Ethnographic Studies

Program in Ethnographic Studies Program

The Program in Ethnographic Studies is no longer accepting students for enrollment in the certificate program.  Students in the Class of 2021 who are already enrolled will be supported in their completion of the Certificate in Ethnographic Studies.

Non-majors who are interested in ethnographic studies continue to be welcome in the Department of Anthropology's core methods courses (ANT 300 and ANT 301) as well as topical courses. Anthropology faculty are available to advise students who have taken one or more of these courses and need assistance with ethnographic fieldwork planning; use faculty office hours to schedule an appointment.

Students and scholars who want to do remote ethnographic research amid the Covid-19 pandemic can begin by utilizing the Remote Ethnography Workshop online resource.

What is the ethnographic studies program?

The Department of Anthropology offers undergraduate students in all divisions the opportunity to learn how to use ethnography as a supplement or complement to their department concentration or certificate studies. Students learn how to apply ethnographic methods and ethics as additional resources during study abroad, internships, and independent research. As students return to campus from the field (international or U.S.-based), skills learned from ethnographic studies helps them integrate their experience "away" with their academic work at Princeton. In this way, ethnographic studies may enrich students' experience within their own fields of study, or just deepen their personal appreciation of the human dimensions of globalization and other aspects of the modern world.

What does the program offer? 

A pair of core courses on key concepts and ethnographic research methods and ethics, topical courses on methods and cultural analysis, and supplemental advising support by student initiative for an ethnographic component in a student’s  independent research in their department of concentration. There is no formal program admission. The program does not offer certification.


To engage in ethnographic study, any student is welcome to take the Department of Anthropology’s core methods courses at any stage of the student’s course of study at Princeton.  The two core courses are required for Anthropology concentrators and will provide opportunity for students concentrating outside Anthropology to develop ethnographic sensibilities and acquire relevant skills. Non-Anthropology majors may take either or both courses in any order.

  • ANT 300 Ethnography, Evidence and Experience, offered each fall term. The course develops concepts relevant to planning for and analyzing and writing up ethnographic research.
  • ANT 301 The Ethnographer's Craft, offered each spring term. The course introduces students to the practical aspects of ethnographic research, including research ethics, and is designed to support students' development of a research proposal for ethnographic research.

Concentrators in all departments are welcome to take these and other topical courses offered by the Department of Anthropology.

Ethnographic research 

Drawing on the diverse methods introduced in ANT 300 and ANT 301 and certain topical courses, students are prepared to include ethnographic fieldwork as a methodological approach to their independent work in another department of concentration. Department of Anthropology faculty are available during office hours to help these students as supplemental advisers during their planning of ethnographic fieldwork.  Prior to beginning their fieldwork, students must demonstrate proficiency in the relevant field or contact language and acquire Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval for research projects involving human subjects, if applicable. Students should plan to seek principal investigator support from a faculty member in their department of concentration when applying for IRB approval.

Ethnographic writing 

After fieldwork, Department of Anthropology faculty may also provide supplemental advising, by a student’s initiative, if an anthropological theoretical approach would be helpful to the student when analyzing and writing up the research.

Department of Anthropology

Students interested in and participating in this ethnographic studies program are also welcome to choose Anthropology as department of concentration.




Program in Ethnographic Studies
116 Aaron Burr Hall