CAP Summer Field School

The Campus Archaeology Program and the MSU Department of Anthropology routinely offers a multi-week archaeological field school on the campus of Michigan State University. Space is limited. The next field school will take place this summer (May 28th – June 30th, 2024). Download the 2024 CAP Field School Application. Send applications to CAP Director, Dr. Stacey L. Camp at

Application Deadline: February 1st, 2024


In this course, students actively participate in archaeological research on MSU’s campus. MSU’s campus is a living laboratory where both anthropology and non-anthropology students can gain vital skills and fulfill their experiential learning requirements in the following areas:

  • survey and excavation
  • archaeological site identification
  • GIS, survey, and mapping
  • cultural heritage management and planning
  • cultural resource management
  • artifact identification, curation, and interpretation
  • public outreach
  • digital archaeology
  • science communication and social media outreach

The MSU Department of Anthropology and the MSU Campus Archaeology Program are offering a 5-week archaeological field school investigating the stories and material culture of historic families who owned property that would later become Michigan State University. In 2024, we will be excavating the site of MSU’s first observatory. This site has received international and national media attention. It was discovered by MSU construction workers during the summer of 2023, and we will be spending the summer of 2024 excavating what may remain of the building’s foundation. We will also be searching for any outhouses or wells associated with the site. The observatory dates to 1881, and was constructed by MSU students. During this time period, students were expected to work on campus to help pay their tuition. The observatory was managed by Professor Rolla Carpenter, who helped secure funding for its construction.

In addition, there will be opportunities to investigate other areas of MSU’s campus as they arise during construction work. Students will gain experience working in Cultural Resource Management (CRM) contexts, as they will participate in the day-to-day operations of the Campus Archaeology Program’s ongoing relationship with Infrastructure, Planning, and Facilities (IPF). While conducting this work, students will learn about the cultural heritage of their own university. They will be expected to disseminate this knowledge through public outreach opportunities, archaeological tours, and blogs.

Course Requirements

Students will receive 6 credits from the MSU Department of Anthropology upon successful completion of the course. Students are expected to attend class Monday-Friday, from 8:30 am – 3:30 pm. Students are expected to be ready for work at 8:30am. Some weekend events may be required for public outreach.


Dr. Stacey L. Camp, Director of the Campus Archaeology Program, Graduate Program Director, and Associate Professor of Anthropology.

Costs and Application Process

The official application can be downloaded here: 2024 CAP Field School Application.

In addition to regular tuition costs, students must pay a $150 registration fee for equipment and supplies that students will be able to keep after the field school ends. Applications should be turned in to Dr. Stacey L. Camp at Michigan State University, Department of Anthropology, 355 Baker Hall, or via email to Checks for the registration fee can be made out to the MSU Department of Anthropology.

Students will be admitted based on the material in their application. The field school is open to non-MSU students as well as current MSU students. Students do not need to be Anthropology majors to participate, though preference is given to Anthropology majors due to high demand for the field school.

Scholarship Opportunities

The cost of a Field School can be expensive. Below are links to scholarship opportunities for undergraduate students:

Archaeological Institute for America: Jane C. Waldbaum Field School Scholarship

Society for American Archaeology: Historically Underrepresented Groups Scholarship (HUGS)

Commonwealth Heritage Group Diversity Scholarship Award in Archaeology