Stanford University

Preparing for field school participation

Before departure to all field schools

Students accepted to our field schools must confirm their participation to their trip's leader by March 10, 2020. Due to a funding cap from VPUE, students who plan to participate in an archaeology field school cannot receive a major grant or a Chappell-Lougee scholarship within the same academic year as their field school.

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

Funding information for all field schools:

  • Acceptance to an Archaeology Center field school 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 schools. 
  • Funding is generously provided by VPUE. Due to a funding cap from VPUE, students who plan to participate in an archaeology field school cannot receive a major grant or a Chappell-Lougee scholarship within the same academic year as their field school.

Before departure to Project 'U Mari

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 school, but is a requirement of participation for accepted field school 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 schools 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 school 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 school differs from project to project. In general, students should expect to work full days, six days a week for the entirety of their field school experience. Read more about past students' experiences in the field:

'U Mari

Chavín de Huántar

Expectations upon return to Stanford

Upon their return to Stanford, the Archaeology Center requires that all field school students participate in SURPS (Symposia for Undergraduate Research and Public Service). Students from each field school 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 school fair, a promotional event each year for the upcoming season's field schools. We appreciate the contribution of recent field school participants in helping us advertise our opportunities!

Some of our field school 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 school right for me?

If you have questions about the day to day experience of the field school, participation requirements, or the application process, please contact the Archaeology Center's student services officer, Olivia Bethel (ofbethel@stanford.edu).