Department of Geography

Field classes

Field classes are an essential and stimulating part of all Geography degrees at Sussex

Egypt pyramidA particular highlight of Geography degrees at Sussex is the second year field class, running for up to two weeks over the Easter vacation. Sussex operates arguably one of the best and most ambitious field class programmes of any UK University; students are asked to select from a choice of four or five impressive and often distant destinations associated with the research interests of the teaching faculty who lead the trips. In recent years we have offered field classes to California, Vietnam, Thailand,  Morocco, the Seychelles, China, Dubai, southern India and Egypt.

Sounds interesting?  Then why not take a look at some field class videos including those by George Leach-Hutchings on the 2017 Los Angeles field class Claire Leapman a student on the 2016 China field class and one by James Fullbrook, a student on the Mojave field class in 2014. 
You can also view an archive of some student-produced field class videos on YouTube.

Select heading below to reveal further information

Zara SumptonThe Geography fieldtrip I chose was a 10 day jam packed adventure in Egypt. We travelled in and around Cairo, took a sleeper train to Aswan, visited Abu Simbel, Fayoum, and Alexandria to name a few of our locations.

The fieldtrip research question we were set was: the relationship between environmental management and political authority in Egypt. A central feature of the trip was visiting the New Valley Project under the Toshka spillway, where we saw a large scale irrigation project in progress and talked to the director about its development. We also took water samples and tested the salinity level and the pH balance at different points of the river Nile.

In our free time we looked around antiquities museums and learnt about Nubian history and heritage, we also saw an evening sound and light show on Philae Island a narrated journey through the temple to discover the legends of the ancient Egyptian Gods and Goddesses.

Egypt groupIt was exciting to travel around the country, we got to experience the capital’s metro system, drive through desert tracks and spend a night on a sleeper train complete with meals and an Orient express style carriage.

Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and bought his own experiences into discussions, hearing about his account of the 2011 revolution was most definitely a high light, it was so valuable to learn from and complemented our lecturer’s knowledge also.

Experiencing an alternative way and pace of life and culture was a significant part of the trip. By interacting with the locals, sharing stories and spending time with people we were able to gain an insight into different lifestyles.  I do genuinely miss the Egyptian humour and haggling in the bazaars.

Participating in this field trip abroad was an inspiring and incredible experience!

 Egypt sphinx    Palestine Club

First year students participate in a Sussex-based field weekend, learning about and exploring Brighton and the surrounding landscape.  Excursions may visit the Sussex coastline, the Ashdown Forest or follow the Greenwich Meridian.


Coastal group
Taking the learning process out of the lecture theatre and into the field not only provides students with essential practical experience of witnessing first-hand the interaction of people and landscape on a range of scales, but it also helps to develop students' skills in teamwork and independent thought. Equally important, the field classes serve to illustrate geographical ideas and methods introduced during lectures, seminars and tutorials.