Alan Sanford Prince (born 1946) is a professor of linguistics at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. Prince, along with Paul Smolensky, developed Optimality Theory, which was originally applied to phonology, but has been extended to other areas of linguistics such as syntax and semantics. He went to high school in Fairfax, Virginia, got his BA with "great distinction" from McGill University, and received his Ph.D. from MIT. Before coming to Rutgers, Prince was a professor of linguistics at Brandeis University and at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
In 2010 Prince was named the Rutgers Board of Governors Professor of Linguistics.