Student Field Trip Policy

Reference Number: S18-280
Senate Approval Date: Tuesday, April 03, 2018
Presidential Approval Date: 
Monday, April 23, 2018

                                                                                                      Policy #:                          S18-280

                                                                                                      Supersedes:                           N/A

                                                                                                      Senate Approval:     04/03/2018

                                                                                                      President Approval:  xx/xx/20xx

                                                                                                      Effective:                   08/15/2018

                                                                                                      Last Review:            Spring/2018

                                                                                                      Next Review:           Spring/2028

Student Field Trip Policy (CRAC)



Pursuant to Executive Order 1062, the following student field trip policy provides centralized definitions and policy guidelines (e.g., site assessment, liability waivers, emergency plans) consistent with risk management and other related policies, an oversight committee, and review process.


Key Words

Field trip, Student, EO 1062, risk management



Field Trip and Internship Risk Management Task Force, Educational Policies Council


Responsible Unit

The Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs Operations (AVP AAO) is delegated the responsibility for the development, implementation and maintenance of the student field trip policy and associated procedures, and to ensure there is a means for future review of the policy that is updated and communicated to faculty and staff at appropriate intervals. The Student Internship and Field Trip Policy Committee is chaired by the AVP AAO and assists the AVP AAO in the implementation and review of the SF State student internship policy.












  1. Background

On September 9, 2011, the California State University Office of the Chancellor issued Executive Order 1062 (EO 1062) concerning Field Trips. EO 1062 “establishes minimum standards for a campus field trip policy and procedures and delegates responsibility for implementation to the campus president.” The full text of EO 1062 is found in the Appendix. In Fall 2011 a task force was formed to develop recommendations for a student internship policy based on EO 1062 and risk management concerns.


  1. Purpose

This policy establishes minimum standards for SF State’s field trip policy and delegates responsibility for implementation to the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs Operations.

  1. Definitions

At SF State, there are numerous kinds of field trips: those that are course-based and those that are not; those which are faculty-led and those, which are not.

a. Course-based, faculty-led field trips (from EO 1062): “A field trip is a University course-related, off-campus activity led by a faculty or staff member and designed to serve educational purposes. A field trip would include the gathering of data for research (such as at a geological or archaeological site), museum visit, participation in a conference or competition, or visits to an event or place of interest. The duration of a field trip may be a class period or longer, and could extend over multiple days. This definition does not apply to activities or placements in the context of a teacher preparation program, intercollegiate sports, or service-learning placements, all of which are governed under separate policy.” Also included under this category are classes in which every session meets off-campus in a non-University owned or leased property.


b. Course-based, non faculty-led field trips: A course-based, non faculty-led field trip is a University course-related, off-campus activity assigned by faculty (required or optional) but in which students participate on their own. There are two kinds of field trips with students working on their own: field research and independent activities.

Field research. Either faculty or students choose the specific location of the field trip, based upon the broad definition of the required activity. The duration of these field trips is defined by the nature of the activity. These trips include those in which students are involved in field research under grace period or continuous enrollment for their culminating experience projects.

Independent activities. Independent activities are activities chosen by students under a general requirement in a class. They include, for instance, art, dance, music or humanities classes with student assignments to attend performances or go to museums, political science or public administration classes with student requirements to attend city council or board of supervisor meetings, hospitality classes requiring students to observe service provision at hotels, business classes visiting companies to observe their activities, or recreation, parks and tourism students required to engage in a variety of different recreational activities.


c. Non course-based, faculty-led field trips: These are activities led by faculty related to the general area of department or faculty interests, or professional development not required for any course. The duration and location are indeterminate. Examples could be excursions to any site or kind of activity, including trips to museums, events, field research, or participation in conferences.


d. Non course-based, non faculty-led field trips: These are independent, off-campus activities not assigned by faculty but engaged in based solely upon student interests. These could include student participation at conferences related to student intellectual or career interests, professional development, or independent field research. Student organizations and their activities are included in this category.


e. Department led off-campus events: These are off-campus events led and organized by departments and programs rather than by faculty. They are often commencement-related or end of year-related events or other kinds of celebrations.


  1. Field Trips and Risk Management Requirements

Academic Affairs Operations is responsible for the implementation of these policies. Each semester, every College Office will be charged with informing departments of their responsibilities with regard to field trip policies, and collecting documentation of compliance with policy. Colleges will also be responsible for compiling and maintaining a list of courses with off-campus field trips. Departments will be responsible for enforcing field trip policy compliance.


  1. Course-Based, Faculty-led Field Trips: For field trips in this category, faculty will need to obtain waiver of liability and emergency contact forms from students and submit copies to their College Office prior to leaving on field trips. Students should be provided with an itinerary, health and safety information, emergency procedures, and the student code of conduct, prior to the field trip. Site assessment should be conducted for this category of field trip. Academic Affairs Operations will be responsible for defining what is required in a reasonable site assessment, when a physical site assessment is required, and what administrative unit is needed to complete that physical site assessment.


  1. Course-based, non faculty-led field trips:

Field research. Students involved in field research, under grace period, or continuous enrollment should provide waiver of liability forms and emergency contact information for the semesters in which they are enrolled in culminating experience courses and subsequent semesters’ work, until their research is completed. This should be provided to the appropriate faculty member or coordinator, who should, in turn, provide copies to their College Office prior to the field trip.


Independent activities. Waiver of liability and emergency contact forms are not required from students in independent activities types of course-based, non-faculty-led field trips. Those students are responsible for choosing their event and providing their own transportation, paying any related costs and shouldering any risks involved.


All other types of field trips and Department led off-campus events (Section III c, d, or e). Waiver of liability and emergency contact forms are not required from students for other types of field trips or for Department led off-campus events. Students are responsible for accepting any risks involved.


  • If a field trip is required for a course, it either needs to be held in an accessible location or alternative assignments need to be developed.
  • Faculty should provide for an alternate assignment for students unwilling to accept the risk of participation.
  • When using equipment on the field trip, faculty should provide training on the use of that equipment.


  1. Student Internship and Field Trip Policy Committee

The purpose of the Committee is to:

  • Implement both Student Internship and Field Trip Policies
  • Develop appropriate internal controls to ensure policy compliance
  • Review student internship and field trip policies and practices, and provide recommendations for any necessary changes
  • Provide an annual report to the office of the Provost. The report shall include a review of current year’s activity, trends, issues and initiatives.
  • Hear challenges to existing policy, and, when appropriate, recommend exceptions to policy


The Committee consists of the following members:

  • AVP Academic Affairs Operations (Chair)
  • Dean, Division of Graduate Studies or designee
  • Dean, Undergraduate Education and Academic Planning or designee
  • Two (2) College Associate Deans selected by Provost
  • Campus Risk Manager or designee
  • Director, Institute for Civic and Community Engagement (ICCE) or designee
  • Two (2) faculty or staff members appointed by the Academic Senate to staggered three-year terms, chosen from departments with required field trips
  • University Counsel
  • Representative of the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.


The Committee should meet at least once per semester with an annual report to the Provost and the Academic Senate due in June each year.


  1. Document Retention

SF State will retain documents in each College office related to each field trip for a minimum of three years, consistent with systemwide and campus document retention guidelines (see Information retained includes the name and contact information for the field trip site, student information, and executed liability waivers retained together after the conclusion of the semester/quarter during which the field trip took place. Electronic copies of the documents are permissible.



  1. Implementation

The Student Internship and Field Trip Policy Committee is to be formed on a schedule developed by Academic Affairs Operations. This policy shall be in effect the year after this policy is approved by the Academic Senate, allowing at least two semesters to develop and implement its provisions, for all courses offering field trips, and shall be subject to review and revision at the time the Student Internship and Field Trip Policy Committee submits its annual report to the Provost and Academic Senate. This policy will be reviewed every three years.


Appendix A: Field Trip Policy and Procedures—CSU Executive Order No. 1062