For Students

Frequently Asked Questions

For Prospective Graduate Students

I’m always interested in accepting serious, inquisitive and motivated graduate students who are tenacious and enthusiastic about pursuing the PhD and a professional career in anthropological bioarchaeology. I welcome students working in prehistoric or historic eras, or those who want to apply forensic, clinical, bioanthropological or ethnnobioarchaeological methods to thier research. Most importantly, however, I’m seeking students who lead with questions. In other words, prospective graduate students should have primary interests broadly related to bio-cultural phenomena such as violence, ethnogeneis, health and diet, migration, and social inequality. To address those questions I expect students will use at least some of the instrumuentation supported by the Bioarchaeology and Biogeochemistry Lab, the Department of Anthropology and the UC System. Finally, while I am especially interested in attracting students with an Andean regional focus, I would support aspiring scholars who work in other areas of the New and Old World.

If you are interested in applying to UCSB Anthropology’s graduate program to work with me, please introduce yourself by email. 

For more information on the graduate program in Anthropology, visit




Undergrad Internships in the Lab


I usually take between 2-4 new undergraduate interns per quarter to work in the Bioarchaeology and Biogeochemistry Lab. For each course unit enrolled, students work three hours/week I prefer working with high-achieving, genuinely motivated students who are majoring in Anthropology, Biochemistry, and Earth Science. Students who have had previous experience in laboratory settings or with osteology are especially encouraged to contact me.

For information on possible internships in my lab, send me an email with the following information:

  • Class Standing & GPA

  • Why you are seeking this experience

  • Copy of you Resume/CV

Depending on your experience, internship tasks may include:

  • Bone labeling and data collection,
  • Stable isotope prep (collagen and apatite extraction)
  • Database entry

  • Reorganizing teaching collection material


Letters of Reference

If you are requesting a recommendation letter, please send me an email with the following information at least 3 weeks before your application is due:

  • This Recc Request Form

  • Personal Statement / Statement of Intent

  • Copy of Your Resume/CV

  • Unofficial Transcript

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Field and Lab Work in Peru

Ever year, I take highly motivated advanced undergraduate and early career graduate  students with basic anthropological and osteological training to help conduct bioarchaeological lab and field research in Peru. If you are interested in this type of praxis, please see the Andahuaylas Bioarchaeology Project website, the Institute for Field Research, or contact me for moreinformation.



My Teaching Philosophy

As an educator, my goal is to help create conscientious, informed, and scientifically literate citizens. To that end, I try to engage students in a lively manner that promotes rational, empirically-based argument, the free exchange of ideas, and mutual respect for diverse opinions. I try to structure my courses based on the needs of students, taking into consideration their preparation and abilities. Key has been my focus on demonstrating the broad applicability of anthropological knowledge to everyday behavior and big issues, as well as demystifying social science research. I emphasize critical thinking and persuasive writing and oral argument. I encourage students to internalize concepts and develop scholarly skills through concrete exercises and the creation of specific intellectual products.

mike graduate scottis sitekassie and davette


Classes I Teach:

  • ANTH 105: Human Variation

  • ANTH 121: Human Evolution

  • ANTH 180A: Human Osteology

  • ANTH 180B: Paleopathology and Forensic Anthopology

  • ANTH 197: The Bioarchaeology of Natural and Social Disasters

  • ANTH 250a (Graduate Seminar*): Method and Theory in Anthropological Bioarchaeology

  • ANTH 250b (Graduate Seminar*): The Human Toll of Catastrophe

* = Upperclass majors may enroll with permission from the professor