Opportunities for Earth and Environmental Science Students

Wheaton College IL Environmental Science students on Chiang Mai Forest Study

Field Trips and Field Experience

Beartooth pan 2018

Wheaton students in the Earth and Environmental Science department travel to areas of special scientific interest during courses or as extra course activities during Christmas and spring break. Trips have included: 

  • Fox and Illinois River Valleys (glacial geology, stratigraphy, paleontology, and environmental issues)
  • Devil's Lake, Baraboo Area, Wisconsin (glacial geology, petrology, tectonics, historical geology)
  • Central Wisconsin (structural geology, tectonics, and petrology)
  • Southern Illinois and Central Missouri (modern and ancient sedimentation, petrology, paleontology, regional geology)
  • Chicago and Lake Michigan Area Landforms (glacial geology, coastal issues, fluvial features, urban/suburban environmental issues)
  • Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago
  • The entire Black Hills Region of South Dakota, including Badlands, Devil's Tower, Mount Rushmore, Homestake Gold Mine (regional geology, historical geology, geological materials, modern geological processes, natural resources, environmental issues)
  • Big Horn Mountains, Powder River Basin, Tetons, Yellowstone Park, and Beartooth Mountains in South Dakota, Wyoming, and Montana (field methods, geological mapping, tectonics, resource geology, historical geology, and petrology)

Opportunities for field trips outside of the U.S. include exploring Belize's coral reefs and the Middle East's regional geology.

In addition to hosting invited speakers to the Department, students and faculty take time each semester to hear guest speakers at Chicago area universities or travel to regional and national conferences.

The Global Campus

From the Science Station in the Black Hills to the International Sustainable Development Studies Institute in Thailand, Wheaton's environmental science and geology programs offer numerous opportunities to get hands-on experience across the nation and around the world. 

Learn More About Field Experience

Student-Alumni Field Trips

Student Alumni Field TripSpecial field trips for students and alumni are planned for the week after commencement in May every other year (currently during odd-numbered years.)  The trips provide an opportunity for geology and environmental science majors to visit classic landscapes in North America and around the world in the company of alumni and friends of our department. 

Research and Meetings

Motivated students have access to independent research projects and internships, with various avenues for participation. They can arrange their own projects or join ongoing investigations led by faculty. These projects might involve fieldwork, lab work, or both. Recent projects have covered topics like global sea level change, geoarchaeology, Precambrian bedrock geology, groundwater hydrology, and stream sedimentology.

The College consistently offers summer research programs, which fund projects with faculty and provide housing and salary for students. Both students and faculty often get to showcase their research at professional meetings on regional or national levels.

Learn more about research opportunities


Internships are actual work experiences and valuable assets for students planning to become professional scientists. Each year, the government and the private sector offer a number of limited-term positions to Wheaton scholars. Wheaton College's own HNGR (Human Needs and Global Resources) program has given our majors a chance to share their time and talent as interns among needy people worldwide. 

Learn more about internship opportunities

Seminars and Lectures

Guest lecturers, including leading geoscientists and alumni, often present special seminars during the academic year. We enjoy frequent informal seminars with faculty and students presenting recent research with one another. We also take advantage of public seminars offered at college and university geoscience departments in the Chicago/northern Illinois region.

Student Groups

  • Garden and Prairie Project
  • Earth Club
  • Haiti – Wheaton Partnership
  • Honduras Project