Majoring in Anthropology
SOPHOMORES and others considering majoring in ANTHROPOLOGY, please browse this page and then click here for more information on choosing your major and how to declare Anthropology.
Prerequisites for majoring in Anthropology
A student should have taken – before the junior year – at least one course in anthropology (at any level) or obtain special permission from the Departmental Representative. Courses taken before major declaration may be counted towards required departmental courses.
Anthropology concentrators must take nine departmental courses: two courses at the 200-level (normally completed prior to senior year), three core courses (described below), and four elective courses (at least one of which should be at the 300-level and one at the 400-level).
The core courses ensure that students will have a systematic understanding of the scope, methods, and theories of anthropology associated with cultural inquiry and its implications for an understanding of human experience. They are:
- ANT 300 (Ethnography, Evidence and Experience, normally taken as ANT 300B in junior fall unless a student is studying abroad)
- ANT 301 (The Ethnographer's Craft, normally taken as ANT 301B in junior spring unless studying abroad)
- ANT 390 (History of Anthropological Theory, normally taken as ANT 390B in the fall of the student's senior year)
The core courses are designed to prepare students for their junior and senior independent work. To prepare for independent senior thesis research, students should plan to complete ANT 300 and ANT 301 by the end of their junior year.
Junior and Senior Seminars
Required junior and senior seminars are designed to support students' independent work. The Junior Seminar is year-long and is scheduled for students along with ANT 300B (fall term) and ANT 301B (spring term) as "Lab" components of the two core courses. A junior major who has taken ANT 300 and/or ANT 301 before junior year is also required to participate in the Junior Seminar by separate scheduling. The Senior Seminar is taken during the fall term only and is scheduled for students along with ANT 390B as a "Lab" component of the third core course. A student who has taken ANT 390 before senior year is also required to participate in the Senior Seminar by separate scheduling.
Departmental electives may be chosen in accordance with each student's special interests while satisfying departmental requirements as explained above. Up to two courses outside the Anthropology Department may be taken as cognates to satisfy departmental electives. These may be courses taken during study abroad, or courses in other departments at Princeton. Any proposed cognates must be approved by the Departmental Representative. Cognates taken at Princeton may be counted so long as they are judged by the Departmental Representative to be relevant to a student's junior or senior independent work. Exceptionally well-prepared undergraduates may take graduate seminars for departmental credit. To enroll in a graduate seminar, the student must have the approval of the Departmental Representative and the instructor of the course.
To count for the major, departmental courses must be taken for a grade and not pass/fail. The final grade earned for a departmental course must be "C" or higher.
Fieldwork / Study Abroad
Some anthropology majors choose to spend a semester in their junior or senior year away from Princeton studying abroad, and/or the summer before their senior year doing field research off-campus. Fieldwork and study abroad are neither required nor expected, but they are unique opportunities for students to experience other social worlds first-hand and to make a refreshing change from the laboratory or library research that is more commonly part of college work.
The Departmental Representative can help students plan for study abroad, including choosing courses to enhance their studies in anthropology or to explore other interests, as well as developing a bridge between study abroad and thesis research to be conducted in the summer before senior year.
In their role as advisers for students' independent work, Anthropology Department faculty are available to help students develop field research projects. The Department has limited funds (available on a competitive basis) to support rising seniors in conducting summer field research toward their senior thesis projects. Additional funding is available from the Office of the Dean of the College and other sources. Students should consult the Student Activities Funding Engine (SAFE) for funding application details.
Independent Work and Senior Departmental Examination
The Guide to Independent Work in Anthropology explains in detail the Junior Paper and Senior Thesis for students majoring in Anthropology. In the spring of senior year, after the thesis deadline, all concentrators complete a departmental examination designed to test their knowledge of anthropology.
Grade averages for Anthropology departmental honors are calculated from the student’s departmental courses, including cognates taken at Princeton. Students must earn a grade of "C" or better to receive credit toward the major in departmental courses (including cognates), the Junior Paper, and the Senior Thesis.
Honors are calculated according to the following weighting system:
- Average grade in departmental courses (comprising the nine required and elective courses, including cognates): 60%
- Senior thesis: 25%
- Junior paper: 10%
- Senior departmental exam: 5%