Research Opportunities

Field Schools

Mohegan Archaeological Field School

The Mohegan archaeological field school teaches archaeology using an innovative collaborative approach. Students learn archaeological method and theory while surveying and excavating colonial-era sites on the Mohegan Reservation in Uncasville, Connecticut. The Mohegan field school operates as an equal partnership between the Mohegan Tribe and Tufts Anthropology. The project is designed to respect the sensitivities, interests, and needs of the Mohegan Tribe while conducting rigorous archaeological research. The field school brings together students and staff of diverse backgrounds to learn about colonial history, Mohegan history and heritage, the history of North American archaeology, and—not least important—the often-troubled relationship between archaeologists and Indigenous communities. While taking the field school, students stay on the Connecticut College campus.

For questions regarding the program, please contact Dr. Craig Cipolla.

Now accepting applications for the Mohegan Archaeological Field School 2024 (June 24-July 26). 

Programme for Belize Archaeology Project

Lecturer Lauren Sullivan offers an annual Archaeology Field School in the summer. As Ceramicist and Field School Director for the Belize Archaeological Project, she leads Tufts undergraduates and students from the University of Massachusetts in this project located on the Programme for Belize Rio Bravo Conservation Lands in northwestern Belize. Students participate in first-hand field excavation and laboratory research in a tropical rainforest setting that was the site of Maya occupation from ca. 900 B.C. to 900 A.D. They investigate social and political organization through the excavation of small site centers and large ceremonial centers.

This research is conducted through a research permit issued to Dr. Fred Valdez, Jr. granted by the Institute of Archaeology and the Government of Belize.

If you are interested in attending the Archaeology Field School, please contact Dr. Sullivan.

Directed Research

For Directed Research, you investigate a topic through field and/or library research and write an extended paper (approx. 30-40 pages). You take this as a one-semester, 3 SHU course. Topics can develop from field research you conducted during a Public Anthropology seminar, during Study Abroad, or during summer research. Alternatively, you can develop a topic from one that attracted you during a regular Anthropology course, and you can pursue it through library research alone. Examples of past topics include a comparison of medical and patient understandings of Muscular Sclerosis through an ethnography of patient-led MS support groups, and an analysis of gendered representations of "nature" and "culture" in the Body Shop.

You should have some previous experience of the topic you select, for example by having taken a course related to your topic. It is also preferable for your advisor to have some expertise relating to your topic.


During the previous semester

  • Identify your general topic.
  • Select a Directed Research advisor in Anthropology. This can be any Anthropology faculty member, and need not be your major advisor.
  • Begin to compile (and read through) a list of readings that you and your advisor have identified.
  • Identify a specific Directed Research topic
  • Register for Anthropology 197

If you plan to conduct summer field research

  • Research funding sources. Such sources at Tufts include the Dean's Research FundCitizenship and Public Service, and (for research abroad) the Borghesani Memorial Prize.
  • With your advisor's guidance, begin to identify your methods. What will you be doing, and where? To whom will you speak? What kinds of questions will you ask? Which activities will you observe? In which activities will you engage as a participant?
  • With the guidance of your advisor, write proposals for funding and submit them by the appropriate deadlines.
  • With the guidance and feedback of your advisor, write your Research Protocol and Informed Consent Forms for Tufts' Institutional Review Board (IRB) for research on human subjects. For the IRB Research Protocol Form, write a more detailed description of your thesis topic and methods, identifying any ways in which these could potentially harm your informants, and identifying protections that you will put in place to minimize any such harm.
  • When your primary advisor has approved your protocol and consent forms, submit them by the IRB's March deadline.

During your Directed Research semester

  • Complete your research.
  • Begin organizing and outlining the chapters and sub-sections of your paper.
  • Begin your writing
  • Meet periodically (at least every two weeks) with your Directed Research advisor.
  • Give a complete first draft to your Directed Research advisor.
  • Submit your final draft by the date agreed with your Directed Research Advisor.

Study Abroad

Study abroad provides valuable opportunities for broadening and deepening your Anthropology education. Many study abroad programs give you the opportunity to conduct your own research project. The Study Abroad office in Dowling Hall will help you select programs that offer such opportunities. Make an appointment with your Anthropology advisor to discuss your selections, explore possible research topics, and find other students who have attended similar programs. As long as you have conducted ethnographic field research, you can transfer your research project for Anthropology credit. Or you can build upon your research, using it as the basis for Directed Research or a Senior Honors Thesis in Anthropology.