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.

    Become involved in research at the Sachsaywhaman Archaeological Park
    Living and studying in Cusco, and learning 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 excursionsto 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 archaeology in the field. The research goal is to understand Inca religion and how they built their temples.

    For more information, please visit


    • June 16 – July 20, 2019

    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 4, 2019
    • Space is limited and applications are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis
    • Deadline to apply is March 15, 2019

  • 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

    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 the 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 about 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.

    You can fulfill the L&S International Studies breadth requirement by full participation in a Berkeley Summer Abroad program. All of the required courses must be completed with a C-/P or better.

    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

    2019 Fees UC Students Visiting Students
    Tuition $2,514 $3,300
    Program Fee $2,628 $2,628
    Total Cost $5,142 $5,928

    Fees are subject to change. All non-UC Berkeley students must pay an additional Document Management Fee of $58.


    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.

    Figures based on 2018 information. Subject to change.

    Estimated Expenses Amount
    International Airfare and Transportation $800
    Additional Meals $446
    Books $222
    Personal Expenses (i.e. phone, passport, visa, etc.) $599
    Total Estimated Out-Of-Pocket Expenses $2,067


    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 $419 per unit
    • The visiting student rate for all non-UC participants is $550 per unit

    The program fee includes* the following items:

    • Students will be housed in a hostel
    • Excursions
    • On-site orientation activities including an introduction to all the various cities on the itinerary, etc.
    • Group meals during many program days
    • 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 tour guides, guest lecturers, 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 4, 2019
    Application closes March 15, 2019
    Applicants notified of selection March 22, 2019
    Deadline to confirm participation or cancel for a refund of all program-related fees, minus $400 deposit April 5, 2019
    Attend pre-departure orientation* Late April-May
    Arrive in Cusco June 16, 2019
    Last day of program† July 20, 2019

    * 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.

    †Students are expected to check into program housing on June 16, 2019 and will be expected to check out of program housing on July 20, 2019. Students who arrive in-country early or depart after the last day may do so, but they are responsible for arranging their own accommodations outside of the program dates

    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 innovative application of technology in the study of the past.