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Western Kentucky University

Study Away

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Geology of Death Valley and the Mojave Desert

geology students


This program is over.  Check back for future options.


About the Program

Geology is a field-based discipline, yet the opportunities for a broad range of field experiences are limited in the region surrounding WKU. This field course will include several two-day field mapping exercises in the Mojave desert, in addition to field exercises examining igneous and metamorphic rocks (neither of which is present in the WKU region), young volcanic centers, and "classic" field locales in Death Valley and the surrounding area.

class in death valley



The Program Leaders may determine other eligibility requirements, but at a minimum, all applicants need to meet these requirements: 

  • Good academic standing (Undergraduate Catalog p.27; Graduate Catalog p.30)
  • Registered for course.
  • 18 years of age or older at time of departure (parent/guardian permission for anyone under 18 at time of departure).
  • No current disciplinary sanctions as verified by Judicial Affairs.
  • Full payment prior to departure.
  • Completion of all pre-departure orientations.
  • Permission of instructor.
  • Complete Study Away application.  Students must meet with Dr. Wulff to get the application form.


hands on learning

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Program Package

Included in Base Package

  • Program ground transportation
  • Camping fees
  • Group groceries
  • Lodging in Las Vegas on March 7 and March 14.

Excluded from Base Package

  • Items not explicitly listed in package.
  • Transportation to/from Las Vegas.
  • Regular semester tuition.

Final program fee subject to change due to travel arrangements.


Planned Schedule

March 7 Students travel to Las Vegas, NV
March 8 Drive to Death Valley National Park. Set up campsites
March 9 Explore structural/tectonic features of middle and north Death Valley Park. Spend night at Furnace Creek Campground
March 10 Leave Death Valley through the southern exit; Spend night at Tecopa Hot Springs Campground
March 11 Drive to Barstow. Spend night at Rainbow Basin – Owl Creek Campground
March 12 Finish mapping at Rainbow Basin
March 13 Drive back to Mojave Wilderness Area. Spend night in Mojave Preserve by Kelso Dunes.
March 14 Mitchell Caverns; Hole-In-the-Wall; Cima Dome/Teutonia Peak – night at Hole-In-the-Wall
March 15 Drive back to Las Vegas – clean up in motel - and back to Kentucky

The schedule is subject to change due to educational opportunities that may arise unexpectedly, the vagaries of weather, and other factors beyond the control of the course instructors and staff.

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Contact Study Away for Future Options


  • GEOL 475

Faculty Leader

  • Dr. Andrew Wulff
    Associate Professor
    Geography & Geology
    Environmental Science & Tech 437


  • Death Valley National Park
  • Rainbow Basin
  • Mojave Wilderness Area
  • Cima Wilderness


  • Spring 2014


  • $300 - $$400 - Study Away portion only.
    Regular semester tuition applies.

Funding Options


 link to program details


Western Kentucky University and its associates are not responsible for any loss due to theft, personal injury, flight or weather delays, negligence, or default of suppliers, or suppliers changing of itineraries. They and their associates are not responsible for any loss due to travel/flight delays or changes in travel plans due to Acts of Nature or other unforeseen circumstances, nor are we responsible for accidents and medical care. Tour services are furnished by independent contractors who are not agents or servants of Western Kentucky University. Refunds are not available for unused portions of the package.


Contact us right away!

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 Last Modified 8/26/15