Application & Preparation

Observing lizards close-up in the Mojave Desert


Applications for the spring 2024 Natural History Field Quarter (NHFQ) class are now available and must be submitted online by Sunday, November 5, 2023 by midnight. 

NHFQ is 15-unit spring class open to ALL students. It is the only class you can take during your spring quarter. Upon acceptance, anyone may apply for a scholarship to waive part or all of the course fee. No previous camping or outdoor experience is required. See our suggestions for how to prepare to apply and be part of NHFQ. 

To learn more, come to our informational meeting on Wednesday, October 18 from 7-830pm in Natural Sciences 2 Room 233. If you cannot attend this meeting in person, here is a zoom link.  Also, peruse more of this site, visit the Norris Center in Natural Sciences II, room 239, or contact Chris Lay at 831-459-4763 or

The NHFQ 2024 application must be submitted online, including an uploaded google doc with answers to the final 8 short-answer questions. These final 8 questions will take time and effort to complete. Below are the 8 questions you need to answer. Remember to thoroughly answer each question, but limit your responses to no more than 2,000 words total per application. You can also access the questions on the online application itself. 

Final Short Answer Questions:

  1. Why do you want to take this course?
  2. One of the primary goals of NHFQ is to teach you how to develop your own knowledge about the natural world through your own direct personal observation, inquiry, and reflection. How do you think learning nature observation and inquiry skills will be valuable in your life beyond the course?
  3. How do you see this course fitting in with your broader academic interests at UCSC and/or your professional goals after college?
  4. Describe any previous experience(s) that you feel prepares you for this course.
  5. Describe one personal challenge you have overcome to get to where you are today.
  6. NHFQ can sometimes be physically and mentally challenging. What are some practices or approaches to self-care that you think will help you succeed as a participant on this course?
  7. During NHFQ, a rotating group of 4-5 students are responsible for cooking each day. Suppose it is your group’s turn to cook. You notice one of your group-mates frequently arrives later than the rest of your group, often disappears while others are cooking, and isn't doing their share of the work. How would you handle this situation?
  8. Is there anything else you would like to tell us about yourself?