Field Experience

The Anthropology program offers an array of field experiences to gain hands-on knowledge and prepare students for their future careers. Students may also have other field work experiences at another institution approved by the department chair.


The archaeology component in the Department of Anthropology at Western Michigan University has long emphasized experiential learning and active student engagement in teaching, research and service. It begins with the field programs first established in the western Great Lakes 34 years ago, and has continued with the Fort St. Joseph Archaeological Project and research projects in other areas of the world, especially South and Central Asia. WMU archaeologists encourage both graduate and undergraduate students to become involved in practicing archaeology. This work often results in close collaboration with faculty conducting research, and making the results available to academic audiences and beyond through publications, public programs and community outreach.

Fort St. Joseph

Fort St. Joseph is an 18th-century mission-garrison-trading post established by the French in Niles, Michigan. The Fort St. Joseph Archaeological Project is a collaborative venture between WMU, the city of Niles, the Fort St. Joseph Museum and other community groups in which students engage in community service learning, public education and outreach.

Field School Application

cultural anthropology

Unlike archaeology and biological anthropology, the typical fieldwork undertakings of cultural anthropologists are more often individualized projects. Several faculty have developed initiatives that facilitate graduate and undergraduate participation. These include Dr. Bilinda Straight's East Africa research and Dr. Vincent Lyon-Callo's research on class dynamics in Kalamazoo.

Students in our program have developed their own research projects and many have received funding from the College of Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities Award. Projects include working with pastoralists in Kenya and studying medical school education in Michigan.