Academic Training & Research Education

Science programs at the Field Museum have a long and diverse history of working to create new generations of scientists studying biological and cultural diversity, past and present. Today, these efforts are both local and international, and they encompass a broad spectrum of approaches focusing on using collections and collections-based research to create new knowledge and address challenges facing humans and the world we live in.

The Field Museum offers a wealth of opportunities for science students at all levels, from residency programs and internships to scholarships and fellowships.

University of Chicago: Committee on Evolutionary Biology (CEB)

CEB is a unique interdepartmental and interinstitutional graduate training program based out of the Biological Sciences Division at the University of Chicago. CEB has consistently been ranked among the best evolutionary biology graduate programs. The program has been training graduate students for more than 40 years. Of the over 130 CEB PhD graduates since 1968, the vast majority has gone on to productive professional careers in universities and museums and in public education and policy. Faculty in this program comes from the University of Chicago, the Field Museum, Brookfield Zoo, Lincoln Park Zoo, Argonne National Laboratories, Morton Arboretum, and the Chicago Botanic Garden.

The training is dedicated to broad and interdisciplinary research in evolutionary biology from throughout life and across all time scales. Currently, 19 Field Museum scientists are involved in CEB, comprising roughly one third of the entire CEB faculty and supervising more than half of the program’s PhD students. Shannon Hackett, Associate Curator of Birds, serves as Associate Chair of CEB. Field Museum curators currently serve as primary dissertation advisors for more than half of the CEB students. In addition to advising graduate students, Field Museum curators are responsible for teaching several core courses for undergraduates and graduate students as well as mentoring honors thesis research by undergraduates. Courses range from biological anthropology, biogeography, biodiversity, and systematics for undergraduates to advanced ethics for third and fourth year graduate students.

University of Illinois at Chicago: Field Museum Anthropology Program

The joint Ph. D. program was established in 1995. Besides teaching three courses a year collectively at UIC, Field Museum anthropology curators are all adjunct professors and members of UIC’s graduate faculty, chairing twelve doctoral committees in 2015. They also serve on admissions and graduate funding committees and on search and promotion committees for teaching and faculty positions. UIC anthropology professors serve as Adjunct curators at the museum and serve on promotion and recruitment committees as well. The joint program established a postdoctoral teaching and research program in 2011. Three postdoctoral scientists taught four classes collectively and conducted research at the museum, jointly funded by museum endowments for collections & research and by funds from the LAS Dean’s office at UIC.

The museum also runs a credit granting study abroad program in Peru, the Contisuyo Archaeological Field School, for undergraduates at UIC. Since 2006, over 30 undergraduate students have received field training for credit in the program. Almost a dozen UIC graduate students have also participated as instructors. Four other Field Museum field programs offer opportunities to UIC students in Peru, Hungary, Greece, Mexico, and urban Chicago. Dozens of fellowships, research assistantships, and advanced degrees have resulted from these programs.

Northwestern University: Field Museum Collaborative PhD Program in Anthropology

Established in 2001, the collaborative PhD program in anthropology provides Northwestern students and faculty access to museum collections and field programs for training and joint research. Besides teaching one course every other year collectively at NU, five museum anthropology curators are adjunct professors and members of NU’s graduate faculty. One museum curator has co-chaired two doctoral committees since 2010. NU anthropology professors may serve as adjunct curators at the museum.

The collaborative program established a postdoctoral fellowship in 2011-13 to conduct research at the museum and enhance collaborative scholarship between the two institutions. The position was funded jointly by museum resources and by funds from the Anthropology Department and the Weinberg College at NU.

The museum also runs a credit granting study abroad program in Peru, the Contisuyo Field Archaeological School. Since 2006, two NU undergraduate students have received field training for credit in the program. Two NU graduate student have also participated as instructors. Four other Field Museum field programs offer opportunities to students in Peru, Hungary, Greece, Mexico, and urban Chicago.

University of Chicago: Field Museum Chicago Center for Cosmochemistry

The Chicago Center for Cosmochemistry (C3) was established in 2004 between the University of Chicago, the Field Museum, and Argonne National Laboratory. The mission of C3 is to foster collaboration, exchange and training between the interdisciplinary cosmochemistry groups of the three partnering institutions. C3 members include earth and planetary scientists, astrophysicists, materials scientists, and chemists. Members include faculty, staff, postdocs, and graduate students and are employed by either of the three member institutions. The C3 holds a weekly seminar during academic quarters that provides a unique forum for scientific exchange and intellectual stimulation. This seminar features a wide range of speakers in cosmochemistry, from international and national scientists, to faculty, staff and students from the three member institutions. An immense benefit for C3 members is that they get access to specialized laboratories, instruments, and collections at the member institutions, which greatly amplifies the capabilities and productivity of each group. The C3 also provides financial support for graduate students to attend major conferences and to buy computers. C3 funds are also used to pay for post-doc salaries and for organizing workshops. Since the establishment of C3 twelve years ago, the number of members has tripled from eight initial members to about two dozen. Students and postdocs who passed through C3 are usually successful in securing permanent positions. The C3 builds on the long tradition of cosmochemistry in Chicago and helps in attracting more cosmochemists to Chicago.