Application & Preparation

Observing lizards close-up in the Mojave Desert


Applications for the spring 2023 Natural History Field Quarter (NHFQ) class are now available and must be submitted online by Saturday, November 5, 2022 by midnight. 

NHFQ is 15-unit spring class open to ALL students. It is the only class you can take during your spring quarter. Third and fourth year students with a clear interest in pursuing environmental-related careers are preferred. 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 zoom informational meeting on Thursday, October 27 from 7-830pm.  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 2023 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 paragraphs per question. 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. Describe any previous experience that you feel prepares you for this course.
  3. Describe one personal challenge you have overcome to get to where you are today.
  4. A simple definition of natural history is the study of the natural world with an emphasis on direct personal observation and interpretation. What are your primary interests in the area of natural history as defined above?
  5. How do you see this course fitting in with your academic interests at UCSC and/or your professional goals after college?
  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?