Stanford University

Preparing for field experience participation

Before departure to all field experiences

Please note: The Archaeology Center will be making a determination as to whether our field experiences will be conducted in person or remotely by early spring quarter 2023. 

Students accepted to our field experiences must confirm their participation to their trip's leader by March 30, 2023. Due to a funding cap from VPUE, students who plan to participate in an archaeology field experience cannot receive a major grant or a Chappell-Lougee scholarship within the same academic year as their field experience.

Students accepted to our field experiences are required to participate in pre-departure meetings with the faculty leader of their program in the quarter prior to departure. Each field experience has different pre-departure requirements that will be communicated by the faculty leader. 

Funding information for all field experiences:

  • Acceptance to an Archaeology Center field experience comes with funding for eligible expenses subject to the budget of the project. Housing, daily meals, and materials used on site will be fully covered by the project. The Archaeology Center will issue a stipend to students to purchase flights based on real costs of flights to and from their field site. Students will be informed of the stipend limit prior to booking. Per university policy, the Archaeology Center does not pay for personal travel outside the dates or locations of field experiences. 
  • If Stanford Archaeology projects are run remotely, students will receive stipends from VPUE. Stipend amounts will be determined by VPUE and will be communicated to students when they are accepted to the field experience.
  • Students who plan to participate in an archaeology field experience cannot receive a major grant or a Chappell-Lougee scholarship within the same academic year as their field experience. 
  • Note for 2022-23: To be eligible, undergraduate students must have completed two full-time enrolled quarters this academic year by the time their full-time grant funded project begins, and they must use their Flex Term during the full-time project opportunity. 

Before departure to Project 'U Mari

Note for 2023: These requirements are only for in-person field experience participation.

Students who have been accepted to dive at the 'U Mari site are required to pass:

  • Open water scuba certification
  • A CPR/first aid course
  • A medical exam for diving, which can be completed at Vaden Health Center

Proof of certification is required prior to departure, and will be reviewed by Stanford University's diving safety officer. Further diving certifications are required and will take place on site during the field season. Having these certifications is not a requirement of application to the field experience, but is a requirement of participation for accepted field experience students.

Students who have been accepted for a non-diving position are required to complete:

  • A CPR/first aid course
  • A medical exam (not diving-specific) 

In the field

Each of our field experiences is part of an ongoing research project led by a Stanford faculty member. While in the field, undergraduates are expected to contribute to the team effort of the archaeological project at the faculty member's direction. Field work can take the form of a number of different activities, from clearing undergrowth in preparation for excavation to laboratory analysis of archaeological samples. Each day's activities can look different, and may change depending on the evolving direction of the research. Students participating in a field experience should be prepared to be flexible and responsive to the instructions of the faculty member or other senior project staff.

A day in the life at a field experience differs from project to project. In general, students should expect to work full days, six days a week for the entirety of their field experience. Read more about past students' experiences in the field:

'U Mari

Expectations upon return to Stanford

Upon their return to Stanford, the Archaeology Center requires that all field experience students participate in SURPS (Symposia for Undergraduate Research and Public Service). Students from each field experience are expected to work together to complete an application, prepare a poster, and present at the SURPS event the Friday of reunion-homecoming weekend.

Students may also be asked to participate in our field experience fair, a promotional event each year for the upcoming season's field experiences. We appreciate the contribution of recent field experience participants in helping us advertise our opportunities!

Some of our field opportunities also require a fall quarter class to complete research projects that emerged from the summer's field work. The faculty leader of each project will communicate with their students about that expectation prior to departure.

Is a field experience right for me?

If you have questions about the day to day experience of the field opportunities, participation requirements, or the application process, please contact the Archaeology Center's student services officer, Maria Kristina Guillen (mguillen [at]