Hydrogeology Field Course Structure, Grading and Equipment Requirements

Participants in the Hydrogeology Field Course in the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences at Western Michigan University should be aware of the following information regarding the course structure, grading policies and personal equipment requirements and recommendations.

Course structure

  • The WMU Hydrogeology Field Course is a series of six one-week modules typically taught six days per week (Monday through Saturday). Classes typically begin at 8 a.m. each day and will often run into the evening.
  • The course will be conducted on and near the campus of Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan with field excursions to the surrounding region.
  • The course will emphasize state-of-the-art techniques for sampling, monitoring and evaluating groundwater systems. Particular attention will be paid to contaminated systems, aquifer testing and selected geophysical techniques.
  • Each week counts as one semester hour and can be taken for graduate or undergraduate credit. If you are a hydrogeology student in the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences at WMU, you must take all weeks unless your advisor determines otherwise, given your previous experience.   
  • Lectures will be minimal and will primarily be given to support field exercises or demonstrations.
  • You will gain hands-on field experience using modern field technologies. Demonstration of some modern field equipment will be provided by manufacturer's representatives. In order to provide you with a broad introduction to modern field technologies, numerous items will have either been donated or loaned to the Hydrogeology Field Course by manufacturers and other course supporters.


  • A final exam will be given at the end of each week.
  • The final module grade will be derived from field performance, participation, notetaking, written assignments, the ability to work as a team, professionalism and the final exam. 

Personal equipment


  • Field clothes, including long pants, hat and other sun-protective field clothing
  • Rain gear
  • ASTM approved safety-toed boots or shoes (boots are recommended)
  • Gear bag (such as a backpack or book bag)
  • Bring a lunch each day (most days are typically spent out in the field)
  • Pens and pencils
  • Spiral notebook or equivalent for classroom notetaking
  • Water bottles
  • Cell phone with ability to take photos and communicate in the field


  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • Work gloves
  • Folding camp chair
  • Sunglasses
  • Sun hat

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