Anthropology and Archaeology in Mexico

Explore Oaxaca, located in the southern highlands of Mexico!

This intensive block program will take place in Oaxaca located in the southern highlands of Mexico. It will sample the archaeological, cultural and ecological diversity of this unique area.


Oaxaca has a deep history of archaeological investigations into the past 10,000 years of human occupation in the region.  It is the site of some of the earliest experiments in plant domestication. Studies of the cultural ecology have exposed aspects of plant domestication which facilitated the evolution of social complexity in the region not previously possible. It also has enduring evidence of the impacts of post-colonial contact. Today, despite modern pressure, Oaxaca remains home to numerous indigenous communities who still practice traditional lifeways, speak native languages, and dress in regional costume. This makes it an ideal setting for holistic studies of indigenous cultures, past and present.


The course content is designed to follow up on to the ARKY 341, 343, 345 sequences which surveyed the pre-Columbian cultures of Mesoamerica and their legacy in contemporary Mexico, but is also designed to be accessible to undergraduate students with a background interest in Latin American studies.

Key information


Oaxaca, Mexico 




Winter 2020 

Program type

Group Study

Application information

Application status


Application deadline

October 5, 2020

Eligibility requirements

This program is open to students from all majors. See the Eligibility section below for more details.

Info sessions


Student Experience

image of student learning to use a traditional textile spinning wheel
image of stone carving ruins

For program information, please contact Professor Geoffrey McCafferty at

For application and registration support, please contact the Group Study Team at

Other useful links:

Program Details

Questions about these courses should be directed to the program instructor.

Please note: course descriptions are tentative and subject to change.

  1. Courses Offered

    Students on this program are required to enroll in two courses:

    ARKY 347: Regional Studies in Latin American Archeology:  Field Experience in Mesoamerican Archaeology and Anthropology (3 units)

    ANTH 541: Field Study in Social and Cultural Anthropology (3 units)

  2. Prerequisites

    The prerequisite for both courses is consent of the instructor.

  1. Pre-departure

    Date TBD: Pre-trip meeting to discuss logistics and assignments

    November (date TBD): Mandatory pre-departure orientation facilitated by Group Study Programs

  2. In-Field

    Dec 28, 2020, Calgary/Puebla/Cholula: Fly Calgary to Puebla; connection by private bus to Cholula archaeological zone. Evening lecture.
    Dec 29, Oaxaca:  Morning tour of Cholula archaeological zone, then bus to Oaxaca.
    Dec 30, Oaxaca:  Walking tour of Oaxaca city, including cultural museum and market; evening discussion.
    Dec 31, Oaxaca: Visit to museum at Santo Domingo church for Colonial and pre-Columbian history, including treasures of Monte Alban Tomb 7; evening New Year’s Eve celebrations in Zocalo
    Jan 1, 2020, Oaxaca: Afternoon study session on Mixtec codices. Evening discussion.
    Jan 2, Oaxaca:  Morning visit to Rufino Tamayo Museum of Pre-Columbian and Contemporary Art; evening lecture on contemporary indigenous cultures of Oaxaca
    Jan 3, Oaxaca: Morning visit to Ethnobotanical Garden and Textile museum. Group dinner and Ballet Folklorico performance
    Jan 4, Oaxaca: Morning visit to Atzompa pottery making village for demonstrations; Cooking class in traditional Oaxaca cuisine.
    Jan 5, Oaxaca: Morning trip to Macuilxochitl archaeological site; Tlacolula valley indigenous market; Mitla for weavers and archaeological site
    Jan 6, Oaxaca: Morning visit to Burgoa Library for instruction on reading Mixtec codices; afternoon free for market and independent research.
    Jan 7, Puebla: Travel by bus back to Puebla via Mixteca Alta, with stops at Yucuita and Jaltepec.

    Jan 8, Puebla/Calgary: Morning visit Cacaxtla archaeological site; Cholula market; guest lecture; spend night in Cholula with final cena de despidida (farewell dinner)
    Jan 9, Puebla/Calgary: Morning bus to airport for return flight to Calgary

  1. Costs

    The estimated cost of the Mexico Oaxaca Group Study Program will include tuition, airfare, field trips, local transportation, accommodations and meals. The program cost is $3,800.

    For the full cost breakdown and payment deadlines, please see the program Student Cost Summary

    Important information regarding deposit payments: Deposits are non-refundable. Deposits secure your space in the program and allows payment for logistical arrangements to be made in advance.

  2. Funding

    International Study Travel Grant: Students studying abroad may be eligible for the University of Calgary's International Study Travel Grant. For more information on eligibility, application details and deadlines please click here.

    New! Faculty of Arts Group Study Program (GSP) Scholarships (for GSP participants) and Faculty of Arts Student Study Abroad Scholarships (for other international programs) - up to 10 awards of $1000 each! The 2020/2021 deadline will be announced at a later date.  Any queries about these scholarships should be directed to Faculty of Arts Associate Dean Gavin Cameron: 

    IDEAS Funding: Students in the Faculty of Science are encouraged to apply for IDEAS funding. For more information, please click here.

    Schulich Student Activity Fund: All Schulich students are also encouraged to take advantage of the Schulich Student Activity Fund (SSAF). For more information, please click here.

    Student loans: If you qualify for student loans, your program should qualify. We are able to provide you with a letter confirming your participation in the program for funding purposes. Please email to request a letter.

    Please note that eligibility for student loans is determined by your loans provider.

All accommodations will be safe, clean and appropriate for student groups.

This program is open to undergraduate students in good academic standing.

Applications will be considered after your application and unofficial transcript have been received by Study Abroad.

  1. Statement of Purpose

    Please tell us why you want to study abroad, why you have selected this particular program (academic reasons, personal interest, career prospects, etc.), how this program will meet your academic objectives and/or complement your degree, how you plan to finance your program and why you should be selected.

    The Statement of Purpose is submitted within your online application (max 500 words).

    Note: Because the online application will time out after one hour, we recommend that you compose your statement of purpose in advance in Word to check for spelling, grammar and word count, and then paste it into the online application.

  2. Unofficial Transcripts

    Download an unofficial transcript from your Student Centre and submit it by email to

    Click here for a step-by-step guide to access your unofficial transcript.

Please ensure that you have read the Group Study Program General FAQs thoroughly before applying.

You will gain an appreciation of the challenges that face cultural and natural heritage in Mexico, and learn about the policies and practices to meet these challenges.

Dr. Geoff Mccafferty

Mexico Program Instructor

Getting started

Program-Specific Info Sessions

Info sessions are scheduled for every Group Study Program. Attending an info session is not required to apply, but strongly recommended as it will give you an opportunity to meet the instructor and learn more about the travel experience.

Please scroll up to the top of this page to view the info sessions for this program.

We also recommend watching Study Abroad 101 for general information.

Watch Study Abroad 101

Study Abroad Advising

If you have questions about this program, you can meet with one of our Group Study Advisors by emailing or booking an appointment through the link below.

1. Select “Book an Appointment”
2. Select “Study Abroad Appointments”
3. Select “Book by Appointment Type”
4. Select #2, "Study Abroad Advising", to view available times.

Book an appointment

Academic Advising

Before applying to study abroad, you should ask your academic advisor how a Group Study Program might align with your degree.

After you are accepted, you should ask your academic advisor more specific questions about courses/credits. It’s also recommended to follow up with your advisor again once you return to Calgary.

Find your academic advisor

Start your application

Once you have gathered everything you need, you can begin your application!

Please note: Applications will not be considered complete until all required documents are submitted in full.


International travel presents challenges that may not be found when attending classes on campus. There may be a lack of resources, emergency services, hospitals, accessibility issues and/or demands on the physical and the mental self, all of which can challenge individuals when away from their usual support systems and structures. Adequate preparation is essential.

For this reason, it is imperative that you evaluate all aspects of your own physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual condition against the rigors of the particular study abroad program you are selecting. If you are unsure of whether or not this program is a good fit for you and/or if you have any circumstances that could impede your enjoyment of the program, please contact us. Our Study Abroad Team will be happy to assist in finding the best options for you and arrange any supports or accommodations necessary to ensure your success.

Please note if you have or are seeking a certificate from Student Accessibility Services, you should provide this early to your Study Abroad Advisor to ensure that the option that you are seeking can support your needs.