Clayoquot Sound Field Semester

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

Students learning about integrated monitoring and management in Cox Bay (Photo by Shannon Fargey)

Students assess the impacts of storms on coastal landscape evolution in the Schooner Cove Dune System (Photo by Erin Schott)

Conducting a bird survey to help support a long-term monitoring project for the Raincoast Education Society (Photo by Shannon Fargey)

On the way to Schooner cove to conduct a field survey of the dune system (Photo by Shannon Fargey)

Learning about emergency management protocols in Tofino (Photo by Erin Schott)

Students work on an eelgrass mapping project in Grice Bay (Photo by Erin Schott)

Visiting the Tsunami Memorial Art Installation, made of debris collected on the Ucluelet shoreline from the deadly 2011 earthquake/tsunami in Japan (Photo by Erin Schott)

Students enjoy a game of soccer on the beach in Tofino (Photo by Shannon Fargey)

Update: The Department of Geography is currently intending to offer this field school program next in Spring 2023, and bi-annually thereafter. Please stay tuned for any new information as it becomes available!

When and Where

2019 Field Semester: January 4th - April 12th

Places visited: Tofino & area; Tla-o-qui-aht, Ucluelet, and Ahousaht Territories (Canada)

How to Apply

Apply in: Fall term

Applications are now closed. Stay tuned for future offerings!

Contact if you have any questions.

Program Overview

For a full program description (including tentative itinerary), see the Information Sheet.

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.


  • Students must have third or fourth year standing
  • This field school is designed primarily as a capstone experience for senior students, but the selection committee will consider other applicants based on a variety of factors, including course, life, and work experience.
  • This field school will involve outdoor activities that will at times be physically demanding, such as hiking over rough or steep terrain. Applicants must mention if they have any accessibility needs that may affect their ability to participate in these activities.
  • Finally, we ask applicants to answer several questions, which allows us to assess the fit of each applicant and what they could contribute to the learning and community-engaged experience.

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.

If you have any further questions, please email Shannon Fargey at


This field program consists of six courses - applications for individual courses will not be accepted.

Each course is worth 1.5 credits, for a total of 9.0 credits. Successful applicants will be registered in the courses by the Department of Geography (students will not register themselves).

1. Geog 339 - Disaster Management & Community Resilience

2. Geog 391 A04 - Coastal Meteorology

3. Geog 391 A05 - Coastal Planning

4. Geog 424 - Field Studies in Coastal Geomorphology

5. Geog 453 - Coastal and Marine Resources: Community-engaged Conservation

6. Geog 487 - Rainforest Biocultural Ecology

Field School Fees

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 should 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 (cheques only).

Field school fees*:

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

*All field school fees are subject to change between offerings.

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

The Faculty of Social Sciences is currently revamping their field school funding structure. More information coming soon!