Mongolia Field School 2019

The American Center for Mongolian Studies is pleased to announce a new inter-disciplinary field school program to be held July 29-August 16, 2019 in Mongolia. The field school is open to undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and life-long learners interested in learning field research techniques and participating in research and activities that highlight the culture, history and environment of Mongolia. The program is open to people from all countries who have never visited Mongolia, and those who have experience in the region. The ACMS appreciates the support of the Henry Luce Foundation for the development of the program and a substantial number of scholarships for North American and Mongolian participants.

The field school program offers three focus areas, archeology, rural-urban migration and renewable energy, led by experienced professors and academic researchers from universities in the United States, Canada and Mongolia. Participants will gather in Ulaanbaatar for an orientation, and engage in a series of lectures and site visits and an active research project in one of the three focus areas. All field school participants will have the opportunity to visit Ulaanbaatar, the Lake Khövsgöl region and other field sites in Mongolia.

The three focus areas and academic leaders include:

Dr. Julia Clark of NOMAD Science, who will lead a field archeology project in Khatgal, near Lake Khövsgöl in Northern Mongolia, that will combine academic anthropological archeology research with cultural heritage tourism and public anthropology. The project will engage trained international and Mongolian archeologists, together with field school participants, to explore a newly discovered archeological site with layers of artifacts from the Neolithic to more recent periods of settlement. Participants will engage in hands on field archeology, while also exploring ways that the site might be used as a public education and cultural heritage tourism site for the large number of Mongolian and international tourists visiting the world famous Lake Khövsgöl region.

Dr. Holly Barcus of Macalester College, who will lead a study of rural-urban migration in Mongolia, exploring both the reasons people move to urban areas and the reasons people choose to remain in rural areas. More than 500,000 people have moved to Ulaanbaatar from rural areas of Mongolia in recent years, leading to serious issues related to housing, urban planning, air pollution, water and sanitation, transportation and public services such as education and health. This field study will apply a social science research lens to examine key issues faced by migrants in urban Mongolia, while also understanding why some people choose to move to urban areas and others elect to stay in rural areas. Participants will have the opportunity to conduct interviews and site visits both in Ulaanbaatar, and in rural areas of Bulgan and Khövsgöl aimags in northern Mongolia.

Dr. Darrin Magee of Hobart and William Smith Colleges and Dr. Charles Krusekopf of Royal Roads University will lead research into Mongolia’s energy systems, with a focus on renewable power development including solar, wind and hydro power for both local and regional use. Mongolia is seen as a potential source of renewable energy to supply both domestic and regional power needs, but many local and international observers fear that large scale renewable power development will mar pristine landscapes, interrupt wildlife migration, and displace local people. Through this module, students will have the opportunity to conduct key informant interviews and surveys to gain an understanding of the technical and place-specific challenges and opportunities that arise from the development of renewable power, and the role Mongolian renewable power might play in the larger Asian electrical grid. Participants will visit solar and wind farms, the site of the planned Egiin Gol Hydro Power project and small-scale wind and solar units used by rural herding families.

The program will be held July 29-August 16, 2019, and will start and end in Ulaanbaatar. All participants will spend time in both Ulaanbaatar and Khatgal, near Lake Khövsgöl in northern Mongolia, in addition to conducting field site visits as appropriate for their area of study. The program is open to undergraduate and graduate students, faculty members and other interested persons. Previous experience in Mongolia or with field studies is not required.

Tuition for the program is $2900 for all participants to cover program costs in Mongolia, including meals, housing, transportation, instruction and site visits. Participants are responsible for making their own travel arrangements to and from Ulaanbaatar.  A significant number of scholarships of up to $3500 are available based on merit and need through the generous support of the Henry Luce Foundation. Students who are seeking academic credit for the program can work with program organizers and their home institution to insure the program meets credit requirements.

For more information please visit

Apply Now