Below is a list of frequently asked questions…
Our mission is to set the bar high for quality of research and student learning in field schools. Our large Academic Board, made up of scholars from top institutions around the world, conducts an annual peer-review of each field school, even returning ones, to vet each program for student safety (travel conditions, accommodations, student health and more), quality of teaching (reading requirements, syllabi, field trips etc…), and active research (Principal Investigator/field school Director’s publication record). For returning programs, our board reviews mandatory student evaluations from the past field school season(s).
Payments may be made online, by check or cashier check sent to the Institute for Field Research (for our address, click here). Students will be provided payment instructions once they have been admitted to a field school. Please note, payments made online will incur a 2.5% processing fee.
We recommend you and your child visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about health and safety abroad. Our program syllabi provide some information about immunizations recommended at the specific locations where field schools will take place.
Most of our programs do not require student visas, but some countries require tourist visas. Instructions about visa requirements for each program (if any) are posted on each field school web page under the “Travel” section. Additional visa information may be obtained at the US State Department International Travel website. Please contact IFR Staff (firstname.lastname@example.org) for the specific visa requirements for your child’s chosen program.
Traveling abroad and domestically presents inherent risk. The IFR has taken several measures to ensure that student safety is assured as much as can be. Unlike many universities who are self-insured, the IFR purchases a range of high end insurance policies from some of the largest insurers in the world. Students in all our international programs have a comprehensive health insurance policy. It covers sickness, and chronic and mental health conditions at 100% of the cost. We have a strong evacuation and extraction policy. We can remove students from any location anywhere in the world with one phone call – whether medical evacuation, political or natural disaster extraction and anything in between. We purchase intelligence services from a global private provider and monitor the world 24/7. We automatically enroll our students to the US State Department STEP program. All of our students receive safety orientations both before and on the first day of each program. Our faculty have all been working in the areas where we operate field schools for years. They are intimately familiar with local customs and traditions, know the landscape well and have deep relationships with local communities.
All our domestic programs are coordinated with local authorities which are informed of our operations. Students in domestic programs are covered by their own health insurance and evacuations are managed by local emergency services, as appropriate.
The IFR has strong, explicit and robust policy towards discrimination and harassment in the field. If students feel they cannot discuss personal safety issues with the field school staff, the IFR operates an emergency hotline where students can contact IFR personnel directly. Travel does involve risk, but we try to minimize this risk as much as possible.
There can be no more that six students to every staff member at an IFR field school. Our programs are vetted annually by our Academic Board to ensure that our faculty are both conducting excellent research and upholding high standards of pedagogy.
The IFR does not offer financial aid packages however, there are a number of need- and merit-based scholarships offered every year to ensure that finances are not a barrier for students wishing to gain field research experience. Please visit our Scholarships page to learn more. The IFR is not an accredited institution which means we cannot receive federal funding directly. Many universities, however, allow students to take institutional financial aid off campus. Check with the Financial Aid office at your school to see what aid you can apply to your IFR field school. Explore your eligibility for additional funds – including loans – through your home school before applying to an IFR field school. The Study Abroad office at your home institution may be of help and can be a good source of information. Because the credit units you earn for your IFR field school will likely be accepted at your home institution and applied towards your degree, your school should be able to process a Stafford Loan or other federal/state sources of support to assist your IFR participation.
Most IFR field schools run during the summer. Your annual financial aid package may be augmented (through additional allocation of funds) to cover the costs of tuition, estimated airfare and spending money. The summer is usually considered the first term of the academic year but policies may be different at your home institution. Please consult with your home institution about availability, eligibility and home campus deadlines for Financial Aid requests.
If you do plan to use Financial Aid to pay any portion of your field school costs, please follow these four steps:
1. Consult with a Financial Aid officer at your home institution regarding eligibility, availability and type of financial package. Complete all relevant paperwork.
2. Apply to an IFR field school. Once accepted, you will be sent an enrollment packet. Complete and send with your nonrefundable $500 Deposit Fee to secure a spot in the program.
3. Download the IFR Financial Aid Agreement Carefully read and make sure you understand the legal obligations you are taking upon yourself. Sign, date, scan and send as an email attachment to email@example.com. Once received, the form will be reviewed and IFR representative will sign on our behalf. A copy will be sent to you, usually within 36 hours.
4. Once Financial Aid funds are dispersed to you, forward balance of payment to the IFR. You will not be allowed to attend the field school if we do not receive your full field school payment five days prior to the beginning of your program.
529 Funds: All IFR field schools are accredited through our academic partner – Connecticut College. Therefore, all expenses associated with the field school –including tuition, air travel and miscellaneous expenses – are legitimate educational expenses and covered by 529 IRS rules. Students will get a letter grade on official transcripts at the end of the field school. Copy of the transcripts may be provided to the IRS as proof that the student attended a credit barring academic program.
There are no required prerequisites to attend an IFR field school. Many of our students have not had prior field research experience. We encourage people from diverse educational backgrounds to engage with hands-on research with the belief that it is a transformative educational experience, no matter if you would like to pursue an academic career or not.
Connecticut College is the school of record for the Institute for Field Research. Each full-length (4-5 weeks) field school is worth 8 semester credits, the equivalent of 12 quarter credits. Our shorter programs will either provide two or three semester credits. Please refer to the program syllabus to determine how many credits are provided for your field school. The IFR reports the grades assigned to all field school participants to Connecticut College and transcripts are processed and delivered to the permanent address as well as the home institution of each student. Most often credit transfer depends on your academic standing as well as how many credits you have already transferred into your home institution. Most universities accept Connecticut College credit units – there are very few exceptions. Students are strongly encouraged to discuss the transferability of the credit units with their own school official(s) BEFORE attending the field school. When meeting with school officials – usually the registrar or an academic advisor – students should print and bring the field school syllabus with them. It is also advisable to forward school officials the IFR website URL address so they may independently review the IFR academic merits and the way by which we manage our field schools. It is simple and easy to download the syllabus from the field school web page. Go to your field school web page and click on the ‘Download Syllabus’ button – it is located just under the program overview. The syllabus will load as a PDF file and you may print or save it to your computer.
Transcript Mailing Dates:
Summer Field Schools – October 20th
Fall Field Schools – January 23rd
Winter Field Schools – March 10th
Admission requirements differ from program to program. At a minimum, you must fill out an online application (click here to head straight to the IFR application portal). Some programs require phone/skype interviews, recommendation letters, or references. Please review each program webpage for application instructions and requirements.
Once your application is approved you will be asked to submit a $500 nonrefundable deposit payment. This payment is the only way to ensure a space in the program. The remaining portion of your payment should be paid by the tuition payment deadline — listed on each program web page — to avoid the $100 late fee.
Spaces in each program are limited and are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. The IFR does create waitlists for programs but these usually do not get used as enrolled students tend to attend programs.
Payments may be made online, by check or cashier check sent to the Institute for Field Research (for our address, click here). Students will be provided payment instructions once they have been admitted to a field school. Please note, when paying online students will be paying an additional 2.5% processing fee.
Each program consists of a required course curriculum of 8 semester credit units. Students are automatically enrolled in this curriculum. This curriculum is mandatory and cannot be dropped without terminating participation in the program.
For more information about each program’s curriculum, please read through the program syllabus. Each program syllabus can be downloaded from the program web page.
Please do not enroll in a program unless you are sure you intend to participate. Remember that your deposit is nonrefundable. Please read our Cancellation Policy carefully.
If you cancel your registration, the following applies:
* The $500 is not refundable under any circumstance.
* Tuition (minus the $500 deposit) is refundable until the tuition payment deadline. Visit the program page for the specific deadline for each field school.
* No refunds are available past the tuition deadline.
In order to cancel once you have registered, please email the IFR (firstname.lastname@example.org) and explain your reason for cancelling. Failure to formally notify the IFR of cancelation will result in a bill for the full program fee. For more, detailed information, click here.
It is very important that you submit a valid e-mail address that you check regularly when filling your application. Periodically, you will receive notices from the Institute for Field Research with important information about your program. An orientation session for your program will be arranged at least six (6) weeks prior to departure. This orientation will take place online and will be run by your own program director and an IFR staff member.
Guests (includes spouses, children, other family members and friends) are not allowed in program housing or on any program-related activity. The Institute for Field Research does not assist with housing arrangements for family, friends, or other guests of program participants.
Usually no. All students and staff are normally required to stay in the housing the project arranges. The cost of accommodations cannot be deducted from the program fee.
Accommodations at each field school are as diverse as the research projects themselves. Some are rudimentary, others more comfortable. More information is available at each field school web page under the “Accommodations” section. Complete details for housing, including address information, will be sent to all program participants and discussed during the pre-departure orientation.
We recommend you visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about health and safety abroad. Our syllabi provide some information about immunizations recommended at the specific locations where field schools will take place.
Most of our programs do not require student visas, but some countries require tourist visas. Instructions about visa requirements for each program (if any) are posted on each field school web page under the “Travel” section. Additional visa information may be obtained at the US State Department International Travel website. Please contact IFR Staff (email@example.com) for the specific visa requirements for your program.
You will need to contact the nearest passport agency. Many post offices offer passport services. The passport process usually takes 10-12 weeks. Expedited service is available for an extra fee. For more information, please visit the US State Department Passport Section. If you are not a citizen of the US, please check passport application procedure with the relevant government agency in your home country.
Each program requires a different type of application. Some require the completion of the online application form only, others require recommendation letters or online interview. The process is described for each program once you begin the application process.
Students attending a Domestic Program (any program within the US), must provide Proof of Health Insurance. The IFR is unable to provide health insurance for students attending domestic field schools.
It is difficult to predict. Some programs fill up within a few weeks, others take longer. It is a good idea to apply early (enrollment begins annually in November) and pay the deposit to secure a space in your preferred program. Applicants secure their spot on a first-come, first-serve basis and field schools close for enrollment when they have reached capacity.
Final payment deadlines are different for each program. Please check the program webpage for the deadline date. Payments made past the deadline will incur a $100 late fee. Students receiving financial aid to finance their field school or will be paying their tuition in installments according to an official payment plan may be exempt from this deadline (and late fee) but must contact the IFR to make appropriate arrangements and submit the respective forms.
Students may begin making payments immediately following acceptance to a field school. Students will be notified via email of status when the field school director complete the review process — usually within 48-72 hours after application.
If space is still available for the program, we allow students to enroll two weeks prior to the first day of the field school. Some field schools have earlier registration deadlines due to local research permit policies. Please contact IFR Staff to check if your field school of interest requires registration by a specific deadline.
In general there is no hard deadline to apply for IFR field schools, however, we encourage students to apply to their top-choice program early in the enrollment season as programs fill on a first-come, first-serve basis. The only way to secure your spot in your IFR field school is to pay the $500 non-refundable deposit once you have been admitted.
Programs are open to any student, from any major, and any university in the world. Attending students will be awarded 8 semester credit units through our academic partner – Connecticut College. You must be at least 18 or older to participate. Most participants are undergraduate students or graduate students early in their graduate school careers, however, you are not required to be currently enrolled in university to participate in an IFR field school.