The program is open to all Dartmouth undergraduates who have taken at least one of the prerequisite, introductory courses (Earth Sciences 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 8, or 9), as well as Earth Sciences 40 (Materials and Structure of the Earth), which is offered in the summer term. Students usually enroll in the Stretch during the fall term of their junior year.
The Stretch is divided into a series of segments, each taught or co-taught by one or more Earth Sciences faculty, and each about 10 days to two weeks in duration. Segments are designed to expand a student's ability to map and interpret geologic structures and landscape features, to investigate physical and chemical processes in rivers and lakes, to observe volcanic rocks and volcanism, to undertake chemical analysis of environmentally fragile ecosystems, to investigate glacial processes, and to use field geophysical techniques to address structural and tectonic problems.
Stretch segments currently typically take place in Alberta, Montana (Gallatin National Forest & Yellowstone National Park), Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, California and Arizona. This program is thus a 'movable geologic feast' through the American West, and represents a marked departure from textbook and classroom instruction.
Overall, the Stretch is exciting adventure in learning about the Earth. Fair warning—some field exercises take place in rugged terrain at high altitude and can thus be physically demanding and a source of exhilaration and persistent wellbeing. Common sense regarding participation in any one exercise is expected for all.
For many students, the Stretch experience provides the intellectual stimulus and faculty connections that ultimately lead to honors research and a senior thesis.
For more information or to apply for the Stretch Off-campus Program please contact Edward Meyer.
Note: Students will also need to apply online with the Off Campus Programs Office.
Please note that the program is only open to Dartmouth College students.