Summer Workshop FAQs

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When is the Center for Ethnography (CER) Summer Workshop?

It is a six week program from May 22-June 30, 2017. There will be two 3-hour seminars each week, Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9-12.

What is expected of participants?

Students must attend all seminars (six hours each week) and complete all assigned readings and research projects (approximately 15-20 hours each week).  Students must develop or continue developing an empirical research project proposal that uses qualitative methods.  

What does the program cost? 

The six-week training course costs $1,200 per student.  

Are there scholarships available?

There are four scholarship spots available for UC Berkeley students majoring in Sociology and two scholarship spots for students from any college or university focusing on contemporary Native American issues.  Scholarships will be awarded based on an assessment of the student’s academic record and proposed project.  Scholarships cover $1,100 of the program costs (students will pay $100).  Scholarships do not provide funds for room and board.

Does the program provide housing?

Unfortunately the center does not provide housing. Options listed through the University are available here: Please note that the workshop is not a summer course, and so you cannot stay in the university residence halls. Summer sublets are plentiful through

When is the application due?


Can the CER Workshop count for college course credits?

The Center for Ethnographic Research is not a university department that can provide credit for successful completion of the course.  However, some universities will award students credit for participating in the workshop.  Please check with your university and home department.    

What can students gain from the CER Workshop?

  • Methodological Training:

Students will obtain advanced knowledge and training in observational and interview research methods.  These skills will assist with undergraduate honors thesis, graduate school research projects, and research jobs outside both in and outside of academia. 

  • Data Analysis Training:

CER also provides extensive training in qualitative research analysis including a workshop on the use of computer assisted qualitative data analysis, which can provide a competitive advantage for research jobs and graduate school. 

  • Graduate School Training:

The workshop is run much like a graduate school course and is designed to give students a preview of the graduate school experience.  Additionally, the workshop participants will be able to personally discuss with graduate mentors the graduate school application process including a review of personal statements.  

Is the workshop appropriate for graduate students?

It is designed for advanced undergraduates and beginning graduate students. People who are not currently enrolled but planning to apply to graduate school are also welcome to apply.

Can international students attend the workshop?

Yes, though you are responsible for getting a visa. You should apply for a B1 visa: "attend a scientific, educational, professional, or business convention or conference." Or, if you also want to add tourism to your stay, apply for a B1/B2 visa.

What do students do with their training?

CER workshop participants have been accepted to graduate programs in the social sciences and policy at Harvard, UC Berkeley, University of Wisconsin-Madison, New York University, UCLA, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, and Northwestern University. Others have used their training to enter academic and community-based research positions and to work as activists in local and international contexts. 

Who are the instructors?

Jocyl Sacramento, Ph.D Candidate, Education, UC Berkeley

Jocyl’s research examines various pathways for transformative education. Her dissertation, "Let's Talk About Race: Developing Teaching and Student Racial Literacy through Comparative Ethnic Studies Curricula," is based on a four-year, multi-sited ethnography to understand the practices and strategies teachers adopted when implementing new policies to develop comparative ethnic studies curricula in San Francisco Bay Area high schools. She has designed and taught courses on race, diversity and education at UC Berkeley and Race & Resistance Studies at San Francisco State University. In her teaching, she uses holistic, student-centered, dialogical approaches to guiding students as they bridge theory with practice and inquiry to investigate relationships of power between institutions and communities. 

Josh Seim, Ph.D. Candidate, Sociology, UC Berkeley

Josh’s dissertation reimagines the 911 ambulance as an institution of urban poverty governance. He draws on three interlocking data sources to decode the functions of privatized paramedicine in a dense and polarized California county: 1) 12 months of participant observation as he shadowed ambulance crews and their supervisors; 2) three months of emergency medical technician (EMT) training followed by an additional nine months of fieldwork as he worked as a novice EMT; and 3) nearly 100,000 ambulance medical records. A slice of this research appears in American Sociological Review (June 2017). He has extensive teaching experience in sociology, including Sociology of Health and Medicine and Sociology of Crime and Punshiment.

What do past participants say about the workshop?

"The weekly assignments were extremely helpful in two ways: 1) it was good practice for doing my eventual fieldwork; 2) it was especially useful to have class discussion around the exercise outputs -- the second one, which was informed by our colleagues' styles/voices, was a great experiment/learning opportunity."

“The CER workshop gave a community of inquisitive and exceptional undergraduates the opportunity to continue thinking critically about interview and ethnographic methods. I felt lucky to be among those undergraduates. Given that the workshop provided a deeper engagement with qualitative methods in six weeks than other classes offer in an entire semester, I would recommend the program to any undergraduate serious about research in the social sciences.”

“Over the course of the month, I had the opportunity to develop the idea of my research project much more extensively than I would have otherwise been able to.”

“It was great to meet all of the mentors, who I felt were always very open and available for asking questions and seeking any other kind of help. I felt that I was also a good opportunity to meet other senior undergraduates doing a thesis or similar project before the school year started. It motivated me to think through my research more and network as necessary to get prepared.”

“I appreciated the warm atmosphere and the general respect given to the undergraduates. The graduate fellows did not belittle the undergraduates, and instead treated the undergraduates as equals. I was surprised at how professional and encouraging the workshop proved to be.”

“The best part of the workshop, however, was the mentors. Being able to bounce ideas off of someone with lots of research experience and knowledge made generating manageable yet interesting projects a lot easier.”

“I could not imagine a more brilliant, compassionate, and inspirational mentor!  My mentor’s deft understanding of qualitative (and quantitative) methods and mentorship skills were extraordinary. And by extraordinary, I mean that his virtuosic ability to answer difficult questions and address weighty concerns about my honors thesis exceeded expectation. My mentor motivated me to see the merits of my honors thesis while also encouraging me to make my research question and methodological choices more rigorous and reasonable. I have a feeling that I will always be indebted to my mentor for his considerable help this summer.”

“I thought that the lecture on qualitative interviewing was especially helpful, as I had just done a day of interviews for my project. I feel that I have a much better grasp on how to go about collecting qualitative data. I know that the information given will be extremely valuable when I begin conducting my study this year.”

Center for Ethnographic Research
2420 Bowditch Street #5670
University of California
Berkeley, CA 94720-5670
TEL: 510.643.7237
FAX: 510.642.8674
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