The 2023-2024 AnthroGuide is the last print version. Edits for graduate programs are due July 31, 2023.

General Description / Special Programs

The department’s strengths are reinforced by the Cornell programs in which they participate, including the East Asia Program, South Asia Program, Southeast Asia Program, Latin American Studies Program, Institute for European Studies, Asian American Studies Program, American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program, Latino Studies Program, Jewish Studies Program, Africana Studies and Research Center, Cornell Institute for Public Affairs, Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, and Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program. Anthropologists also participate in the Cornell Institute of Archaeology and Material Studies, which coordinates the teaching and research of faculty drawn from a number of fields in the University; the institute offers an undergraduate major and masters degree in archaeology and doctoral degrees through the participating fields, including anthropology. The graduate program in anthropology at Cornell University is unusually flexible in that each student’s program is administered by a Special Committee composed of a chair representing the major in anthropology and 2 additional members representing the minors of the student’s choice. Each student’s program of study is developed by the student in consultation with the members of his/her committee who may represent as many as 3 different fields within the Graduate School. This flexibility permits students to develop either subdisciplinary or area interests and to combine these in a personally meaningful way. Of some 80 fields of graduate work offered at Cornell, anthropology students have minored in linguistics, development sociology, physiology, history, mathematics, ecology, psychology, and various area studies, among others. Linguistic training is offered through the Department of Linguistics. Training in skills relevant to human biology can be obtained within the Department of Anthropology or in the Division of Biological Sciences.

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Degrees Offered PhD, MA, BA
Highest Degree Offered PhD
BA/BS Field Areas
Biological Anthropology
Cultural Anthropology
Linguistic Anthropology
BA/BS Requirements
The Cornell major is structured to provide both general grounding in three subfields of anthropology (sociocultural anthropology, archaeology, and biological anthropology) and detailed focus on a particular area of concentration. Areas of concentration include a wide variety of subjects within and between these three subfields. Topics ranging from identity politics and globalization to prehistory and human evolution can be pursued in classes focused on every major geographical region in the world. Upper level courses span a range of topical and theoretical issues related to religion, gender, economics, colonialism, democratization, prehistoric cultures, race, behavioral evolution, and conservation, to name a few. No prerequisites are required to enter the anthropology major. Students see the director of undergraduate studies to apply to the major and obtain an advisor. Majors and advisors collaboratively build a program of study that reflects the student’s individual interests and the intellectual breadth of the field. Our goal is to provide a close and supportive advising relationship and a strong and coherent structure for the student’s major. A minimum of 37 credits are necessary to complete the major. Students must take: 1) one course of 3 or more credits in each of the three subfields (sociocultural, archaeological, biological) at the 1000 or 2000 level, 2) ANTHR 3000: Intro to Anthropological Theory, 3) two other courses of at least 4 credits at the 3000 level, 4) two 4000-level courses, 5) an additional eight credits in elective courses, which may be in cognate disciplines with the approval of their advisor. Exceptions to these requirements may be granted if a written petition is approved by the director of undergraduate studies. No S/U credits or First-Year Writing Seminars may count toward the major. A letter grade of C- or better is required in all courses counted toward the major.
MA/MS Field Areas
PhD Field Areas
Phd Requirements 6 units of residence (ordinarily 6 semesters), minimum of 1 language other than English (Special Committee may set additional requirements), oral and written examinations (Qualifying, Admission to Candidacy, Final Thesis), fieldwork required in most cases 134
Internship / Grants / Funding
Internships Available 0
Internship Required 0
Program Details
Collections Approx 20,000 archaeological and ethnographic items ranging from the Lower Paleolithic to the present, notably including Ndembu masks and costumes collected by Victor and Edith Turner; archaeological artifacts from Marajó Island, Brazil, excavated in the mid-19th century; Yir Yorront pieces from Australia and Hmong and Akka clothing from Thailand, collected by Lauriston Sharp; artifacts from Bob Ascher's excavation of a slave cabin in Georgia; pieces from the Philippines collected in the early 20th century; and a diverse collection for teaching.
Misc Information Margaret Rolfe (Administrative Manager);
Certs Offered 0
Online Courses
Online Courses: 0
Club / Honor Society
Anthropology Club: 1
Anthropology Club Info: Majors in Anthropology, with faculty advisor, organize events related to undergraduate anthropological studies and research.
Lambda Alpha Chapter: 0