Pre-Dissertation Fieldwork

All anthropology graduate students are required to undertake pre-dissertation fieldwork in the summer after the first year. This summer project is exploratory in nature, and is intended to give students an opportunity to make initial contacts, explore the terrain, and visit the areas in which they will eventually do their dissertation work.

Sometimes students may take this opportunity to work in related sites for gaining a comparative view of the field.

IRB permission is required for all research involving human subjects, and students must apply for clearance at least six weeks before approvals are needed. Students must provide the Internal Review Board with the name of an expert for the area in which the research will take place. Details of the procedures for application are available on the Homewood Institutional Review Board website.

In cases in which the student expects to write a dissertation based on archival sources or published literature, the summer may be used to work in libraries and archives.


All students are encouraged to seek project grants to obtain funding for pre-dissertation fieldwork or library work, to be supplemented if necessary by internal grants within the department.

In addition to other outside sources, applications may be made to Krieger School programs and centers such as the Arrighi Center for Global Studies; the Program in Latin American Studies; the Program for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality; and the Program in Jewish Studies. Please refer to the Funding page.

While the department will provide limited resources to students who are unable to secure funding, students must demonstrate that they made independent efforts to receive funding. Students are advised to plan for the resources they will require by exploring employment opportunities in the campus, such as working as research assistants to faculty in accordance with the policies of the university. Contact the department administrator for more information.