Princeton University generally and the Graduate School specifically do not operate on a credit-hour system. However, because our graduate programs require full-time enrollment, Princeton considers graduate students to be taking the equivalent of at least 12 semester hours for each semester enrolled. This may include coursework and/or supervised research, not all of which may appear on the transcript.
Because the Graduate School does not operate on a system of semester-hour credits, no provision exists for satisfying any portion of Graduate School degree requirements by transferring credit received for work at other institutions. Ph.D. students who have completed graduate-level work elsewhere, however, should be able to present themselves for the general examination in a correspondingly shorter time, after meeting the Graduate School residence requirement and any departmental requirements.
Course Selection Procedure
Proposed Reading Courses
Proposed Reading Courses are courses that departments may offer during a specific semester to help students fulfill a particular interest or requirement toward the student’s studies. Generally, one student or a small group of students (up to seven) may be enrolled in a course, which must first be approved by the deputy dean for academic affairs. Courses are proposed by submitting a syllabus and the Proposed Reading Course Form. Reading courses should be approved before the start of the semester in which they will be offered, but may be approved up through the sixth week of the semester in which they are offered. Students in DCE status cannot participate. Cross-registered students from other institutions may only participate if a Princeton graduate student is already enrolled in the course. A course may not be created solely for a cross-registered student.
Changes to Course Enrollment
Normally graduate students may make changes to their course enrollment record through Friday of the twelfth week of the semester. Such changes include dropping a course and changing the grading basis of a course (for example, from graded to pass/fail or audit). All allowed changes may be made via the TigerHub system up until the deadline for that semester. Students should consult with their DGS and/or adviser(s) before making any changes.
The Woodrow Wilson School sets its own deadlines for graduate students to make changes to their course enrollment record; graduate students in the Woodrow Wilson School should consult with administrators there for guidance on their deadlines and processes for changes.
Requests for Enrollment Changes
Graduate students may, with appropriate permissions, be approved to enroll in a course with a grading option not otherwise allowed by the instructor and therefore not available as a choice in the TigerHub course enrollment system. This occurs most commonly when graduate students are approved by their adviser to take a graduate-level course outside their department and need the approved course to be graded in a way that satisfies requirements within their program. Students may also be approved to enroll in a course that conflicts with a course in which they are currently enrolled. Such changes require the permission of a student's DGS as well as the instructor for the course; these permissions are indicated by signatures on the Graduate Student Request for Enrollment Changes. The completed form must be submitted in person to the Office of the Registrar, according to the normal deadline for changes to course enrollment.
Curricular Practical Training
Curricular practical training (CPT) allows enrolled graduate students within their regular program lengths to hold off-campus employment that is directly related to their field of study. Students approved by their departments and the Graduate School to participate in CPT are enrolled in a program-specific CPT course. Work completed through approved employment is evaluated academically by the CPT faculty instructor. CPT courses must be approved by individual programs as part of their curriculum and must be commensurate with degree level.
For more information on curricular practical training and a full list of CPT courses available, please see the Davis International Center’s website.