Clayoquot Sound Field Semester

A partnership between the UVic Department of Geography and Raincoast Education Society of Tofino

2019 Clayoquot Sound Field Semester: Jan 4-Apr 12, 2019  

Tofino and area, Tla-o-qui-aht, Ucluelet, and Ahousaht Territories

Now open! Download the application HERE

Application deadline: Sept 21, 2018. 

Deposit dealine: upon time of application.

First fee installment due: October 15, 2018

Second fee installment due: January 03, 2019

* PLEASE NOTE: Students applying for field school funding support must do so within 2 weeks of being accepted. *

Clayoquot Sound. Photo by Tofino Photography.

Are you interested in immersing yourself in an intensive, experiential, field-based semester in Tofino, BC, based in the world-famous Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Reserve? 

The Clayoquot Sound Field School semester provides students the opportunity to learn in a living ecosystem and community ‘laboratory’ outside a traditional classroom setting.  Our vision is for an engaging, semester-long experiential learning opportunity, built around a sequence of interrelated courses that promote deeper understandings of cultural and environmental processes and the complex relationships between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous,and non-human communities in Clayoquot Sound.

Clayoquot Sound is a unique region on the west coast of Vancouver Island defined by a rich history and strong presence of Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations, a diverse and complex natural landscape, and a potent conservation movement marked by decades of environmental battles.  The region is home to the largest remaining tracts of old-growth temperate rainforest on Vancouver Island, and supports a thriving community of front-line conservationists working to uphold the natural integrity of the region, from Nuu-chah-nulth Guardians to scientists, educators, and community members.

As good citizens and community-engaged students and researchers, we will commit to having a positive impact on the region.  Through each course, and in particular the foundational Community-based Conservation course, students will connect with not-for-profit organizations, businesses, and governments (municipal, provincial, federal, and Indigenous), learning from these partners and, moreover, making meaningful contributions in return.  Our vision is that we leave with rich memories, a transformative learning experience, and a positive local legacy.

Please note that multiple positions in this field semester will be allocated to interested students from beyond UVic, and in particular those from Tla-o-qui-aht, Ucluelet, and Ahousaht Territories in which the field school experience occurs.


Application Requirements

Application deadline: September 21, 2018

Applications must include the following:

  1. Completed application and waiver package (please check that you have signed the waiver)
  2. Answers to the questions outlined in the Personal Statement and Goals section of this document
  3. A deposit fee (amount to be specified upon announcement of open application status)

The deposit $1000 fee is due upon application to the field semester.  The deposit fee can be paid by cheque, money order, or counter cheque, or cash. Cheques can be made payable to the University of Victoria.

Payment can be dropped off at the Geography main office, David Turpin Building room B203. For mailed cheques, send to the department postal address: Department of Geography, University of Victoria, PO Box 1700 Stn CSC, Victoria, BC V8W 2Y2. See the Fees and Financial Support section for information about paying the remainder of the field school fees. NOTE: The total field school fee includes all room and board.

To be considered, please submit a completed application and waiver package (check that you have signed the waiver) using one of the following methods:

  • Via email to Emailed applications should contain “Mountain Meteorology Field School” and your name in the subject line (i.e., “Mountain Meteorology Field School – Jane Smith”). All attachments should be in PDF format only, and in one single file.
  • In person to the Geography main office, room B203 in the David Turpin building.



Students must register in all six of the classes - most courses are 10 days each - this field school is a semester-long commitment. Each course is worth 1.5 credits for a total of 9 credits. Successful applicants will be registered in these courses through special registration by the Department of Geography (students will not register themselves). Additionally, student accommodation is at our on-site field station (with no exceptions). Students share rooms with a roommate(s) and have access to a common kitchen and living area. More information about the accommodation will be provided soon.​

Geography 388 - Clayoquot Sound and Nuu-chah-nulth Geographies

Co-instructors: TBA

Jan 7-16

Overview: Coming soon!

Geography 391 A01- Coastal Meteorology

Instructor: Shannon Fargey

Jan 23-Feb 2

Overview: This course will investigate the impact of our winter storms on both the physical and human landscape of Vancouver Island.  You will learn about the processes that drive these events, as well as how they shape the coastal landscape of the community.  You will also investigate the influence of weather on local tourism, and the community’s resiliency/ preparedness for associated hazards (high winds, big waves, and sideways rain). 

Geography 424 - Field Studies in Coastal Geomorphology

Instructor: Eva Kwoll

Jan 29-Feb 8

Overview: An advanced, field-based exploration of coastal geomorphic processes and landforms. Areas of investigation will span nearshore to backshore environments and wave, tidal, and fluvial/estuarine processes.  You will further examine how these physical processes are affected by aquatic ecosystems such as eelgrass meadows and kelp forests, and how the ecosystems themselves depend on the characteristics of the physical environment.

Geography 487 - Forest Ecology and Management

Co-instructors: Andy MacKinnon and Gisele Martin

Feb 25-Mar 6

Overview: In this course, you will learn hands-on research techniques used to study the structure, composition, and ecological processes of coastal temperate rainforests and how forests have been managed, particularly in coastal British Columbia and Clayoquot Sound.  Additionally, you will be exposed to the cultural and ethical context that guides the selection of methods and the larger research programs in which they are embedded.  Part of this process will involve interaction with Indigenous knowledge holders from the area.  Following the course, you will be able to create a proposal to undertake a research project of your own

Geography 391 A02- Coastal Planning

Instructor: Rosaline Canessa

Mar 14-22

Overview: Gain perspective of the varied place-based values individuals and groups have related to the coast, and the implications of these intersecting values in coastal planning.  You will explore the coastal governance setting in British Columbia, including Indigenous rights and title, jurisdiction, and policy.  You will be challenged to apply and assess the suitability of a range of tools, techniques, and best practices for coastal planning and evaluate the process, outputs, and outcomes of specific case studies especially relevant to the Clayoquot Sound region.

Geography 453 - Coastal and Marine Resources: Community-engaged Conservation

Instructor: Dan Harrison

Jan 7-April 12

Overview: The objective of this course is to immerse you in the work of conservation through partnerships with local organizations in the development of term projects.  As the only term-long course of the semester, classes will be held in the inter-class periods between other courses, and will serve as a unifying course tying other topics together into real-life projects.  You will gain insight into the present-day socio-political landscape of conservation in Clayoquot Sound, and develop projects that directly benefit the local community.  This course will have a strong field focus providing you with hands-on learning experiences, complemented by guest lectures and engaging discussion.

Semester Fees and Financial Support

For field schools, students pay regular UVic tuition plus field school fees.

Field school fees can be paid by cheque, money order, counter cheque, or cash ONLY.  Cheques can be made payable to the University of Victoria.  Payment can be dropped off at the Geography main office, David Turpin Building, room B203 (or mailed if it is in cheque form).

Field School Fees

  • $1000 deposit paid at time of application 
  • $2500 paid by October 15th, 2018
  • $2500 paid by January 3rd, 2019

Field school fees include:

  • $3000 for accommodation at the field station in Tofino from January 4th to April 12th, 2019
  • $3000 for field course fees ($500 per course)
  • Assistance with your community work
  • Teaching- and research-related equipment and materials
  • Compensation for guest lecturers and knowledge holders
  • Boat charters
  • Activities to build relationships with community leaders
  • Other field course expenses

Field school fees do not include:

  • Tuition
  • Transportation to and from Tofino
  • Meals
  • Other expenses such as any personal gear (e.g., hiking shoes) required for the course.

Financial Support

For financial support, you can apply to the Social Sciences Field Course Support Fund.  These funds are distributed according to demonstrated financial need and the fit of the field course(s) to your career development.  These funds can help pay for the field course fees (but not tuition).  Email for more details.  Our partners, the Raincoast Education Society in Tofino, have funds to support Indigenous students, especially those from Nuu-chah-nulth nations.

* PLEASE NOTE: Students applying for field school funding support must do so within 2 weeks of being accepted. * 

Tentative Schedule *subject to change*

tentative schedule