The University of Glasgow Exploration Society has been helping teams of undergraduate students explore the world on zoological and geographical expeditions for many years. The earliest record we have is of an expedition in 1920 and over the past 90 years hundreds of students have had the chance to undertake research in the field.


Glasgow University Exploration Society was officially founded in 1957 to “promote exploration and scientific fieldwork by members of the University”, which includes both students and staff, by sending expeditions abroad in the summer vacation. The commitee consists of a President, Honorary President, Secretary and various committee members. Sir Hector Hetherington, the University Principal at the time, was the first Honorary President. You can download a copy of the society constitution here.


The first official expedition in 1957 was to the Langjökull in Iceland, and in 1958 a party returned to Iceland to survey the Vindheimajökull for the Icelandic History Museum. Since 1958 other world-wide projects have sent members to locations such as Sweden, Austria, Corsica, Bolivia, Canada, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Ecuador, Sierra Leone, Trinidad, Peru, the Himalayas, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Gambia and Tobago. The expeditions have involved projects such as conducting wildlife studies, especially of endangered species, conservation projects, and studying the geo-morphology of glaciations in Iceland. Further details and reports can be found by clicking on the Past Expeditions link.


Originally the Department of Geography provided facilities for the meetings, though in recent times the Society has been run through what was the Division of Ecology and Environmental Biology (now the School of Life Sciences). The society has a membership of around 200 staff and students across many University departments, particularly from Geography and Biological Sciences. The society helps students with all aspects of organising a scientific expedition, from initial finance and fundraising, to field work and accommodation. You can find out more by following the links above including details of all of this years expedition teams.


All matriculated students of the University are eligible to join the society and we actively encourage those from outside the sciences. Membership is £3 per year for students and £6 for staff. We do also offer a joint membership with the Zoological Society. Membership can be purchased here


We hold two meetings a year, the first, in October, is the Proposals Evening where those planning expeditions present details and invite applicants. The second meeting, in February, is a Report-back Meeting where the expeditions from the previous year report their results. We are currently discussing holding socials throughout the year, so make sure to check our social media pages often to be kept up to date with the latest news.

To join ExSoc, visit our stall at the Fresher’s Fair, or find the membership link via our Facebook or the link above. 

If you have any questions at all, don’t hesitate to get in touch through our social media pages or through