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Physical Geography of Big Bend National Park, Texas

This class met on the Texas State University campus during the Spring 2019 semester and included a seven-day field trip, during Spring Break, to study physical geographic aspects of Big Bend National Park, and Chihuahan Desert environments.   


Program Information Sessions

  • Tuesday, October 9, 2018, 11 a.m. - noon
  • Wednesday, October 17, 2018, 2 - 3 p.m.

2019 Spring Semester: January 22 - May 15, 2019

Class: Met regularly during the Spring 2019 semester on Fridays at 9:30 a.m.

Required: Seven-day field trip to Big Bend National Park: March 15 - 21, 2019

What Students LearnedA photo of a mountain at Big Bend National Park

This program focused on learning about the environments in Big Bend National Park (BBNP), one of the largest U.S. parks, often referred to informally as “three parks in one.” This is because it includes three very different environmental areas: the desert lowlands, the Chisos Mountains, and the riparian corridor and deep canyons along the Rio Grande. The diversity exhibited by classic Chihuahuan Desert environs, stark badlands, shady canyons, and forested mountains exists in close proximity. The great variety of landscapes, geology, and vegetation zones related to elevation and water availability makes BBNP a great outdoor laboratory and classroom for learning about the environments of West Texas. The desert has its own particular beauty and environmental value, which must be directly witnessed and experienced to be fully appreciated and understood.

This program was open to all students but was particularly interesting to those who wished to learn about and experience the Big Bend region in the field. The courses involved readings, field studies, observation, and writing. Graduate students did a research project and made a field/class presentation.

Course Options

GEO 4310 Regional Field Studies (undergraduate) CRN 34920
GEO 5308 Regional Field Studies (graduate) CRN 34922

Students Applying for Graduate Courses

All applicants interested in enrolling in a 5000 level or above extension course first contacted the Texas State Graduate College. This step was completed before registration was finalized into a graduate-level course.

Tuition and Program Fee

Tuition for three hours of undergraduate university credit (one course): $833.46

Tuition for three hours of graduate university credit (one course): $983.46

Additional costs / program fee which included lodging, supplies and transportation: $350

Course tuition and program fee was billed and paid through SBS Billing and Payment.

Applying to the Course/Program

Important:  To ensure their place in this course/program, students received approval from Dr. Townsend and submitted the application.

Registering for Courses

Students registered for their course through the Student Information System/Catsweb during the regular university registration period.

For more information about future course/program offerings, please contact Dr. Christi Townsend.

For questions about applying/registering, please contact the Office of Distance and Extended Learning.