Declaring Anthropology FAQs

What is anthropology?

Anthropology is the comprehensive study of human development, culture, and change in sociocultural systems, past and present.

How do I know if Anthropology is a good fit for me?

Take any Anthropology course that interests you.  Browse the Anthropology@Princeton website. Talk to a current major.

What do Anthropology majors do after college?

A lot of interesting things!  Check out Careers in Anthropology.

Are there prerequisites to major in Anthropology?

One Anthropology course or permission from the department.  If you haven't taken an ANT course but you think Anthropology might be a good fit, make an appointment to speak with the Director of Undergraduate Studies, who will help you determine whether Anthropology would make a good academic home for you even though you haven't taken an ANT course yet. See the Declaring Anthropology page for contact information.

Will courses I take or have taken as P/D/F count as ANT departmental courses?

Courses taken in Spring 2020 with P/D/F grading will be automatically countable towards departmental requirements.  See details here.  See also the 2020-2021 FAQs. For courses taken in earlier semesters with P/D/F-optional grading, the University allows students to request a retroactive change from P/D/F to letter grading, since students might not know their ultimate department of concentration for a period after they have taken a course that could become a departmental course.  Consult your residential college for instructions on how to request such retroactive action. 

What are the departmental course requirements?

Every Anthropology major takes a total of 9 departmental courses, regardless of the student's chosen track.  Two of those courses may be cognates.

What are tracks?

Anthropology majors may choose a track to help them plan their academic work in the department in a legibly focused way.  The tracks are Sociocultural Anthropology (the default track); Medical Anthropology; and Law, Politics and Economics. We call these SCA, MedAnth, and LPE for short.

What do the different tracks have in common?

Normally, every ANT major takes ANT 300 and ANT 301 during junior year, unless studying abroad. At graduation, the transcript degree for all concentrators will be A.B. in Anthropology. (Students who successfully complete the curriculum of their chosen track will receive a departmental attestation on Class Day and may note their concentration on their resumés.)

How are the separate tracks different?

Except for the two common courses ANT 300 and ANT 301, the mix of nine departmental courses will be different for students in different tracks. See Compare Tracks for differences in coursework.  The senior thesis for each major is written on a topic that is related to the student's track, broadly defined.  Junior independent work may be track related or not, since students aren't required to declare a track until the beginning of junior spring, and the Anthropology JP is a year-long literature review that begins in the fall term.

When do I have to decide on my track?

As mentioned in the answer to the above question about differences among the tracks, students must declare their tracks by the first day of classes of the spring term in junior year.  However, students will be asked to declare their track on the first day of Wintersession, if they haven't already done so by then. 

Students may choose their track any time before the track declaration deadline, including during sophomore concentration declaration.  In TigerHub, the "subplan" under the Anthropology concentration equates to a student's track selection.  (Sociocultural Anthropology is the default track and does not require selection of a subplan.)  

It is advisable to declare a track as soon as one has made the decision.  Since TigerHub's degree progress tracking assumes the SCA track to be the default track, a student who waits to declare their non-SCA track will not see their departmental courses reflected properly in TigerHub until they make their declaration and the department has updated their student record.

What does Junior Independent Work look like?

Every ANT major writes one JP, due at the end of the spring term. The JP is an anthropological literature review between 4000-8000 words and may be on any topic that interests the student, as long as there exists anthropological sources on the topic.  ANT juniors should plan to use at least 2-3 academic monographs and 5-7 academic articles in their literature review.

Where can I learn more about Anthropology junior papers?

See Junior Independent Work. In the junior year, students will have access to see sample JPs written by past Anthropology majors who have given permission to share their proposals and final papers with current majors.

What about Anthropology senior theses?

See Senior Thesis Research. The senior thesis must be related to the student's track, broadly defined, using a methodological and theoretical approach appropriate to anthropology and approved by a student's senior thesis adviser.

How do cognates work? Do all ANT majors get approval for the same cognates?

A course may be approved as a cognate for a student in one track but not for students in another track or even another student in the same track.  Cognates are individualized according to each student's independent work in addition to the chosen track.  The DUS makes the approval determination. However, although cognates are approved for students individually, non-ANT courses offered in a particular semester may be preapproved as cognate-eligible for one or more tracks. See pre-approved electives.

Return to steps for Declaring Anthropology.

Return to Majoring in Anthropology.