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Academics

The ACM Field Museum Semester is an intensive research and class-based experience for upper-level students interested in natural history research with a background in evolutionary biology, anthropology, geology, and/or a related discipline. The program provides the opportunity for students to explore scientific research and the Field Museum collections through a substantive internship, a semester-long course taught by the Visiting Faculty Director, and a seminar led by Field Museum professional staff. Undergraduates from ACM colleges are eligible to apply.

Courses & Credits

Internship (8 credits): Students will commit 25 to 30 hours per week to a high-level internship exposing them to the Museum’s extensive scientific collections, ongoing research projects, and the expertise of the Museum’s professional staff. A list of potential internship opportunities is coming soon.   

Students participating in the Field Museum Semester receive a stipend of $5,000.00. This stipend is paid over regular intervals throughout the semester. The stipend is considered income and is taxable. 

Visiting Faculty Course (4 credits): Students take a course, taught by the Visiting Faculty Director, which cuts across different disciplines and links to the unique resources of the Field Museum. This course changes every year.

Seminar (4 credits): Led by Field Museum professional staff, the seminar will cover topics related to scientific communication, career development, and career preparation. Students gain in-depth exposure to the Museum’s diverse array of departments, are introduced to ongoing scientific research projects, and benefit from the unique expertise of Museum staff.

Learning Objectives & Outcomes

All ACM colleges are grounded in the liberal arts tradition, and this educational commitment extends to ACM off-campus study programs. By participating in one of these programs, you’ll benefit from studying in a new location that combines experiential, place-based learning with academic purpose similar to your home campus as you pursue the program's learning goals.

In each program you’ll enjoy small class sizes, allowing you to work closely with faculty and other students. You’ll also live in housing and participate in activities that provide opportunities to connect course-based learning with the local community and culture.

You’ll find that the learning objectives and outcomes of each ACM program reflect these liberal arts educational values.

The Field Museum Semester: Research in Natural History program is designed to offer you the unique undergraduate experience of immersing yourself in research at the Field Museum, a world-renowned natural history museum. With a mentored internship, you will have the opportunity to pursue scientific questions in a museum setting as well as the opportunity to engage across scientific disciplines through the visiting faculty course and seminar. You will also become a member of the Field Museum community through your coursework and internship.

Program learning objectives:

  • Understand the functioning of a large, research, public-facing natural history museum, as related to mission.
  • Contribute significantly to ongoing activities of the museum while working closely with a supervisor.
  • Develop your skills as a member of a research community, interacting with other scientists and experts, sharing the results of your work, and engaging with your peers on the program.
  • Engage in an interdisciplinary course with an ACM faculty member and the full cohort of students on a topic connected to the work of the Field.
  • Develop your understanding of how your internship and specific tasks fit into a larger on-going project and make connections throughout the museum by actively participating in the seminar portion of the program.

While participating in the program, you will gain skills in conducting research, extend your knowledge, and learn how the scientific method and research discovery processes fit into larger projects; you will write about and discuss your internship through oral and visual presentations and written materials; and you will develop an understanding of the interdisciplinary nature of research being conducted at the Field Museum.