The Center for Advanced Undergraduate Studies and Experience (CAUSE) is a unique center that supports the educational mission of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, providing special services, courses, and facilities that are not available at the departmental level. A goal of the center is to promote undergraduate research and study abroad/study away.  CAUSE-sponsored courses provide “real world experiences” for students – a chance to leave the classroom behind and spend time tackling a topic of contemporary importance in the field.


CAUSE was created in the early 1990s to promote interdisciplinary, problem-based learning opportunities for undergraduates. The centerpiece of CAUSE is a multi-semester seminar course that allows students to do theme-based research both in the classroom and out in the field. CAUSE courses focus on the political, economic, and physical environment of a selected country or area.  The two-semester CAUSE courses, open to juniors and seniors in the social sciences, natural sciences and engineering, also include a Maymester or summer travel component.

Applications for CAUSE 2018 Now Open

CAUSE 2018: Living on the Edge - Plate Tectonics and Society (EMSC 470 Sp/Su/Fall 2018) is an exploration of plate tectonics, from its mechanics to the role it plays in our society. The three semster course includes travel during Maymester 2018 where students will be able to trace the evolution of the western U.S. from Portland to San Francisco.  Students will carry out individual and team-based projects of their choosing, and will work together virtually and in person across the three semesters.

Learn more about CAUSE 2018