Field Research. What’s it all about?

The IFR offers top quality, peer-reviewed field schools. What does that mean for you? When you participate in an IFR field school, you become part of a global community of scholars dedicated to the preservation and understanding of our shared cultural heritage and environmental surrounds. In a field school, you are not just a student. You are a steward. You are the researcher. IFR students contribute to data collection, processing, and interpretation that result in academic publications. The hands-on nature of our programs enable you to take part in cutting-edge science in the fields of archaeology, anthropology, environmental sciences, paleontology, and more. Our full length field schools run 4-6 weeks long and students’ accommodation depends on the location of the field school.

Being a student in an IFR field school. What is it like?

Participating in an IFR field school is an intensive experience. You will learn by doing. Field schools topics vary depending on the research focus, the region, and the climate. You may be in the center of Madrid excavating the remains of the Spanish Civil War or you may be in the heart of the Namaqualand, a coastal desert in the northwest corner of South Africa, looking at the cave dwellings of hunter-gatherers dating back 60,000 years. Far from the comfort of your classroom desk, field school requires you to get your hands dirty, work as a team member, and test yourself outside of your familiar environment. We encourage all prospective IFR students to carefully read through the syllabus and familiarize yourself with the unique conditions of your program before applying. We also encourage you to contact our team at or the directors of your desired program to ensure you find the field school that best fits your interests.

Professional and Personal Development. How can I leverage my field school experience?

The IFR was founded with the mission to break down barriers. The idea being that students, no matter where they matriculate, should have access to learn from and work with the best scholars in the world. When participating in an IFR field school with a staff to student ratio of 1:6, you will work closely with your faculty and peers. Often, field research projects are composed of a mix of individuals from different educational and cultural backgrounds. As important as conducting the research, the process of building connections with your faculty and peers during your IFR field school will fortify you not only on a personal level, but professionally. Being a part of this network is invaluable whether you choose to pursue a career in academia or not. Successfully completing a field school speaks to your ability to be a team player, your curiosity, and your work ethic. The professional and personal connections students build during their programs carry on and continue to give back in the future.

IFR vs. other field school opportunities. What’s the difference?

IFR field schools offer a much broader selection of field research opportunities than what is typically available at any given university. Using economies of scale, we strive to provide affordable programs for students. In the interest of making our programs as accessible as possible, the IFR fundraises annually to offer several scholarships for students to attend our field schools. In addition, undergraduate students may earn up to 8 semester credits (the equivalent of 12 quarter credit units) per program. Finally, and what is most unique, is our quality assurance for active research and pedagogical excellence at each field school. Our large  Academic Board peer-reviews each field school annually, even returning programs, to ensure the quality of student learning matches the quality of research at our programs.  This annual review sets the IFR apart and ensures the highest standard of field training for students.