Earth Sciences FSP (Stretch)

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

Program At a Glance

Terms Offered



Tandem professor and globe icon
Tandem professor and globe icon

Classes In

Students looking at a chalkboard icon
Students looking at a chalkboard icon




college building icon
college building icon
Earth Sciences


The Department of Earth Sciences field study program (EARS 45, 46, and 47), traditionally called the "Stretch," is a world-class opportunity for Dartmouth undergraduates to gain experience in traditional and emerging field techniques in the Earth Sciences, to learn about the spectacular bedrock and surficial geology of the western United States and Canada, and to travel, work, and live closely with fellow students and Dartmouth faculty and graduate students.

The format typically includes seven serial segments which, in recent years, have consisted of a glaciology project in the Canadian Rockies, tours of many of the national parks of the western United States, three- to four-day focused field-based exercises in Wyoming, Montana, California, and Arizona, geophysical studies of Death Valley, California, and a culminating hike into the Grand Canyon, Arizona. Along the way, students are exposed to a wide range of ongoing research projects conducted by Earth Sciences faculty, graduate students, and senior thesis students, in addition to a number of alumni and research scientists.




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:
Carbon Sequestration: Opportunities and Challenges

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 Stretch experience provides an opportunity to live and work close with faculty and graduate students. Typically, between eight to ten faculty and six to seven graduate student TAs participate each year. Student enrollment is between 20 to 24 students. 

Lodging consists of research stations, hotels, motels, and guest ranches. Some segments also involve staying at established campgrounds, tents are provided when needed. Students fly into and out of the program. All transportation during the program is facilitated through 12-passenger vans.

Food is provided by the Department of Earth Sciences for the duration of the Stretch Program. Some meals are cooked by the group, while others are either purchased independently by students through a per-diem stipend or provided by lodging arrangements.  Most dietary restrictions can be accomodated. 

The Department of Earth Sciences is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive learning environment and welcomes all students. Students do not need to have any previous experience in the outdoors. Students should note that aspects of the Stretch can be physically demanding. Many days on the program involve traveling over rough ground for distances greater than ~2-3 miles. Please contact the Faculty Director Ed Meyer or Student Accessibility Services with questions regarding accessibility.

For more information, please see the department website.


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 under "Financing Your Program". 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.

Students are responsible for purchasing their own plane tickets and, in many cases, meals. Often, families find that they owe less for billable items for study away terms but will instead use more of their expected family contribution towards indirect costs such as the flight and meals. For help sorting out who pays what and how, contacting the Financial Aid office is often advisable.  

Students are responsible for purchasing their own plane tickets and, in many cases, meals. Often this means that part of the expected family contribution is used towards these costs rather than for tuition. For help sorting out who pays what and how, contacting the Financial Aid office is often advisable.  

Financing your program | Financial Aid | Scholarships | Budgeting & Costs


Program Resources

Department Contact

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

Alumni Contact