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Some students need to take the road less traveled. Classroom experience is simply not enough. These students seek to challenge both body and mind in the pursuit of knowledge. They wish to enhance their academic careers and at the same time, hope to gain life experience that furthers their education in ways unavailable on most university campuses. Are you one of these students?

At the IFR, we embrace these distinctive learners. We provide students with the opportunity to join a leading group of archaeologists as they embark on expeditions of discovery throughout the world. Students expand their knowledge of the past, explore cultures vastly different than their own, and deepen their understanding of themselves by participating in archaeological fieldwork. It is the kind of academically rigorous, intellectually rewarding and physically demanding endeavor that asks of all its participants to dig deeper.  

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Our field schools are transformative, authentic, and immersive. They often are located in remote places. The research can be painstakingly detailed. Teamwork and collaboration are always critically important. So it is not uncommon for students to ask themselves at some point, “What am I really getting into here?”

To help answer this and other related questions, or as we like to say, “help you dig deeper”, we have gathered some first-hand accounts. Finding out what others have to say about their IFR experience will certainly add to yours.  

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Latest News

 Can a Nation Survive without Its Past?

National Science Foundation       

On May 20, in spite of strong opposition from nearly every scientific organization and research university in the country, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1806. That bill would make drastic 45 percent cuts to the National Science Foundation’s research funding for the social sciences. This includes archaeology. The legislation was adopted by a vote of 217-205. What can be done and how you could help stop these cuts?

Now the bill goes to the Senate. The SAA reports that Senate leadership says it wants to take a better, more traditional approach to funding the NSF—one that lets scientists, not politicians, decide where best to allocate research dollars. We believe this is the way to go, and we need your help to make sure members of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation are held accountable to that goal. If one or both of your senators are on the CST committee (listed below), please take the time to contact them and register your opinion on this crucial matter (here is a sample letter). Even if your senators do not sit on the committee, please consider sending an email to urge her/him to talk with their CST committee colleagues and vote to stop the budget cuts (another sample letter).


Republican Members

Democratic Members


What is the true value of an IFR Field School?

The cost of higher education is enormous. A year at Harvard will set you back $68,050 and at UCLA, $24,703. Archaeology field schools usually cost $6,000. Are field schools a good investment?

Study Abroad

A good field school is transformative, immersive and a great “force multiplier”. Nothing like a good field school will open doors for graduate school – both within and outside archaeology – or make a significant contribution to student ability to understand basic research, work in a team or perform under pressure. Field schools are also great addition to any resume. But when students are used as cheap labor and naïve sources of funding, the results are disastrous – to the student, to the faculty and for archaeology. Poor field schools are clearly a poor investment. How, then, can you identify a good field school? We suggest that the duration of the program, director’s reputation, number of awarded credit units, and most importantly, academic oversight provide clues.





Philippines - Ifugao is awarded NSF-REU

Students excavating a test pit at IfugaoIt is with pleasure that we are able to annouce an opportunity for students to attend one of our field schools for free. The Philippines - Ifugao field school has been awarded the Research Experience for Undergraduates grant from the NSF. This grant pays for airfare, room and board, and offers a stipend for credit units for up to eight (8) students. Because it is our mission to provide a high quality field school experience to students of all backgrounds, we are excited that this grant increases our ability to offer field schools to students of limited means.

To apply, visit the Philippines - Ifugao NSF-REU page.


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Dr. Stephen Acabado is an Assisstant Professor at UCLA, and the director of the Ifugao Archaological Project (IAP). To learn more about Dr. Acabado's research in the Philippines, visit his website.

The SAA and IFR join to offer two new $1000 Scholarships

The Institute for Field Research has teamed with the Society for American Archaeology to offer two $1000 scholarships -- one for best poster and one for best paper.

For information on how to apply, click here. To view other IFR scholarships, click here.

The Institute for Field Research (IFR) was established in 2011 to break down traditional institutional barriers and deliver archaeology field schools to students regardless of the university in which they matriculate.  By working with leading scholars from universities around the world, the IFR delivers a broad range of regional and temporal programs while ensuring excellence in research and teaching through a rigorous, annual peer-review process. 

Our vision is to raise awareness and enhance the protection of our shared human past.  We seek to reinforce the idea that archaeology is a public good by fortifying the place the discipline holds in the public consciousness and imagination.  Whether taken for required fieldwork training, additional academic credits, accelerated graduation, resume-building achievements, or simply to realize a once-in-a-lifetime transformative experience, IFR field schools infuse within students a lifelong relationship with archaeology.

The IFR and SAA together will sponsor two student awards for best paper and best poster at the SAA Annual Meeting. We seek to promote the participation of young undergraduate students in the discourse of the discipline.  We wish to encourage such students to take an active part in archaeological research and to experience the intellectual challenges and great rewards associated with practicing academic archaeology.  We would like to offer early support to potential future scholars.  We also hope to produce significant incentives for faculty to work closely with students and develop research papers that dramatically enhance the academic education experiences of students both at and after the completion of a field school program.

Professor Willeke Wendrich Appointed Joan Silsbee Endowed Chair of African Cultural Archaeology

The IFR happily announces that our Board Chair -- Prof. Willeke Wendrich -- has been appointed as the Joan Silsbee Endowed Chair of African Cultural Archaeology at UCLA. Willeke Wendrich is also a 

Willeke Wendrich 4

Professor of Egyptian Archaeology in the Near Eastern Languages and Cultures Department, Director of Digital Humanities, Editor-in-chief of the online UCLA Encyclopedia of Egyptology and Editorial Director of the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology Press.

Professor Wendrich recently edited the Egyptian Archaeology volume, and she is the director of one of our popular field schools in the Fayum region of Egypt. She has worked in the Fayum since 2002.

We are very proud to have you as part of our team. Congratulations Professor Wendrich for your great accomplishments.