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Fact Sheet:
Fact Sheet:
Click here for a definition of this term Type of Program: Faculty-led Click here for a definition of this term Language of Instruction: English
Click here for a definition of this term Minimum GPA: 2.5 or by Professor Permission Faculty-Led Program Status: Available
College: College of Arts & Science Credits: 3 credits
Class Standing: Freshman, Junior, Senior, Sophomore
Program Description:


Program Description

The Reef Environment and Geology of Modern Carbonate Systems

This field-based course provides students with an opportunity to study a modern reef environment in an active carbonate depositional system to be used as an analogue for ancient reefs. This trip will spend a week in Bermuda, staying at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Studies (BIOS). Most of the days students will spend their mornings snorkeling and studying reefs from the boat/shore, spending their afternoons in the lab studying their collections, and evenings in the lecture hall where we will stay as a group for the majority of the time. This course will emphasize species-level identification of major coral and carbonate-producing organisms, processes involved in the construction and destruction of reef systems, biologic and geologic processes that cause alteration of carbonate rocks, and reef responses to environmental changes with sea level rise and fall. Students will use a fieldbook to record field- and lab-based identifications of carbonate rocks and sediment grains, record and describe sample collection techniques, and practice observational skills in the field by making sketches of geologic relationships exposed in outcrop. Course will include pre-trip meetings (4-5 lectures) and lab-based specimen identifications. Students must be able to swim in the open ocean, use snorkeling gear (e.g., mask, snorkel, fins), and be comfortable accessing reefs by beach or boat.


GES 3810-145 – The Reef Environment and Geology of Modern Carbonate System – 3 credit hours

Program Cost

All students are strongly urged to attend a Faculty-led Study Abroad Financial Workshop prior to submitting the signed application to OiED. These workshops are held throughout the semester. We will answer your questions about program payment schedule, cancellation policy, financial aid and other funding sources, financial planning, and other related topics. ALL IN-PERSON WORKSHOPS WILL BE HELD IN THE PLEMMONS STUDENT UNION. Online and evening workshops are available on (TBD). For workshop dates and to register for a workshop, please click here.

Paid to Appalachian State
  3 credits
App Tuition & Fees1 Student Accounts
Program Cost2 $2,938.94
1Tuition and fees for summer programs can be found at this link. After selecting the appropriate summer tuition and fees cost sheet scroll down to "Study Abroad Rates". Please note that summer tuition and fees are updated during the spring semester.
2Program Cost includes in-country program transportation, lodging, international health and evacuation insurance, program events, most meals, and OIED/CCS administrative fee.

Estimated Additional Costs
Meals $30
Personal Expenses $100
Visa1 $0
Passport $150
Health and Wellness2 $75
Snorkeling Gear3 $100
1Some non-US citizens may need to apply for a visa prior to entering Bermuda. 
2Anticipated COVID-19 test upon arrival in Bermuda.
3Students are responsible for purchasing or supplying their own snorkeling gear (mask, snorkel, fins).

Please note that non-billable costs are estimates only and will be affected by personal spending habits, currency fluctuations, etc. Prices listed in USD unless otherwise noted. 
Students are encouraged to start planning for their study abroad program costs well in advance. Please use the Student Financial Planning Worksheet to help estimate your anticipated expenses and your anticipated financial resources.  When planning for estimated additional costs students are encouraged to research currency conversion rates. To see a total of the estimated costs for this program please visit the program budget sheet.

Payment Schedule

  Amount Date Due
Deposit $300.00 Submit with application
1st Payment $879.65 1/31/21
2nd Payment $879.65 2/28/21
3rd Payment $879.64 3/31/21

Appalachian reserves the right to cancel or alter the program format or to change costs in case of conditions beyond the university's control.  Further details about Appalachian's withdrawal/cancellation policy can be found at this link.

Financial Aid

If you plan to use any form of financial aid (loans, grants, scholarships) to participate in a short-term, faculty-led education abroad program, we strongly recommend that you take the following steps before applying to the program:
  1. Complete your FAFSA for the academic year in which the program is offered. Please be mindful of Financial Aid deadlines!
  2. Visit the Office of Financial Aid's website at Read all the information carefully and print the Study Abroad Agreement Form for the appropriate term that you are requesting an increase in financial aid due to studying abroad.
  3. Go to the Office of Financial Aid on the second floor of the JET Building to discuss your financial aid eligibility with Laura Blalock PRIOR to applying to the program.


OIED Scholarships
Each semester OIED offers a variety of different scholarship opportunities for students. Scholarship awards range from $250 to $2000. 

For information about additional scholarships please visit our External Scholarships web page.


Program Itinerary

The international component of this course will run from Aug. 6 to Aug. 13, 2021.

Pre-Program Meetings

Five pre-program meetings; dates and times TBD.

Program Leaders

Dr. Cole Edwards
Assistant Professor
Geology and Environmental Sciences Department

Cole Edwards is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences.  He earned his Master’s at Acadia University (Nova Scotia, Canada) on Precambrian paleontology in 2010 and his Ph.D. from The Ohio State University in carbonate geochemistry in 2014.  Dr. Edwards has traveled to Bermuda several times since 2006 as he attended and led field trips studying the coral reefs, in addition to field trips to the Bahamas, Florida Keys, and Trinidad and Tobago.  Dr. Edwards teaches classes in historical geology and sedimentology, both of which incorporate geologic and environmental processes responsible for carbonate reef formation and how reefs have changed through time.  His research focuses on a time period known as the Ordovician (~485–444 million years ago) and using chemical signatures preserved in rock to better understand how reef communities may have been impacted by environmental changes throughout deep time.

Dr. Cynthia Liutkus-Pierce
Professor and Director of Environmental Sciences Programs
Geology and Environmental Sciences Department

Cynthia Liutkus-Pierce is a Professor in the Department of Geological and Environmental Sciences, and is the current Director of the Environmental Science Program.  She received both her MSc (2000) and PhD (2005) from Rutgers University, specializing in rift basin sedimentology and paleolandscape evolution.  Dr. Liutkus-Pierce’s current research focuses on paleoenvironmental and paleoclimate reconstruction, namely of fossil primate and hominin sites in Africa.  She uses sedimentology, stratigraphy, and stable isotope geochemistry of carbonates to reconstruct short-term and long-term environmental changes in terrestrial settings and has led field expeditions to Tanzania, Kenya, Namibia, and South Africa.  Dr. Liutkus-Pierce teaches courses in historical geology, environmental hazards, and sedimentology, and has led numerous field trips to the Cambrian-Ordovician marine sedimentary rocks of southwestern Virginia, which are ancient analogs for the modern carbonates forming around Bermuda today. She is a PADI certified SCUBA diver and holds both Advanced and NITROX certifications.


How to Apply

    • Log in to AppalNET/Banner Self-Service.
    • Select the "Direct Link to Web Self-Service" using your AppState username and password.
    • Select the Student Tab.
    • Scroll down and click on the "Faculty-Led Study Abroad Application Packet*" link.
    • Select the program-specific application form from the programs drop-down menu.
    • Fill out, save, and submit the online application.
    • Walk to the Office of Student Accounts, located on the 2nd floor of the John E. Thomas building and pay by cash, check, or debit card.
      • Give the name and term of your program to the Cashier who will look up the deposit charge on your account (e.g., Poland COM Summer 1).
      • Pay the non-refundable deposit by check, cash, debit card, or money order.
    • Pay through the Touchnet online payment system.  If using the Touchnet system please make sure that you are making the payment for the international charges.  Please see the Touchnet Payment Instructions.pdf
    • During the pandemic, OIED is unable to receive signed applications in our office.
      • To expedite processing of your application, scan it or use your smartphone to photograph it in its entirety and send the digital copy to Then follow one of the two steps below. 
        • If you are on campus, put the signed application in an envelope clearly marked "OIED" and hand it to a clerk at the campus post office. No postage is necessary.
        • If you are off campus, mail it to Appalachian State University, Attn: OIED, ASU Box 32803, Boone, NC 28608. Please note that there is no need to send it by Priority Mail, certified mail, or by courier (e.g., UPS or FedEx). First class mailing is sufficient. 
    • OIED will make your enrollment official upon receipt of your signed paper application and verification of deposit payment.
All students are strongly urged to view the Faculty-led Study Abroad Financial Workshop slide presentation prior to submitting the signed application to OIED.

You are strongly encouraged to share the information contained in the Faculty-Led Education Abroad Program Online Student Application Form with your family and loved ones, before submitting your application.


Programs are open until full. If a program is full, the Faculty-led Education Abroad Program Online Student Application Form for that program will be deactivated and you will no longer be able to apply. The application deadline is 03/15/2021 but applications are accepted on a rolling basis so students are encouraged to apply early.

Appalachian reserves the right to cancel or alter the program format or to change costs in case of conditions beyond the university's control.

Dates / Deadlines:
Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline OIED Approval Date Start Date End Date
Summer II 2021 03/15/2021 ** Rolling Admission TBA TBA

** Indicates rolling admission application process. Students will be immediately notified of acceptance into this program and be able to complete post-decision materials prior to the term's application deadline.