Departmental Courses

Anthropology concentrators must take nine departmental courses. The course of study, or selected track, determines each student's mix of required and elective courses, including cognates.

Required courses

Students who major in Anthropology choose a concentration in one of three tracks:

Each of the three tracks requires students to take two core courses:

  • ANT 300  Ethnography, Evidence and Experience (offered fall term)
  • ANT 301  The Ethnographer's Craft (offered spring term)

Students normally take these two core courses during the junior year.  Prospective ANT majors who plan to study abroad during the junior year may take either or both of these courses early, in sophomore year. ANT 301 is normally required for rising seniors who conduct summer ethnographic research in preparation for their senior theses; the course includes IRB training and certification that is required for the conduct of human subjects research.

Additional required and elective courses vary by track (see the track comparison table for summary information).

Elective courses

Elective courses are Anthropology courses or cognates that are relevant to a student's chosen track.  Students in SCA or LPE take three required courses and at least six electives.  MedAnth students take four required courses and at least five electives. In any track, two cognate courses may be used to satisfy an elective requirement. Students in LPE and MedAnth may use as electives up to two courses taught within the Department of Anthropology but outside their respective tracks.

Anthropology electives are typically taught every other year, although some may be offered annually and others less frequently. For students in the Sociocultural Anthropology track, any course with an ANT course number may be an elective, provided the student fulfills the course-level distribution requirements specified for the SCA track. Similarly, students in the Medical Anthropology track or the Law, Politics, and Economics track fulfill their elective course requirements according to the course of study specified for MedAnth and LPE, respectively. For details, please refer to the individual tracks.

Each semester, pre-approved elective courses for the LPE and MedAnth tracks are published before course enrollment begins. When available, pre-approved cognates are also listed for the LPE and MedAnth tracks.


A cognate is a non-ANT course that the director of undergraduate studies has reviewed and deemed to be relevant to a student's independent work or correspond to a student's course of study (i.e., track). The cognate may be a course taken during study abroad and/or a course offered by another department or program at Princeton that is not also cross-listed by Anthropology. 

Two cognate courses may be used to satisfy an elective requirement in any track. Proposed cognates must be approved by the department. Approval prior to enrollment is normally expected, however, retroactive approval is granted when warranted. 

Course descriptions and distribution areas

For descriptions of all Anthropology courses by semester, see Courses. Anthropology courses cover a range of distribution areas, resulting in concentrators being able to satisfy many of their general education requirements using departmental courses. For example, ANT 390 (required for the SCA and LPE tracks and recommended as an elective for MedAnth) satisfies both Historical Analysis and Social Analysis requirements. ANT 201 (CDEC), ANT 206 (EC), ANT 240 (EM),  ANT 305 (CDEC), ANT 360 (EM), and ANT 403 (CDEM) are just a few examples of Anthropology courses satisfying other distribution areas.