Earth Sciences FSP (Stretch)

Various Locations (Calgary), CanadaVarious Locations (Flagstaff), United States

Program At a Glance

Terms Offered



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Classes In

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Students looking at a chalkboard icon




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Earth Sciences


The Department of Earth Science field study program, traditionally called the "Stretch," is a unique, term-long field experience. Courses are taught by multiple faculty directors, assisted by graduate student TAs.

Using the American West as our classroom and traveling from the glaciers of the Canadian Rockies to the floor of the Grand Canyon, the Stretch provides students hands-on experience with the methods used to understand and study the Earth. No other earth sciences program in the country exposes students to a greater breadth of field techniques and geographic locations. Over the course of the term, students measure the depth of a glacier, map mountain bedrock formations, collect data from rivers and dunes, analyze their findings, and more—all under the close mentorship of Dartmouth professors and graduate students.

The Stretch is divided into several segments, each one-to-two weeks in duration, each conducted in a new location, and each taught by a different faculty member. The itinerary typically begins in the Canadian Rockies near Banff and concludes in northern Arizona, moving through Wyoming, Montana, the Colorado Plateau, Utah, and California. Students take on increasingly challenging field exercises designed to enhance their ability to interpret surficial geology and geomorphic systems, to investigate the hydrologic processes of rivers and lakes, to study recent volcanism, and to use geophysical instruments to infer subsurface structure.



Faculty Director

Ed Mayer Edward Meyer Research Scientist Earth Sciences Off Campus Program Director


EARS | 40 | 90:
Materials of the Earth

(offered summer terms only)

and one of the following:

EARS | 1 | 90:
How the Earth Works

(preferable because it offers practical skills of rock identification and map-reading)

EARS | 2 | 90:
Evolution of Earth and Life

EARS | 3 | 90:
Elementary Oceanography

EARS | 5 | 90:
Natural Disasters and Catastrophes

EARS | 6 | 90:
Environmental Change

EARS | 8 | 90:
Geology of New England and Surrounding Regions

EARS | 9 | 90:
Earth Resources

In addition: The following factors, among others, may be considered in prioritizing applications for the Earth Sciences off campus program (The Stretch):

• Declared major / Declared modified major status
• Academic standing in EARS courses
• Application Essay
• In-person, phone or video conference interviews

Students usually enroll in the program during the fall term of the junior year.

In case of large enrollments, preference will be given to earth sciences majors, minors, and modified majors.


The Department of Earth Sciences is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive learning environment and welcomes all students.  Although no prior outdoor experience is necessary, applicants should be aware that the Stretch program is field-based experiential learning and includes frequent physical activity (walking up to 5-10 miles per day) and communal living throughout its duration. Communal living includes camping, shared bunkhouse rooms, and shared hotel rooms.  Please contact the program director, Edward Meyer, if you have questions about these aspects of the program.

Accommodations vary from guest ranches and motels to tents and sleeping bags.  Transportation during the program is by van.

For more information, please see the department website.

Financing Your Program

Fall Budget Sheet for Earth Sciences FSP (Stretch)

The book costs and miscellaneous costs listed under the budget worksheet provide an idea of what students might expect to spend on supplies (including camping gear) needed to participate in the Stretch program. These costs may be partially or fully covered by financial aid.  Please check with the financial aid office.

Tuition and Fees

The fees charged by the College for a Dartmouth-sponsored off-campus term of study include regular tuition charges for a term at Dartmouth, service fees, as well as the specific costs established for each off-campus study locale. In many programs, the room and board costs tend to be higher than for a term in Hanover. You can view a budget sheet for each program by clicking on the appropriate term. The cost of transportation to and from the site is the responsibility of the student.


Financial Aid

In order that all qualified Dartmouth undergraduate students may have the opportunity to take part in off-campus programs, the College endeavors to adjust its normal financial aid awards for students already receiving aid. Tuition and expected family contribution for Dartmouth's off-campus programs are the same as for an on-campus term. Assistance is available to meet extra costs associated with off-campus programs, including airfare. Half of any extra cost is met with additional Dartmouth scholarship; loan assistance is offered for the other half. Loan assistance is also offered to replace the employment that would normally be included in an on-campus term. Although financial aid recipients are given aid to cover all of the required costs of the program, students are responsible for purchasing their own plane ticket and, on some programs, meals. Often this means that part of the expected family contribution is used towards these costs rather than for tuition.


Program Resources

Department Contact

Student Alumni Contact