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*Mendes, Egypt: Field School (Summer)
Mendes, Egypt (Outgoing Program)
Program Terms: Summer
Host Program Website: Visit host website for more information
Restrictions: PSU applicants only
Budget Sheets Summer
Fact Sheet:
Dig House
Minimum GPA:
Class Standing:
2 - Sophomore
Courses Offered:
Classics and Mediterranean Studies
Type of Program:
Faculty Led
Language of Instruction:
Language Requirement:
0 - none
Education Abroad Adviser:
Whitney Longnecker
Internship Available:
Non-Penn State Students:
Global Programs Scholarships:
Diversity Grant-in-Aid, Grant-in-Aid, Whole World Scholarship
Program Description:
Egypt Field School_Students at archaeological dig

Program Overview

Summer 2015 
Session 1: May 29,  to June 26, 2015 (departure from U.S is May 28)
Session 2: June 26, to July 24, 2015 (departure from U.S is June 25)

The ruin mound of Tel er-Rub'a in northern Egypt marks the site of the ancient city of Mendes, one of the largest cities in the ancient world. The sometime capital of ancient Egypt (fourth century BCE), Mendes was a major trading center in contact with the eastern Mediterranean, Greece, and Rome. A riverine harbor is still in evidence, and the site boasts a temple to the Ram-god and a cemetery (ca. 2200 BCE) of nearly 9,000 internments. Occupied from prehistoric times to the present, though largely unencumbered by dwellings, Mendes offers an excellent prospect for excavation with a view to studying ancient urbanism, demographics, burial practices, and trade.

For the past decade, archaeologists and student volunteers have been excavating the site using cutting-edge research discovery and field training techniques. The latter includes digging techniques, recording, planning, photography, analysis of finds, and introduction to the history and archaeology of ancient Egypt. In addition, weekend field trips are led by the director to such neighboring sites as Tanis, the North Sinai, Alexandria, and the pyramid fields.

This program will occupy four consecutive six-day weeks. The participants will be put in charge of various tasks: excavation supervision, recording, registry, pottery sorting, and seriation. From time to time they will also be called upon to assist the technical core staff in such tasks as surveying, human and faunal remains recovery, pottery cleaning and restoration, and photography detail.

Mendes is located approximately 120 miles north of Cairo, 17 miles east of Mansourah, and 40 miles south of the Mediterranean coast. Cairo and Port Said may be reached in two hours of driving. The staff lives in a modern twenty-room field institute building, which was constructed on-site in 1992 and has electricity, running water, and plumbing.

Mendes Students posing

Overnight trips will be taken to the city of Alexandria and to the pyramid fields near Cairo. There will be a day trip to Tanis and the Suez Canal as well.


Dr. Donald Redford is the field director of Mendes. He is a professor of classics and ancient Mediterranean studies and history at Penn State. He is a noted expert in ancient Egypt and is the author of several books and numerous articles. He has been featured in series and documentaries on A&E and the History Channel.

Dr. Susan Redford is a faculty lecturer at Penn State. She is the author of numerous articles and The Harem Conspiracy: The Murder of Ramesses III. As director of the Akhenaten Temple Project's Theban Tomb Survey since its inception in 1992, she has mounted annual expeditions to the Valley of the Nobles. She has been featured in documentaries on the National Geographic and Discovery channels. She will be the co-director at Mendes.

To view a list of other programs available in this region, visit our Education Abroad Regional Program Brochures.

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Education Abroad Credits

All students must register for six credits of:

CAMS 492 Intermediate Field Methods (6 credits)

Students may not fulfill GHA (General Health and Activity) general education requirements abroad.


Successful applicants will satisfy the pre-requisites established by the program.

  • 2.5 Cumulative GPA
  • Sophomore class standing or higher at time of study

Students must have a passport which is valid until six months after the last day of the program. (or date of return to U.S if student is extending travel).

Housing and Meals

Students and staff will live in a modern twenty room ‘dig house’ at Mendes which was constructed in 1992 and has electricity, running water and plumbing.  All meals are provided.

Program Costs

For more information on program costs, please be sure to review the Summer budget sheet. These budget sheets include information on costs that are billable to the bursar bill, as well as estimated additional costs. Costs vary by program, so it is important to review this information carefully.

Please note that tuition rates may vary depending on major and class standing.

Financial Aid & Scholarships

Mendes House in EgyptPenn State students studying through Education Abroad can use most components of their existing financial aid packages toward the cost of study abroad. This may include federal and state grants, VA educational benefits, federal student loans, and University scholarships and grants. Notable exceptions include work-study awards and some athletic scholarships.

The University Office of Global Programs also administers a number of grants and scholarships. Eligibility is based on academic excellence and/or financial need. There is also funding available for study abroad programs in diverse locations and for students from diverse backgrounds. In most cases, applicants should have a current year FAFSA on file with the Office of Student Aid. Funding opportunities may also be available through Penn State academic departments. For detailed information on financial aid and scholarship opportunities and application procedures, please visit the Funding Study Abroad section of the Global Penn State website.

For More Information

For more information about programs and education abroad at Penn State, we encourage you to meet with or contact our Peer Advisers. These study abroad returnees can explain program options, give an overview of the education abroad process, as well as provide information about his/her program. If you are not at University Park, contact your Campus Global Representative

For more information regarding this program, please contact Susan Redford. You may also schedule an appointment with the education abroad adviser for this program.

For the inside scoop on life in a foreign country, be sure to check out the GeoBlogs of Penn State students currently studying abroad.

How to Apply

excavations in Egypt

If you would like to participate on this study abroad program, you will need to apply to Penn State Education Abroad by clicking the "Apply Now" button on this page. 

You must complete the following materials in your application:

  •  Education Abroad Questionnaire
  •  One academic recommendation
  •  Signature Documents
  • Important: Four (4) copies of the title page of the participant's valid passport and eight (8) passport-size photographs of the participant must be provided to Professor Susan Redford (108 Weaver Building, University Park, PA 16802) no later than 5:00 pm, January 15. There is no flexibility with this deadline.
Visit the How to Apply section of our website for more information.

Application deadline: February 1, 2015

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Education Abroad Regional Program Brochures

Dates / Deadlines:
Term Year App Deadline Decision Date Start Date End Date
Summer 2015 02/01/2015
02/15/2015 05/29/2015 07/24/2015
NOTE: Two four week sessions: Session 1 - Depart U.S on May 28, and arrive in Cairo on May 29 Session 2 - Depart U.S on June 25, and arrive in Cairo on June 26, 2015 Important note: Each applicant must have a valid passport by January 10, 2015. Four (4) copies of the title page of the participant's valid passport and eight (8) passport-size photographs of the participant must be provided to Professor Susan Redford (108 Weaver Building, University Park, PA 16802) no later than 5:00 pm, January 15,. There is no flexibility with this deadline.

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