American Association of Petroleum Geologists

AAPG - Education

AAPG Field Seminar Proposal Guidelines

AAPG Goals

The goal of the AAPG Education Department is to offer programs which help produce better geologists, and thus better prospectors. Thus, the Department tries to slant its courses toward concepts and skills that geologists can apply directly to their everyday work in hydrocarbon exploration or production. Concepts which are not applicable are therefore deemphasized, although, if important, are included as ancillary ideas.

AAPG field seminars offer an opportunity to view stratigraphic or structural settings on a large scale, and often in three dimensions. However, such an opportunity is in itself inadequate unless AAPG makes the critical link between outcrop observations and their subsurface applications using the kind of data traditionally used in the oil industry. Although students are ultimately responsible for making this mental link, they should receive the benefit of the experts' thoughts, i.e., the seminar leader should consider the needs of the audience.

AAPG's role, through its seminar leaders, is to provide effective encouragement for this transition by doing more than simply presenting information. When using outcrops, there are two basic approaches to providing this learning opportunity. The less favored one is the typical passive field trip, during which the leader demonstrates in detail the geology of a particular area. However learned and eloquent the presentation, the student is usually left to his own devices in determining the extent to which it applies to his job.

A second more desirable approach is the dynamic field seminar. Rather than just visiting outcrops and listening to attendant lectures, we expect a field seminar participant to pursue a rigorous course aimed directly at hydrocarbon exploration techniques. Whenever possible, the course lectures should integrate specific exploration or production examples using cores, wireline logs and reflection seismic data. Because most people learn better by doing, some form of direct student participation is highly desirable, whether this is presented as an outcrop, core or log exercise, or a simple, self-graded quiz offered in fun.

AAPG Criteria

To be considered and/or to continue as a AAPG field seminar course, a course should satisfy each of four main criteria:

  1. More than just a field trip, a field seminar combines field observations with far-reaching, explanatory lectures, and at least one exercise.
  2. A field seminar teaches principles and focuses on a specific aspect of petroleum geology.
  3. In the process of illustrating regional or local geology, a field seminar presents ideas in a way that can be easily adapted to exploration or production programs in other plays or basins.
  4. We expect lectures to include subsurface data to tie field observations to analogous situations likely to be encountered in exploration or production work, either in terms of general principles or by citing specific case studies.

Proposal Guidelines

Those interested in proposing an AAPG-sponsored field seminar should comply with the following guidelines and submit two copies of the proposal to the AAPG Education Coordinator. The proposal will then be forwarded to the Education Committee for its review and recommendation to the Education Department.

Field seminar proposals should include the following information:

  1. The title and a general description or overview of what will be seen/covered. This must include the purpose and scope of the course.
  2. Names and affiliations of all seminar leaders, including a biographical sketch of each leader.
  3. A day-by-day outline of the seminar, including descriptions of the materials to be covered, in terms of how it relates to petroleum geology. Preferably, the daily schedules should be submitted, including lecture subjects and speakers.
  4. Locations and a proposed date. Preference will be given to courses lasting one week or less.
  5. Minimum and maximum number of attendees which can be accommodated. Group size usually falls within the 10 to 25 range.
  6. Descriptions of any special arrangements, such as overflights, boat trips, etc. This should include a brief statement about whether attendees will need special equipment, like hip boots, Brunton compasses, etc.
  7. Insurance:
    1. Description of insurance arrangements for Domestic Field Seminars:
      AAPG will provide insurance to protect AAPG, its members and volunteers, so long as it is during the field seminar for AAPG. There will be no cost to the leader for this coverage. We request that AAPG be named as co-insurer with any insurance for chartered conveyance (bus or other vehicles, boats, overflights).
    2. Insurance arrangements for International Field Seminars:
      Field Seminar Leader will insure its own personnel and equipment and will indemnify AAPG against all claims in this regard. Field Seminar Leader is prepared to arrange any insurance which AAPG may require at AAPG's cost. We request that AAPG be named as co-insurer with any insurance for chartered conveyance (bus or other vehicles, boats, overflights). The AAPG will provide insurance to cover claims flowing from death, injury, or sickness only on claims brought about by third parties or non-participants. AAPG has no coverage for participants.
  8. Approximate tuition and what is to be included in that cost (e.g., meals, lodging, overflights, etc.) AAPG retains 25% of each field seminar tuition to cover publicity and administrative expenses. This amount should be included in the tuition figure.
  9. A detailed description, or preferably a mock-up sample, of the package of printed materials each student will take home after the course.

Course Suggestions

The following is a list of recurrent suggestions from past participants in field seminars. Course organizers will benefit from these constructive criticisms when planning their seminars.

  1. Care should be taken to spend an appropriate amount of time on all aspects of a geological problem and not become bogged down with a leader's parochial interest. This is a gray area because the success of a course is to some extent connected with the expertise of its leader.
  2. The length of the seminar days becomes a problem when a leader tries to show participants "everything." Students generally do not attend field seminars as a vacation, but a point of diminishing returns becomes apparent in late afternoon beyond which learning is minimal. To remain in the field after that point is counter-productive, and the situation becomes one of duress in which it appears that the leader is trying to "outlast" the participants. Some free time is important.
  3. Morning lectures are more effective than evening lectures because participants are rested and alert.
  4. Eliminate repetitive stops; if no new points are to be made, then the stop is probably unnecessary.
  5. A generalized route map with days and stops enumerated is a must.
  6. Well-illustrated course notes are extremely important. These should consist of more than a roadlog and a collection of reprints.

Incorporation of these suggestions will not only make a seminar more effective but more enjoyable as well. Remember, the participants' recommendations on a seminar's effectiveness and enjoyment are what keep enrollment up.

NOTE: For the purpose of protecting the field seminar participants from accidents, AAPG offers to the leaders vests and hats. In the event your seminar schedules stops on or around a highway or busy road(s), the orange colored vests might prevent any kind of accident. If your group will perhaps climb on the rocks, hard hats might prevent anyone of being hurt from falling rock and you should provide these. The field seminar leader needs to request the vests in plenty of time prior to the course.

Within the AAPG Education Department registration form, a Release and Indemnity Agreement is included and registrants must sign it before attending a field seminar – or any course for that matter. As of Oct. 1998, it has been necessary for registrants to sign the Agreement; including it in the registration form simplifies the procedure.

Proposals should be submitted to the AAPG Education Department.

AAPG Education Department: P. O. Box 979 • Tulsa, OK 74101  • FAX: 918-560-2678

Susan Nash
AAPG Education & Professional Development Director

Debbi Boonstra
AAPG Education Coordinator


American Association of Petroleum Geologists
Mailing Address: P. O. Box 979 • Tulsa, OK 74101-0979 • USA
Street Address: 1444 S. Boulder • Tulsa, OK 74119 • USA
Shipping Address: 125 West 15th Street • Tulsa, OK 74119 • USA
Phone: +1 918 584-2555 • Fax: +1 918 560-2665
Toll Free: 1-800-364-AAPG (2274) US and Canada only