphic and igneous rocks. Field techniques include mapping skills and strategies, describing rocks in the field, sampling techniques for different objectives, and planning methods for a field research project. Projects range from single-day reconnaissance mapping along road cuts covering tens of miles to multi-day large-scale detailed mapping in the national forest. During this course the students will be expected to work outdoors in all types of weather. At the completion of this course, a student will be able to:
  • Interpret topography from a topographic map
  • Locate themselves on a topographic map using traditional methods and without the aid of GPS devices
  • Create a topographic profile from a topographic map
  • Interpret geologic structures from a geologic map
  • Identify, describe and measure planar and linear rock fabrics and structures
  • Create useful field maps
  • Interpolate within, and extrapolate beyond, the map area geologic structures from limited data sets (incomplete outcrop exposure)
  • Draw accurate, clean, and well documented field sketches
  • Document field observations with photography
  • Describe observations clearly, accurately, and completely in field notes
  • Write clear and concise rock descriptions
  • Write clear and concise geologic reports
  • Create a geologic map
  • Create a geologic cross section
  • Formulate multiple working hypotheses and plan how to test them
During this course the students will be expected to work outdoors in all types of weather. Fieldwork involves mapping (and hiking) all day in wooded terrain of varied topography. Although in some cases the terrain is steep, most cases will not require any more than average abilities. The days will be long but the rewards will be great. Dr. Allard will speak with anyone who may not feel physically capable, but he has not yet had a student in the Geoscience department who would be physically incapable of taking this course.

Across the Black Hills in Southwest South Dakota

14-18 days in May

GEOS 401: Geological Field-Research Methods: Black Hills, SD - 4 credits

  • Mid-level and above Geoscience majors
  • Students from other MinnState institutions and Black Hills State may be considered with References
  • Instructor permission.
  • GEOS 235: Earth and Life
  • GEOS 301: Field and Analytical Methods
  • GEOS 305: Minerals and Rocks
  • Strongly recommended:
    • GEOS 315: GIS
    • GEOS 360: Structure

  • The typical cost range for this program is between $2,400 - $3,400 depending on enrollment min/max.
  • The program cost includes: WSU tuition/fees for the 4-credit GEOS 401 course, transportation to South Dakota and throughout the program, all lodging, most meals, admission/event fees for all educational activities, and the Study Abroad administrative fee. 
  • The $500 confirmation deposit required as part of the program application is applied to the program cost. 
Dr. Stephen T. Allard (

Kathy Jicinsky, Assistant Director of Study Abroad for Faculty-led Programs

Dates / Deadlines:

There are currently no active application cycles for this program.

This program is currently not accepting applications.