Nondegree Student Categories

Overview

The Graduate School hosts a variety of nondegree students from other institutions who come to Princeton to take courses, collaborate with members of the Princeton faculty, and conduct advanced research using Princeton's libraries and research laboratories. Nondegree students receive many of the same benefits as degree-seeking students, as outlined below, and contribute meaningfully to graduate-level education at Princeton.  Nondegree international students are eligible for visa support through the University. 

Note: Nondegree international students are eligble to receive visa support from the Davis International Center but cannot be approved by the University to work off campus during their period of enrollment or after completion of the academic objective that associates them with Princeton University.  Accordingly, nondegree international students are not eligible to apply for Curricular Practical Training (F-1 students), Optional Practical Training (F-1 students), or Academic Training (J-1 students).  Only degree-seeking students at Princeton are allowed to apply for off-campus work permission.

For more information on applying to the Graduate School as a nondegree student, please see our Admission information.

Visiting Student Research Collaborator (VSRC)

An advanced degree candidate from another institution who applies to Princeton as a short-term, nondegree student to work with a specific faculty member on a research project that grew out of collaboration or mutual research interests. A VSRC may stay for as little as one month or as long as (but not longer than) 12 months, cumulatively. A monthly enrollment fee is charged, which allows the University to provide the VSRC a number of regular student benefits, including student health insurance, on-campus health care, network and library privileges, and assistance from a number of offices, including the Graduate School, the Davis International Center, and campus and off-campus housing offices. A VSRC may not enroll in courses for credit while at Princeton and will not receive an official transcript. A VSRC is understood by the nature of the appointment to be working full time on research and may at the faculty member's discretion be appointed as an Assistant in Research (AR). A VSRC may not be appointed as an Assistant in Instruction (AI) nor be approved by the University to hold any other kind of paid employment on or off campus. Only regular faculty members who are approved on a continuing basis to serve in official advising roles for Princeton graduate students are permitted to serve as VSRC faculty sponsors. (Post-docs, visiting faculty, emeriti/ae faculty, associate research scholars and professional specialists are not permitted to sponsor VSRCs.) All VSRC appointments must be approved by the sponsoring department or program and the Graduate School.

Trailing Nondegree

An advanced degree candidate from another institution who accompanies the adviser, a newly hired faculty member at Princeton, to complete degree-related research. The degree awarded will be from the student's home institution, not Princeton. The duration of the status is normally 12 months, renewable for up to three academic years. A trailing nondegree student is charged a marginal tuition rate and is eligible for most of the same benefits as a regular student, including student health insurance, on-campus health care, network and library privileges, and assistance from a number of offices, including the Graduate School, the Davis International Center, and campus and off-campus housing offices. A trailing nondegree student is understood by the nature of the appointment to be working full time on research in order to complete degree requirements and may at the faculty member's discretion be appointed as an Assistant in Research (AR). A trailing student may not enroll in courses for credit while at Princeton and is not eligible to be appointed as an Assistant in Instruction (AI). Trailing students must be approved by the Graduate School and the Office of the Dean of the Faculty at the time a prospective senior faculty member is being recruited.

Visiting

An advanced degree candidate or competitively selected postgraduate scholar from another institution who comes to Princeton for one or two semesters. The student has a particular need that can be met at Princeton: consultation with a faculty member, enrollment in a specific course or set of courses, use of a library or laboratory facilities, etc. A visiting student is charged full tuition and fees (or has them paid through sponsored funds), and may take courses for credit and receive an official transcript. Visiting students receive access to most of the same benefits as regular graduate students at Princeton, including student health insurance, on-campus health care, network and library privileges, and assistance from a number of offices, including the Graduate School, the Davis International Center, and campus and off-campus housing offices. A visiting student may at a faculty member's discretion be appointed as an Assistant in Research (AR). Except in cases where they are competitively selected postgraduate scholars, visiting students ordinarily are not eligible for other University financial aid or financial support.  Visiting students may not be appointed as an Assistant in Instruction (AI). Visiting students must be approved by the Graduate School.

Exchange

An advanced degree candidate from another institution who comes to Princeton through one of the Graduate School's established exchange programs. An exchange student is eligible to enroll in courses for credit and receive an official transcript with the exception of students coming from Freie University, Jena, or ENS who hold the status of VSRC. Tuition, fees, and benefits are subject to the terms of the exchange agreement. An exchange student is not ordinarily eligible for University financial aid or financial support and may not serve as an Assistant in Instruction (AI). All exchange students must be approved by the Graduate School.

Qualifying

A student admitted for one year on a probationary and preparatory basis, and not as a degree-seeking student. The grounds for admission are either that the student's undergraduate program of study does not qualify the candidate for full admission in the field of choice, or the student's formal education was interrupted for a significant period of time. Qualifying students may take undergraduate and graduate courses for credit in preparation for application in the chosen field. Admission as a degree candidate following this preparatory period is not automatic. Qualifying students are charged full tuition and fees and receive access to most of the same benefits as regular graduate students at Princeton, including student health insurance, on-campus health care, network and library privileges, and assistance from a number of offices, including the Graduate School, the Davis International Center, and campus and off-campus housing offices. A qualifying student is not ordinarily eligible for University or Graduate School financial support, and may not be appointed as an Assistant in Instruction (AI). Qualifying students must be approved by the sponsoring department or program and the Graduate School.

Cross-registered

A graduate student from another local institution who comes to Princeton through one of our established cross-registration agreements. Cross-registered students may enroll in up to two graduate courses in a term with the approval of the home institution and the Graduate School. Enrollment and grades are reported back to the home institution for recording; cross-registered students from other institutions do not receive a Princeton transcript and are not normally eligible for any other benefits reserved for students enrolled at Princeton. Cross-registration at Princeton must be approved by the Graduate School.

Continuing Education

The Program in Continuing Education admits qualified area residents and members of the University community to regularly scheduled undergraduate and graduate courses. Admission into continuing education does not admit an applicant to a Princeton University degree program. Individuals seek entrance for a variety of reasons: to complete a degree at another institution; to prepare for graduate or professional school, often in a field different from their undergraduate major; to change a career or to catch up with recent developments in their current occupation; or to satisfy a personal intellectual interest. Continuing education students participate fully in classes and receive transcripts of grades, but receive no other benefits reserved for students enrolled at Princeton. Further information is available at the Office of Continuing Education.