Berkeley Summer Abroad

Cusco, Peru: The Archaeology of the Incas

  • Summary

    Discover the ancient Incan Civilization in its former capital Cusco, Peru through first hand anthropological research and visits to historical Andean sites. and visits to historical Andean sites.

    Become involved in research at the Sachsaywhaman Archaeological Park
    Live and study in Cusco, and learn about the culture and history of the Andes
    Visit Machu Picchu, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the Seven Wonders of the world
    Participate in excursions to the Sacred Valley of the Incas and little known archaeological ruins hidden in the mountainous terrain.

    On this program, you will be introduced to field methods in archaeology and conservation and better understand the practice of archeology in the field. The research goal is to understand Inca religion and how they built their temples.

    For more information, please visit

    Dates: July 2 – August 5, 2017 
    All dates are subject to change.
    Units: 6 units
    Language of Instruction: English
    • ANTHRO 134A: The Archaeology of the Incas (6 units)



    • At least one year of college coursework completed by the start of the program
    • 2.0 GPA or higher



    • Application opens February 1, 2017
    • Space is limited and applications are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis
    • Deadline to apply is March 10, 2017
  • Courses

    During the program, you will take one course for a total of 6 Berkeley units.
    Course: Anthropology 134A
    Title: The Archaeology of the Incas
    Dates: July 2 – August 5, 2017

    Instructor: Alexei Vranich, Ph.D.
    Units: 6 units
    Prerequisites: None

    This course will be held in Cusco, Peru, the former capital of the Inca Empire. The modern city of Cusco is considered the archaeological capital of South America and offers a wide range of daytime and nighttime activities. This course has the following two goals: (1) to introduce students to field methods in archaeology and conservation, and (2) to provide a practical working knowledge of survey, excavation, computer modeling, lab, and field catalog methods. The course primary directive is to enable students to better understand how archaeology is practiced in the field. The research goal is to understand Inca religion and the manner in which they built their temples.

    Students in this project will learn basic archaeological field methods in the nearby Sacsaywhaman (pronounced saxy-waman) Archaeological Park, home of the largest and most monumental building ever made by the Incas. Students will also be learning of the culture and history of the Andes by living and studying in this diverse and historically important region. Sachsaywhaman is located walking distance (25 minutes) from our home in the historic core of Cuzco. Since Cuzco is located at high elevation (11,600 feet above sea level) students should be in a good physical condition.

    This course satisfies the L&S International Studies breadth requirement. Please note that academic requirements may change. Consult with your college/major advisor to see which degree requirements this course may fulfill.

    Summer Abroad staff will enroll you in courses after your acceptance to the program. Please make sure there are no active blocks on your student account that may impact your course enrollment

  • Costs

    Tuition and Program Fee

    The fees to participate in this program are broken down into 1) tuition and 2) program fees, which are applied to your student billing account as follows:

    2017 Fees UC Students Visiting Students
    Tuition (6 units) $2,460 $3,120
    Program Fee $2,303 $2,303
    Total Cost $4,763 $5,423
    Fees are subject to change. All non-Berkeley students must pay an additional Document Management Fee of $55.


    Estimated Out-of-Pocket Expenses

    In addition to the fees outlined above, Berkeley Study Abroad has estimated costs for out-of-pocket expenses. These amounts are used to calculate financial aid packages for eligible students. Actual expenses will vary depending on your lifestyle and spending habits.

    Estimated Expenses Amount
    International Airfare and Transportation $1,100
    Additional Meals $420
    Books $312
    Personal Expenses (i.e., phone, passport, visas, etc.) $660
    Total Estimated Out-of-Pocket Expenses $2,492


    Financial Aid

    Financial aid is available for Berkeley students who are enrolled in at least 6 units during the summer. All other students should contact the financial aid office at their home institution for more information.


    Explanation of Fees

    Tuition is based on a per unit cost: 

    • The UC undergraduate student rate is $410 per unit
    • The visiting student rate for all non-UC participants is $512 per unit

    The program fee includes the following items:

    • Student housing in a hostel
    • Excursions
    • Onsite orientation activities including an introduction to all the various cities on the itinerary, etc.
    • Travel insurance to cover accident/sickness medical coverage, emergency medical evacuation, security extraction, and other travel assistance services
    • Other program-related costs including fees for group transportation, guest speakers, etc.
    • The initial non-refundable deposit of $400, which is due at the time of application and is applied to the program fee

    Please note that the list of items included in the program fee is not all-inclusive and is subject to change.

    The following items are excluded from the program fee:

    • International airfare
    • Personal expenses (souvenirs, routine medical expenses, toiletries, etc.)
    • Course materials (textbooks and readers)
    • Other travel expenses (passport, visa, etc.)
    • Additional meals
    • Commuting costs for daily travel to and from classes


  • Timeline
    Application opens February 1, 2017
    Application closes March 10, 2017
    Applicants notified of selection March 22, 2017
    Deadline to confirm participation or cancel for a refund of all program-related fees, minus $400 deposit April 3, 2017
    Attend pre-departure orientation* Late April-May
    Arrive in Cusco July 2, 2017
    Last day of program August 5, 2017
    * These events take place on the Berkeley campus. If you are not on campus during this time, we will schedule a meeting via phone or Skype.
    All dates are subject to change.
  • Instructors

    Alexei Vranich, Ph.D.
    Program Director

    Alexei Vranich received his B.A from the University of California, Berkeley, and his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. A specialist in pre-Columbian South America, Alexei has extensive archaeological and anthropological research experience around the world in such places as Spain, Italy, India, Peru, and Bulgaria, and Costa Rica. He has been recognized by the National Science Foundation for the innovation application of technology in the study of the past. Alexei is presently conducting his archaeological research in the city of Cusco, the former capital of the Inca Empire.