College of Science - Field Trips

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Field-based teaching and learning activities form an integral and important part of many courses delivered in the College of Science. During your studies, you’ll be exposed to a variety a techniques for collecting, analysing and reporting field data. Fieldwork activities are designed to allow you to put the skills you’ve learned in the classroom into practice in new environments. 

Interested in participating? Read on.

Participating in trips can be a highlight of your university experience; however, it is also important to think carefully about whether it is the right decision for you at this point in time. This page will help you understand what field trips might involve, so you can make an informed decision.

How we can help you participate

For most of our trips, there are lots of options for flexibility that may make it easier for you to take part. This page will tell you about some of them. Keep in mind, it is not possible for the course convenor to anticipate every individual circumstance, so please contact the course convenor if you have other ideas for how the convenor could help you to participate. If you would like support discussing your needs with the course convenor or if your discussion didn't go as you expected, please contact the school accessibility contact.

How to participate?

Check the Programs & Courses page for information on prerequisites, if the field trip is required, and how to sign-up.

If you can't participate

Access the respective course Wattle page or talk to the convenor about the significance of the field activity to the course's assessment tasks. While some trips may be compulsory, other trips are voluntary or can be replaced with alternate assessments.


Activity sites

Field-based teaching and learning activities take place on a wide range of sites, including the ANU’s Acton Campus, the ACT, across Australia and internationally. Please refer to individual course Wattle sites for detailed information about travel arrangements.

Accessibility implications will vary from course to course. To fully participate in some trips, you might need to able to safely traverse the distance from the nearest vehicle access to the location of the field activities. If you have difficulty with mobility, you should discuss your requirements with the course convener in the first week of the course. This consultation will allow the convener to take your needs into account when planning relevant activities, if the trip plans change (e.g. due to weather), and in emergency situations.


Depending on the nature of the trip, travel will vary. If you need accessible transport, please talk to the course convenor during the first week of classes. You should refer to the individual course Wattle site for detailed information about travel arrangements.

For local and/or domestic trips, you may walk or be driven by bus and/or small vehicles to applicable field sites. The school will often make transportation arrangements for participating students.

For trips further from Canberra and international trips, you may meet at a designated location away from the ANU and then continue to the site.

For some trips, you may have the option to travel to the site in your own vehicle, if preferred. Please contact the convenor to discuss options.


For overnight trips, accomodations vary and may include staying in hotels, dormitories, tents, or huts. Facilities, such as rooms, toilets, and showers may be shared, or there may be the option for you to have individual facilities.  Please consult with the course convenor to see what options are available.

Accommodation may have accessibility features, such as ramps to the accommodation, but lacks others, such as paved paths between buildings. If you need accessible accommodation, please discuss your specific needs with the course convenor at the beginning of semester.


Dietary restrictions can often be accommodated; please consult with the convenor before the trip to see what can be arranged. You may be able to access cooking facilities and/or bring your own food on some trips.

Some trips, especially those in remote or international locations, may have more restricted food options.


Some field trips have additional costs to cover food, travel, accomodation, or other expenses. Consult with the school or convenor for more information, including if scholarships are available to help cover the cost.

Health & wellbeing

Look after yourself: physical and mental health

For some students, long day trips or overnight travel away from support networks can be an issue; you are strongly encouraged to think about how you will manage your mental and physical health while on the trip.

Field trips typically involve extended periods of work and leisure time spent with other people, resulting in limited time alone or privacy. If you feel you would benefit from time alone or in a quiet location during a field trip, you should discuss the options with the course convener. 

You should be aware that the university's insurance policy does not cover pre-existing conditions. Please contact the convenor before the trip to discuss any medical conditions that may be difficult to manage; for example, it is sometimes possible to help store equipment or arrange cold storage of medication, if required.

Some international field trip locations require you to get appropriate immunisations before the trip. You will need to consult your doctor before traveling and organise any required immunisations.

If you need to miss part of the trip due to health or other reasons, you can ask the convenor about alternative assessment arrangements.

Respecting other students' needs

You must act in a professional, respectful and responsible manner at all times; if you do not meet these expectations, you may be asked to leave. 

If you are unsure about the expectations or think your behaviour might be misinterpreted, please talk to the course convenor. The convenor can clarify the expectations and work with you to ensure the any stakeholders you encounter aren't inadvertently left with the wrong impression.


Workload will vary by trip; please consult the convenor for information about what tasks are expected, the time frame, and availability of time and facilities to rest.

If you perceive that the activities described by the convenor might be challenging for you, you are encouraged to discuss what options might be available.


Field-based teaching and learning activities require appropriate clothing, which you should carry with you to suit weather conditions and in case of changing weather (e.g. jumper, jacket, rainwear, hat, sunglasses, sun-block). Any specialist protective clothing (safety helmets, high visibility vests and sturdy boots) will typically be provided.

Please talk to the course convenor if you may have difficulty wearing particular protective clothing or may otherwise need individualised protective clothing.  You can be excluded from a field trip by the academic supervisor if the you do not carry adequate personal protective clothing or do not comply with requests from staff to wear allocated specialist attire.

Tasks & activities

Interpreting the visual features of the environment

During a field trip, you may need to observe and interpret visual features in the environment. You can often use magnifying equipment to enhance your ability to make visual observations. If you require visual features to be described to you by someone else, discuss this with the course convener at the beginning of the semester.

Making measurements in the field

You may need to walk over rough surfaces to make measurements. These measurements may use tape measures, shovels, hand augers, field guides and various fauna traps. 

If you find it difficult to complete these tasks, other students may be able to assist you; please discuss your options with the course convenor prior to the trip.

Flexible field notes

To maximise learning, you may need to take notes in the field; you may be able to choose how to take notes, including using electronic devices or recording verbal observations.

If you find it difficult to complete these tasks, other students may be able to assist you; please discuss your options with the course convenor prior to the trip.

Field presentations and discussions

You might need to listen to content delivered by staff whilst in the field (outside). While collecting field data, you may need to listen, discuss and coordinate with other students in a small group.

If you think that you may have difficulty doing this, please discuss this with the course convener at the beginning of semester.

Working within a set schedule

There are often pre-scheduled time commitments that the field trip organisers need to maintain; staff will continually evaluate activities with respect to the program and provide information to you about what time is available for each activity.

Your responsibility is to acknowledge and respect this need to manage the time. When working in small groups, you and the other students in the group will need to perform the required tasks within the time available.

Working in a group

You may design and work on group research projects during the trip. The group may work together to choose a topic, develop research questions, choose appropriate data collection methods, collect data, analyse the data and present the results. 

Staff members may be available to help you develop the relevant skills at the beginning of the trip, guide you through the process and help with any difficulties you encounter. However, you may need to be comfortable contributing to group decision making, developing solutions to open ended problems and following an evolving and flexible trip schedule. If you're concerned about these aspects of the project work, please talk to the convenor. The convenor can suggest ways you can prepare prior to the trip and investigate options to provide you with additional support during the trip.