Experiential Learning

Experiential learning is the process through which students engage with anthropology outside of the classroom setting. By participating in experiential learning opportunities, students create community, gain practical skills, and participate in activities that enhance their undergraduate experience. Whether they continue with anthropology or try something entirely different, the anthropology department’s experiential learning programs provide students with an excellent basis to further their life opportunities outside of the university setting. 

Field Studies and Internships

Field studies are 2-5 unit, independent study courses arranged between a faculty member and a student. Topics of study vary by student interests, opportunities available, and faculty sponsors. For example, in the past students have worked at local schools, volunteered with local non-profits, or interned with local organizations. These opportunities usually culminate in an essay on the experience and findings or other methods of assessment as arranged by the faculty sponsor and student.

Internships are generally found through external programs. The Internship Coordinator is available to assist students with finding and participating in internships. However, the internships are not hosted through the UCSC department and therefore must be petitioned to count for course credit.

For more information, please see the Internships/Field Studies page.

Field Schools

Anthropology field school programs are opportunities for anthropology students to gain valuable experience in the field. These programs are usually offered during the summer, and, while many are focused on archaeology, there are field programs that focus on other aspects of anthropology as well. Information about field school programs is posted in the Anthropology department and announcements are sent out through email throughout the year. Students should also talk to anthropology faculty about field school opportunities.

Students who complete a field school course through a four-year university may petition to have it count towards the Anthropology Major requirements as ONE Upper-Division Elective – field school courses cannot count toward requirements for the Anthropology Minor.  Field school courses will count towards the two-course maximum for transfer credit.

The Whats, Whys, and Hows of Fieldwork 


Each professor within the department has their own laboratory. These laboratories provide many opportunities for undergraduate involvement. The majority of students begin by enrolling in a 2-unit laboratory tutorial course that teaches lab safety and guides students through the basic functions of the anthropology labs. This tutorial course gives students the opportunity to determine their particular lab interests and guides them to other anthropology labs and professors with research that is of interest to the student. Admission to the lab tutorial is by interview with the Lab Manager. Faculty determine further involvement in their research laboratories

To discover more information about laboratory opportunities, visit the labs page.

Writing Assistant Program

The writing assistant program is a program developed by the anthropology department to assist students with steps involved in the writing processes. Writing assistants are available during drop-in hours to all students seeking assistance with their writing.  Students may only become writing assistants by referral. Professors nominate students that have exhibited exceptional writing skills in their courses for writing assistant positions. Students may speak with their professors to learn more about this position and how to become eligible as a writing assistant.

Writing Assistant Program Home Page

Peer Advising

Peer advising is a position within the anthropology department where junior and senior anthropology students are trained to advise undergraduate students. Peer advisors assist with the major declaration process and provide information on anthropological opportunities inside and outside of the department. The Undergraduate Advisor sends out calls for peer advisors through email. You are most suited to be a peer adviser if you have in-depth knowledge of the department, its opportunities and academic processes, and have taken a variety of anthropology classes.

Advising Home Page

See Also