Academic Field Trip Policies

Academic field trips can be an important—and enjoyable—element of education. They often significantly enhance the content of a course by providing a type of information hard to convey in the classroom. Site visits contextualize or enhance historical or scientific data; interviews with participants, or observation of species, phenomena, or events often become an important part both of course content and the study of a discipline’s methodology.

For purposes of this document, an academic field trip is defined as a course-related activity that serves educational purposes and occurs outside of the classroom at a location other than on the campus at which the course is regularly taught. For courses that, for special purposes such as field research, are regularly taught outside of a classroom or at locations away from campus, these same recommended practices apply. Academic field trips are, by definition, university-sponsored events and must conform to the following guidelines:

Guidelines for Instructors

  1. All required academic field trips must be clearly identified as such in the course syllabus at the beginning of the term, with detailed information about date, time, locations, means of transportation, and any fees for which the student is responsible. If an unforeseen educational opportunity arises later in the term, as soon as possible the faculty member should discuss it with the class. In that case, such a trip may not be required of all students.
  2. In the first class of the term, the faculty member must discuss with students in appropriate detail any risks associated with the activity of the field trip, expectations for behavior during the trip and, relevant emergency preparedness information. Such a discussion must be repeated no less than a week in advance of the trip.
  3. The faculty member must review the information included on the International Toolkit Web site, even if the travel is domestic, and ensure they follow the steps required of group leaders.
  4. The faculty member must announce that if any student who is enrolled in the course may potentially need special accommodations, such a student should speak as soon as possible with the Resource Office on Disabilities (432-2324) for information and assistance. The Resource Office on Disabilities is located at 35 Broadway, room 222.
  5. Either the faculty member or some other responsible University official designated by the faculty member must accompany all academic field trips. While teaching fellows may participate in academic field trips, a teaching fellow is not an appropriate leader for such a trip.
  6. Whenever practical, the site of the academic field trip should be visited in advance by the instructor, or an appropriate University official, to evaluate potential risks and to minimize, through effective planning, any risks associated with the location.
  7. No later than three business days before the event, the faculty member must furnish both the relevant DUS office and Joel Silverman of the Yale College Dean’s office ( with complete information about the date, duration, location, and transportation plan for each academic field trip. The faculty member must also provide these same offices a roster of the names of all participating students, along with the names and cell phone numbers of all faculty or other University affiliates who are accompanying the students. All groups must also be registered on the Office of the Secretary’s travel registration page. Individual travelers do not need to register separately unless they are going ahead of time, or staying after the field trip ends. This registration should be done even if the travel is domestic, to aid in the event of an emergency in a particular city. In addition, the faculty member must identify to Joel Silverman the name, title, and cell phone number of a responsible person on campus (e.g., DUS, Asst or Assoc DUS, Dept Registrar) who has received complete information about the trip and can serve as a local contact in the event of an emergency.
  8. If a field trip is optional each student must complete a waiver form. If a field trip is a course requirement as explained in number 1 above, it is not necessary for students to complete waiver forms.
  9. A contract may be required for the use of of facilities or the procurement of other goods or services. If a faculty member is asked to sign a contract, the contract needs to be reviewed by the Office of Procurement.

Guidelines for Students

  1. Students participating in academic field trips are expected to conform to the same standards of behavior as published in the Undergraduate Regulations. Any violation of the undergraduate regulations or local, state, or federal laws may result in disciplinary action or sanctions by the University.
  2. Students who choose to travel to the site of a field trip early, remain at the site after the planned activity is completed, or who separate from the group, do so at their own risk.


  1. Whenever possible, chartered buses or University-owned vehicles should be used for transportation on an academic field trip. Public transportation (e.g., regularly scheduled trains or buses) is also an appropriate means of transportation for an academic field trip. It is recommended that privately owned vehicles not be used for transporting students on academic field trips.
  2. The use of transportation provided by the University for the field trip is strongly urged. Anyone who chooses to take alternative transportation does so at their own risk.
  3. If a privately owned vehicle is used for transportation, the following requirements must be met:
    1. The vehicle must be insured for liability with limits of at least $300,000 per accident
    2. The insurance carried by the owner of the vehicle is primary, and the University’s insurance will not cover any accidents unless the limits of the owner’s policy are exhausted
    3. The vehicle must be current on all maintenance
    4. If the vehicle is owned by someone other than the driver, the owner must give permission for its use
  4. Students are not to transport other students
  5. All drivers must meet the following requirements:
    1. Driver must pass the University’s Driver Safety Awareness Class
    2. Driver must have an acceptable driving record, which consists of:
      1. No more than one violation in the past two years
      2. No violations more serious than a speeding ticket or failure to obey traffic control
      3. No at-fault accidents in the past two years
  6. If a University-owned vehicle is used for an academic field trip, that vehicle is insured by the University for liability and physical damage.
  7. A vehicle commercially rented by a University official that is being used for transportation for an academic field trip is thereby insured by the University for liability and physical damage. The University official renting the vehicle must not allow others to operate it.
  8. The use of a private passenger van with a capacity of twelve or more for transportation to and from an academic field trip is prohibited. Use of mini-buses is acceptable.
  9. If a chartered bus is used, the bus must be secured from a company approved by Yale Procurement; see the approved list from Yale Travel Management.
  10. Any traffic or parking violations are the sole responsibility of the operator of the vehicle.