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
Graduate students eligible to enroll in courses are permitted to enroll in a course on an audit basis if this enrollment option is allowed by the relevant instructor(s). There are no limits set by the Graduate School on the number of courses that may be audited in a single term. However, students who wish to audit a course should review their course enrollment with their adviser(s) and must discuss with the course instructor(s) the requirements for receiving audit credit on the transcript. Requirements for audit credit may vary from course to course and from instructor to instructor. If the requirements for audit credit given by the instructor(s) are not met, the course is automatically dropped from the student's academic record.
Proposed Independent Reading Courses
Independent Reading Courses are courses that Princeton faculty who are approved to teach graduate courses 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 or the deputy dean's designee. Courses are proposed on behalf of students by departments through an electronic form submission process that is administered by graduate program administrators. Reading courses should be approved before the start of the semester in which they will be offered. Students in DCE status are not eligible to enroll in these courses. Cross-registered students from other institutions may participate only if a Princeton graduate student is already enrolled in the course; a reading 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 Princeton School of Public and International Affairs sets its own deadlines for graduate students to make changes to their course enrollment record; graduate students in the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs should consult with administrators there for guidance on their deadlines and processes for changes.
Exceptional 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.
Please note - Students who intend to apply for summer external opportunities, through the external opportunities system, will currently experience a delay in processing until there is clarity regarding the COVID-19 situation and summer travel. If you have questions related to CPT or external opportunities approvals, please be in touch with Christine Murphy (email@example.com(link sends e-mail)) if you are a graduate student in the natural sciences and engineering or Geoffrey Hill (firstname.lastname@example.org(link sends e-mail)) if you are a student in the humanities and social sciences. They will work with you on your individual circumstances. MFin and MPA students should contact their departments for further guidance internship approval and Davis IC around CPT approvals.
For more information on curricular practical training and a full list of CPT courses available, please see the Davis International Center’s website.