Anthropology 2020-2021 FAQs

Princeton University Spring Term 2021

The information here represents the Department of Anthropology’s current understanding and approach.  Please understand that it is subject to change, as conditions change.  Please continue to monitor information distributed by the University using the link provided above, and check back here throughout the academic year for departmental updates. [Last update: March 5, 2021]

Anthropology 2020-2021 FAQs

Grading Policy

What is the grading policy for Anthropology departmental courses in the Fall 2020 term? Will it be different in Spring 2021?

During this unprecedented time, all ANT courses are P/D/F optional. The policy from Fall 2020 carries over to Spring 2021. However, it is highly recommended that ANT majors take departmental courses for a grade. Remote education requires extra effort on the part of both faculty and students. Choosing P/D/F may discourage deep engagement with course materials. When making a grading decision, please be aware that choosing the P/D/F option for a required course may impact your chances for departmental honors. And it is unclear how future employers or graduate schools will interpret a P/D/F grade. 

What should I know about P/D/F grading in Anthropology in Spring 2021? Is P/D/F grading also an option for independent work?

Selection of the P/D/F grading option is done by students in Tiger Hub. For Spring 2021, the deadline to select P/D/F grading is April 6, 2021 at 11:59pm.

P/D/F grading is an available option for Anthropology majors in Academic Year 2021.  ANT majors who are considering selection of P/D/F grading for departmental courses or for independent work in Spring 2021 should read carefully the information on the webpage ANT Grading Policy in 2020-2021 Spring.

What is the policy on P/D/F grading for a potential departmental course taken before declaring Anthropology?

Please see the guidance for students in ANT courses in Spring 2020.  Policies established for Spring 2020 extend to academic year 2020-2021. Beginning with Fall 2021 courses, the Department of Anthropology returns to its traditional requirement for departmental courses to be taken for letter grades.

As a senior in the Class of 2021, where can I find information about P/D/F grading that Anthropology established in Spring 2020 during my junior year?

See CV-19 updates for ANT Juniors, last updated 4/20/2020.


What will independent work advising be like during a remote term? Will it be different in Spring 2021?

Office hours will be held for the most part in Zoom rooms instead of campus faculty offices. Your adviser will provide additional details regarding possible changes during the spring term. Procedures will be individualized and fluid, in compliance with University protocol. For seniors, there is an additional required fall 2020 senior seminar.

Is there a way to conduct ethnography remotely?

The VizE Lab has put together a resource to help students find ways to conduct ethnography remotely.  Check out

Besides working with my senior thesis or junior independent work adviser, are there other advising resources that will be available to me?

Firestone Library provides online services to help students conduct research for their independent work. See the next FAQ for more information.  Anthropology majors also have access to syllabi for undergraduate ANT courses that can be very helpful for formulating research questions as well as developing bibliographies. The syllabi are available in the Blackboard for Anthropology Concentrators. The VizE Lab is creating an online resource to help researchers do visual ethnography remotely. Additionally, seniors have the senior seminar.  Juniors have ANT 300 to learn how to do a literature review and ANT 301 to learn how to conduct ethnographic fieldwork.

How will I do library research for my independent work while I am learning remotely?

See the Anthropology LibGuide. Please also refer to the related question in the “Teaching and Learning” section of the University’s Fall 2020 Undergraduate FAQs. Refer to the Library's What's New for Spring 2021. The subject matter librarian for Anthropology is Wayne Bivens-Tatum ( He can help you acquire the books and articles you may need, in addition to providing consultation on your individual research. Unfortunately, most students will not be able to do research literally in the library, but if you are living on campus, Firestone and several other libraries are now open for study and browsing, although with limited capacity. Please reserve a seat here: Additionally, the HathiTrust Emergency Temporary Access Service (ETAS) is effective August 31. 

I am returning to campus for Spring 2021. Will I have additional access to library materials?

See up-to-date information on the Princeton University Library's Spring 2021 webpage.

How do I get course advising, including regarding cognates?

First clarify any questions by asking the Undergraduate Administrator.  Then meet with the Director of Undergraduate Studies by Zoom in ANTDUS office hours during the fall months of August, September, November and December. Advising appointments with the ANTDUS can also be made throughout the academic year.  Please use the WASE calendar for the ANT DUS to sign up for available office hours.

Whom should I consult for advising on a non-course matter?

All faculty members teaching during a term have office hours listed on WASE. Please use those times to sign up for non-course advising.

I would like to start planning my spring semester. Which anthropology courses will be taught in the spring?

See the Spring 2021 course plan.  The actual Spring 2021 ANT courses offerings are now published.

I would like to start planning my next academic year. Which anthropology courses will be taught in AY 2022?

The foundational anthropology courses currently planned for AY 2022 include, but are not limited to, Introduction to Anthropology (ANT 201), Human Evolution (ANT 206), Debt (ANT 225), Catastrophes/Disaster (ANT 219), and Medical Anthropology (ANT 240).

Also planned for AY 2022 are existing topical courses on language, on law, on development, on the sensorium, on postcolonialism, and on documentary film and data visualization, among others.  New courses will include study of food, culture and society; gender and sexuality; the environment; science and technology studies; multispecies studies; and more.

These plans are dynamic and subject to change. Fall 2021 course offerings are scheduled to be published on the Registrar's website on 3/25/2021.

For ANT Seniors

What is the Anthropology Senior Seminar? Is the Senior Seminar graded?

The Anthropology senior seminar is ungraded, but attendance will be taken in every meeting and shared with thesis advisers.  For the Class of 2021, see the Fall 2020 ANT Senior Seminar for more information. For the Class of 2022, information about the Fall 2021 ANT Senior Seminar will be shared with rising seniors during the Spring 2021 advising period for Fall 2021 course enrollment.  

What is the timeline for senior thesis work? When will I meet my thesis adviser?

See Important Dates for an overview.  See the Department of Anthropology’s 2020-21 Calendar for Seniors (in Blackboard) for details.

How do I pick a thesis topic? May I continue to research the topic of my JP?

Formulate a research question in consultation with your thesis adviser, based on a general or more specific topic that you propose.  The senior seminar will also help you by offering suggestions and practical exercises. Students are permitted to continue junior-year research to senior year.  See "Thesis Research" in the Guide to Independent Work in Anthropology for conditions.

I would like to include a creative component in my senior thesis. May I?

Yes, creative components have been included in past senior theses.  Discuss your ideas with your adviser.

Will I be able to conduct fieldwork for my senior thesis? Will I be able to travel for thesis research?

Travel in AY 2020-2021 will not be possible.  At this time University guidelines for Fall 2021 and beyond are unknown. Remote fieldwork may be planned with support from a student's adviser.

Is there funding available for senior thesis research? What types of thesis-related expenses are eligible for funding?

See the Student Activities Funding Engine (SAFE). Check with the Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) for updates regarding thesis funding guidelines under Covid-related travel restrictions. For funding of thesis research for the Class of 2022 during Summer 2021, ANT majors should apply for OUR funding.  Applications are accepted from February 19, 2021 to March 21, 2021 in SAFE. Other funding opportunities with similar or slightly different application deadlines may also be available in SAFE.  ANT juniors should consult their JP advisers regarding planning for summer thesis research.

I have special technology needs for my thesis work. Will funding support be available?

See Technology Resources FAQ for Undergraduate Students.

How can I see past senior theses while off campus?

Please see the ANT senior theses and awards webpage or the  Mudd Library’s DataSpace

My IRB PI is not my senior thesis adviser. What should I do?

Initiate a modification to your IRB protocol immediately to change your PI to your assigned senior thesis adviser.  The current PI will need to take action.  Communicate with the current PI and shepherd the process to completion, asking for help from an IRB administrator (Paul Hryvniak,, if necessary.

For ANT Juniors

What is the timeline for JP work? When will I be assigned a JP adviser?

See Important Dates for an overview.  See the Department of Anthropology’s 2020-21 Calendar for Juniors (in Blackboard) for details.

What does an Anthropology JP look like? How do I pick a topic?

See Junior Independent Work.

Are there examples of past JPs that I can see?

After the Fall 2020 semester begins, sample JPs will be made available to ANT juniors through a dedicated Google Drive. Instructions to gain access will be provided in the Blackboard for Anthropology Concentrators.

To what extent can fieldwork be done for senior thesis work next year?

To be determined depending on the course of the Covid-19 pandemic and the University's response to the situation.

I had planned to go abroad this year, now I plan to spend my fall semester abroad in my senior year. How will my senior advising be structured?

The answer to this question will be different for each student, depending on the student’s circumstances. Follow the two-step advising process to review remaining course requirements with the Undergraduate Administrator before scheduling an advising meeting with the Director of Undergraduate Studies. Additionally, University travel policy will determine when students will have the ability again to choose to study abroad.