Fieldwork is an important part of teaching and research at MSU. Fieldwork includes any work, study, or research approved by MSU and conducted by faculty, staff, or students at a site other than the MSU campus. In MCOSME, these are typically outdoor field experiences, although fieldwork can include visits to indoor facilities such as greenhouses and testing facilities. 

MSU has developed a Fieldwork Safety Manual to assist in planning and preparations and communicating these plans to participants and responsible offices at MSU.

The procedures and guidelines outlined in the manual are intended to help prepare for health and safety concerns encountered when conducting fieldwork. Faculty, staff, and students should be appropriately trained, equipped, and prepared to assess and minimize risk and provide aid to themselves and their colleagues in case of an emergency in the field.

Use the links below to assist in developing a fieldwork safety plan:

  • Fieldwork Safety Manual The link goes to a complete PDF of the manual, which includes definitions and guidance for completing the fieldwork safety plan forms. Categories of fieldwork are:  
    • Opportunistic fieldwork: course-required field surveying or sampling by fieldwork members during portions of the, or throughout the entire, semester both on and off campus (e.g., insect or photo collections).
    • Local fieldwork: during university business hours (i.e., excludes overnight and weekend or weekday trips that exceed university regular semester hours).
    • Extended/remote fieldworkincludes one or more of the following: outside university regularly scheduled course hours, in areas where there topographically challenging terrain, areas that are distant or have minimal roads, such that accessing medical and other emergency support requires significant time and effort.
    • International fieldworkany work conducted outside of the United States.
  • Fieldwork Safety Forms Clicking on the link will open a Word version of the forms, including the following required forms:
    • Acknowledgement of Fieldwork Members
    • Acknowledgement of Fieldwork Leaders
    • Fieldwork Description and Site Contact Information
    • Risk Assessment
    • Emergency Services, Procedures and Training
    • Medical Plan
    • Communications List
    • Release and Indemnification Agreement for Adult Students

Forms require signatures from the department chair, and may require the dean's signature (if extended/remote or international) and president's signature (if international).

DDRS is MSU property, but fieldwork at DDRS still requires completion of the fieldwork safety forms. Additional proposal and information on planned surveying and collecting must be provided to the DDRS Director Dr. William Cook.


University-supported travel also requires a request for travel authorization be completed and approved before the travel occurs. Documents and MSU policies and procedures for travel are found on the Travel Management page of the Business Office.