Field based study

In Year 1 and Year 2, you will develop the skills needed to conduct field based studies in and around the St Andrews area. These skills will include:

  • good lab practice in the field
  • field sampling methods
  • fixing and preserving specimens
  • measuring structures using microscopes
  • species identification and using dichotomous keys.

In the process of developing your field skills, you will also build your range of transferable skills such as report writing, sourcing relevant information, data handling, data presentation and teamwork.

This early training will prepare you for field courses beyond the St Andrews area in later years of study, and will equip you with the skills sought by employers and post-graduate study.

Field study locations

  • Kindrogan
    One of our 3rd year modules, Aquatic Ecology, includes a residential field trip at Kindrogan Field Station in the Scottish Highlands. Students will hone their sampling and species identification methods during this introduction to ecology of aquatic systems.

  • Scientific Diving
    Students with an existing diving qualification will have the opportunity of joining the fourth-year Scientific Diving module which currently takes place over two weeks at a scientific research station in the Maldives. Students will learn how to gather robust scientific data underwater, witness first-hand the fragile and diverse ecosystem of tropical coral reefs and have the chance to propose, develop and lead a significant underwater research project. Participating students will cover incurred accommodation and travel expenses.

  • Orielton
    3rd year students have the option of a 1-week residential course working on field-based exercise at Orielton Field Station located on the Pembrokeshire coast.

  • Antarctica
    4th year students have the option of participating in a two-week vessel-based expedition to Antarctica during the austral summer (northern winter). Students will gain appreciation of and insights into the diversity, complexity, scientific and management challenges of the Antarctic ecoregion. Participating students must cover all logistic expenses, via payment of a substantial expedition fee. [Expedition blog site]

Field based practicals