Research and Fieldwork

Training in anthropology is not limited to the classroom. Students are urged to seek out extracurricular opportunities that will round out their anthropological studies.

Experiences outside of the classroom might include internships, field schools, faculty research collaborations, and independent projects, any of which may lead to a senior honors or thesis project.

Anthropology concentrators are highly encouraged to meet with either the undergraduate advisor or a faculty member with similar interests to discuss what options might be best for them.

Chiara Repetti-Ludlow, center, looks to Anthropology faculty member Parker VanValkenburgh during a lab meeting where their team is designing software to help catalog artifacts found on a dig in Peru.

A great way to learn methods and practice in anthropology is to assist a faculty member with their research projects.  This might involve aiding with data collection, processing the results of a study, or helping to prepare an article for publication.  In some instances, faculty members may even have opportunities for undergraduates to participate on their own field and laboratory projects. 

To find out more about what opportunities might be available, students are encouraged to use office hours to contact faculty members who have research interests similar to their own.  Generally, most faculty will want to have worked with a student in the classroom before they will be invited to participate in extracurricular collaborations.

Renovations in central plaza Ayacucho, Peru
Renovations in the Central Plaza, Ayacucho, Peru
Most undergraduate research experiences are completed on a voluntary basis. However, each semester the Anthropology Department offers a limited number of apprenticeships that provide a modest stipend for undergraduate researchers who are working with a departmental faculty member.  Students interested in applying for an apprenticeship should contact a potential faculty collaborator in the semester prior.

Brown University offers a number of fellowship and grant programs that support undergraduate research, often in collaboration with faculty - including UTRAs and Royce Fellowships. Well ahead of the application deadline, students should approach a faculty member about the possibility of collaborating on research.

Anthropological field schools offered externally to Brown are an excellent way for students to gain extracurricular research experience in a global context. Field schools are especially important for students interested in pursuing research in anthropological archaeology or biological anthropology.  There are a number of online resources to help students find a field school appropriate for their interests.  Any student interested in applying for a field school is strongly advised to contact a faculty member for advice regarding the potential merit of any program.

Anthropological Archaeology Field Schools

Biological Anthropology Field Schools

Socio-Cultural Anthropology Field Schools

Robert PreucelAdvanced anthropology concentrators are highly encouraged to engage in their own original research. This is especially true for those students considering pursuing an advanced degree in the field. Most often these projects are conducted as part of an honors thesis or senior research capstone project. Independent research is often an outgrowth of an earlier research experience, such as an apprenticeship or field school, and may be financially supported through an UTRA or similar award.

Students interested in applying their anthropological training in non-academic contexts are encouraged to explore internship opportunities. Both CareerLAB and BrownConnect can help students find an internship appropriate for their academic interests and long term career goals.

The Haffenreffer Museum provides opportunities for students conducting original research using anthropological collections or for students interested in Museum Anthropology. Such research can lead to an honors thesis or senior research capstone project under the direction of one of the Anthropology Department's faculty. More information is available on the Haffenreffer Museum website.