Field Trips: A Guide for Faculty

The Provost’s Field Trip Fund

Field trips enable the integration of on-campus and off-campus learning. Limited funding is available through the Provost’s Field Trip Fund for the purpose of incorporating a travel component of modest cost into an Amherst course. Faculty may apply for support if their departments/programs are not able to cover the cost of a field trip in full through departmental/program operating funds, gifts, and/or endowed funds. Funding priorities and details of the application process are described below.

Field Trips: Definition 

Field trips are considered college-sponsored travel, which is defined as any travel that is funded, credited, and/or arranged by the college. Faculty who are taking students off campus on field trips—most of which are of short duration and are to local destinations—are required to follow the protocols and policies outlined below. These requirements have been designed to advance and reflect the college’s commitment to equity, inclusion, and participants’ well-being.

Applying for Funding for Field Trips

All funding requests should be made by completing this form. Resources are limited, and funding priorities have been developed accordingly (see below).  Please review the funding priorities before applying.

The deadline for submitting the form is August 15 for fall courses and January 9 for spring courses. 

Funding Priorities

Requests Are Most Likely to be Funded When:

  • The field-trip form has been submitted by the appropriate deadline. 
  • The field-trip destination is local (i.e., within Hampshire, Hampden, or Franklin Counties).
  • The faculty member proposing the trip has sought funding from other sources before applying and has not been successful in obtaining full funding. (Funding provided through the Provost’s Field Trip Fund can be used to supplement funds obtained from other sources.) 
  • The field trip’s cost per person does not exceed $60.00.   
  • Two or more faculty members coordinate the trip as part of their courses, so some costs are reduced and more students can benefit. 

Please also note that only one trip per course will be funded, that funding is not guaranteed for any trip, and that trips that are optional for students will not be funded.  

Notification of Funding Awards

Notification of funding decisions is made prior to the start of the semester so that faculty can make information available to students about course-related travel at the start of the semester. This timeline gives faculty time to plan the trip and students time to plan for any health needs they may need to address before participating in the field trip (e.g., consulting with health care providers and/or obtaining additional medications) and to make other necessary preparations.  

Giving Advance Notice to Students  

Faculty need to give advance notice to students when a course has required events such as field trips (and also activities such as evening exams and film screenings) that occur outside the course's scheduled meeting time. If possible, notice should appear in the course description (e.g., “this course requires occasional attendance on Wednesday evenings”). In any event, this information needs to be announced on the first day of class and included on the syllabus. Faculty cannot require students to participate in a field trip that meets outside the course's scheduled meeting time if the trip conflicts with other classes, and participation cannot be required if the field trip has not been announced on the first day of class. Because students cannot change their first-year seminars, faculty of first-year seminars can recommend but not require participation in a field trip that meets outside the scheduled class time.  

Trip Planning: Procedures That Apply to All College-Sponsored* Trips with Students


For trips to destinations within Hampshire, Hampden, or Franklin Counties, and for courses with enrollments of eighteen students or fewer, a college vehicle must be reserved. All college drivers need to be credentialed through the Five Colleges Risk Management Office. For information on how to reserve college vehicles and auto insurance and accident reporting, visit the Transportation Services & Vehicle Registration page. 

For day trips beyond western Massachusetts, please use experienced adult drivers (e.g., drivers with at least five years of driving experience) for safety reasons. 

For overnight trips, faculty are asked to confirm with their department/program chair and academic department coordinator (ADC) to ensure that administrative support is available to help plan the trip. Flights can be purchased through the college’s travel hub, FCM, or through StudentUniverse, a student-friendly travel company that can invoice the college ( 

Trip Preparation and Travel Policies

Faculty taking students on field trips outside the Five-College area need to request a trip-specific waiver or informed consent through Five Colleges Risk Management (5CRM) at least two weeks in advance of the trip. (Q: What’s the difference between a waiver and informed consent? A: Waivers are for optional trips; informed consent is for required trips. Watch this short video for further explanation.) Trip leaders will be contacted by 5CRM when the online form is ready to share with students, and 5CRM will keep these forms on record. Faculty should be sure to share their class trip roster with the Office of Student Affairs by emailing Zara DiZoglio and Andy Tew so they can help manage any student affairs issues that may be unknown to the faculty member. Student Affairs also needs to be made aware of who is off campus on a college-sponsored trip.

For longer trips, e.g., two days or longer, faculty may want to have students complete the School Sponsored Travel Health History Form so staff in the Keefe Health Center can work with students on any health needs students may have while traveling.  

For trips longer than one week, trip leaders should consult with the Office of Global Education by contacting Janna Behrens ( at least four weeks in advance of the trip. For overseas trips, at least several months of planning is required. Contact Global Education for assistance with trip planning.  

Additional Resources 

Student Travel Policy
Student Trip Planning Steps for College-Sponsored Travel
The Office of Global Education’s Health & Safety While Traveling website


Please review the FAQs below (as well as student-focused extended-travel FAQs). Questions regarding risk management and the travel policy should be directed to Janna Behrens in the Office of Global Education.

All other questions should be directed to Polly Devereux in the Office of the Provost and Dean of the Faculty.  

These same steps are required for academic departments/programs interested in supporting students in college-sponsored activities.

Faculty-Led Field Trips FAQs