For undergraduate students of anthropology, research opportunities can come in the form of fellowship or scholarship programs, field schools, and internships, paid and non-paid. Here are some ideas of how to go about doing anthropological research.
So you think you might want to do research, but have no idea where to start? Typically, Penn Anthropology students begin their research process by talking to a professor that they really enjoyed in class, taking this opportunity to discuss their interests as well as hear about work the professor is doing. From here, students can work independently on an original idea (apply for funding, participate in an internship, write a thesis, etc.) or seek out mentorship from that faculty member to either work on their own thesis or as a part of a faculty research project (when applicable). If you still aren't sure how to start, email the Undergraduate Coordinator for advising.
The Penn Anthropology undergraduate curriculum is designed to allow students to easily study abroad. In the past students have studied all over the world, including Seville, Spain; Otago, New Zealand; Cairo, Egypt; Shanghai, China; Alicante, Spain; Havana, Cuba...and many more. To begin preparations for your study abroad, you must first complete the "Penn Abroad 101" module. Once you have completed this course please contact the Penn Abroad office to set up a meeting to discuss your options and begin the application process. Once you have been accepted to a program and have a course plan solidified with the help of your Penn Abroad advisor, email the Penn Anthropology Undergraduate Coordinator to set up a meeting to review your plans. We strongly encourage every student to consider the option of study abroad and direct you to contact the office of Penn Abroad with any questions.
Penn Anthropology recommends that each student participate in an internship, fellowship, or field school program before they graduate. With an abundance of fellowship and field school opportunities both on and off campus, every student can benefit from professional work experience. The best student resource when looking for an internships and fellowships is CURF Research Directory.
Undergraduate Journals and Conferences
Undergraduate journals and conferences are the perfect way for students to fine-tune their professional skills and prepare for post-graduation. In addition to the Penn Anthropology Undergraduate Research Journal- In Situ and the Penn Anthropology Research Conference- Anthrofest, there are many opportunities for undergraduates to utilize. The best resources for this is the National Association of Student Anthropologists Listserv or the Council on Undergraduate Research.
Undergraduate Research Fellowship
Applications Due: second Friday in March
The undergraduate research fellowship (URF) is an opportunity for sophomore and junior anthropology majors conducting anthropological research to receive funding for their project. Students must email their applications to the undergraduate chair and undergraduate coordinator by the second Friday in March.
Penn Anthropology students are encouraged to seek supplemental funding for their research through one of the following options: Grants, Fellowships, Scholarships, Awards/Prizes. For the most up to date resources visit the CURF website and sign up for their list serv.
Graduating with Honors (or "Honors Thesis")
To graduate with honors (or complete an "honors thesis") students must complete and submit their final copy of the thesis to the undergraduate chair and undergraduate coordinator by the last day of classes in the student's last semester of study. IN ADDITION TO maintaining a 3.5 GPA on all courses applied to the student's anthropology major. Students must contact the undergraduate coordinator to "opt-in" (be considered) for graduating with honors. All students who are considering completing an "Honors Thesis" are strongly encouraged to submit their research to In Situ and present their work at Anthrofest.
ScholarlyCommons is a repository for the scholarly output of researchers at the University of Pennsylvania. It promotes dissemination of their work, and preserves it in a freely-accessible, long-term archive. ScholarlyCommons allows researchers and other interested readers anywhere in the world to learn about and keep up to date with Penn scholarship. Take a look at the Penn Anthropology archive of senior theses, In Situ (our undergraduate journal), and Anthrofest (our undergraduate research conference).