Professor Adam T. Smith with students


The Department of Anthropology at Cornell University is one of the leading institutions for the study of humanity and our surroundings from the remote past to the impending future.  We offer courses of study at the undergraduate level that help train students in the arts of global citizenship and coexistence.  And we train graduate students to conduct advanced research that is at once grounded in fieldwork and steeped in traditions of social and cultural theory.

The department is committed to exploring social and cultural life through a range of methodological and intellectual traditions, from archaeology to ethnography to human biology.  Current areas of concentration in our research and teaching include: medicine and health; governance, law and politics; finance and economy; environment and ecology; identity, gender and ethnicity; and global humanitarianism.

person typing on laptop with artifacts on each side of desk

Undergraduate Program

Anthropology is the major of global understanding.  It prepares students to understand their world by developing their ability to critically analyze social and cultural institutions, to attend to the impact of different historical experiences and to engage constructively with communities both far away and close to home. Anthropology prepares students for a wide range of professional careers, including law, medicine, foreign service, development, nonprofit work, social services and business, among others.

Discover more about the Anthropology undergraduate major and minor.

group at excavation site

Graduate Program

The Graduate Field of Anthropology encompasses the faculty of the Department of Anthropology along with anthropologists in other departments on campus.  Graduate training is tailored to the interests and specific needs of each student in collaboration with their committee.  The goal is to provide students with an immersion in the discipline’s intellectual traditions, an orientation to contemporary debates and the theoretical tools to bring new empirical observations to bear on the pressing problems in today's world.

Discover more about the Anthropology graduate program.

Hazel Guardado

I love that studying anthropology has made me even more curious about the world.

— Hazel Guardado, Anthropology '16