Advanced Degree Application Process

Students and departments should also continue to consult the full set of normal instructions for clarification and helpful tips. 

  • In-person FPOs: The student and the examiners should be present in person. In extraordinary circumstances, a department may request that the Graduate School approve the virtual, video-conferenced participation of an examiner, but in no case may there be fewer than two examiners who participate in person.
  • PDFs of dissertations: The copy of the dissertation that students must submit to the department more than two weeks before the FPO should continue to be submitted as a PDF for defenses, regardless of whether the PFO will be held virtually or in-person. 
  • Public posting of FPOs: For in-person FPOs, once the Graduate School has approved the request to hold the FPO, the department’s public posting of the student’s name, dissertation title, and day and time of the FPO will be done in paper form as well as electronically (via e-mail).  For virtual FPOs, the public posting will be via department e-mail to the members of the department and any other interested parties within the University.  In both cases, in-person or virtual FPO, postings must still be distributed at least three days prior to the FPO and must indicate that an electronic version of the dissertation is available, upon request, to anyone in the department who wishes to inspect it. The posting should also include instructions for how interested parties may join the video-conferenced FPO.
  • Electronic signature: Currently electronic signatures are already accepted on most forms.  E-mail approvals for signatures will also be accepted in all cases.  E-mails should originate from the signers’ University accounts.  A copy of any email approval should be appended by the department to the FPO filing.  In 2021, the Graduate School introduced an electronic workflow for the FPO that eliminated the need for signatures on most forms.  
  • Submission of dissertation PDF: Submit dissertation PDF to Princeton’s ProQuest ETD site. Beginning with the April 2022 degree list and moving forward, the vast majority of Ph.D. students will not be required to submit a printed bound copy of the dissertation to the Mudd Manuscript Library. Students who have removed content from the PDF version of the dissertation to avoid copyright infringement are still required to submit a bound copy to the library with all content included. This un-redacted, bound version of the dissertation must be formatted according to the Dissertation Formatting Guidelines, and delivered by hand, mail, or delivery service to the Mudd Manuscript Library by the degree date deadline in order to be placed on the degree list. Address the bound copy to: Attn: Dissertations, Mudd Manuscript Library, 65 Olden Street, Princeton, NJ 08540.

Preparing for the FPO

Final paperwork must be submitted a maximum of two weeks after the FPO date or on the degree deadline, whichever comes first. Please review the degree deadlines when planning for your final defense. 

More Than Two Months Before FPO

  • Format: Review the Mudd Library Dissertation Format Requirements.
  • Submit chapters: Submit final chapters to your adviser(s) for review.
  • Confirm committee: Confirm your principal readers and examiners and that your committee meets Graduate School and departmental requirements.
  • Confirm FPO date and location: If you are serving as an Assistant-in-Instruction (AI) in the semester that you are defending the dissertation, consult with your department about the FPO date to ensure that you may remain enrolled and eligible to serve as an AI through the end of the term. Enrollment continues only through the end of the month in which a student's FPO is held. Any exceptions must be discussed with Academic Affairs in the Graduate School.

At Least Six Weeks Before FPO

  • Distribute: Distribute a final draft of your dissertation to readers.
  • Edit: Incorporate suggested edits into your dissertation.

Four Weeks Before FPO

  • Submit dissertation: Submit a final copy of your dissertation to your department.
  • Apply for degree: Complete the advanced degree application through TigerHub.  
  • Embargo: If applicable, discuss the need to embargo the dissertation with your adviser(s).

Requirements for a Complete Degree Application

For an application to be considered complete, the following materials (as PDFs) must be included:

  • Materials Submitted by the Student Approximately Four Weeks Before FPO
    • A copy of the title page, correctly formatted (sample title page)
    • A copy of the abstract (350 words or less)
  • Materials Submitted by the Department to the Graduate School No Less than Two Weeks Before FPO
    • Request to Hold Final Public Oral form
    • Reader Reports completed by principal readers of the dissertation
    • A CV of any external examiner or reader. Committee membership from someone outside the University must be approved by the Graduate School prior to completion of the advanced degree application.

At Least Three Days Before FPO

  • Confirm FPO approval: Confirm that your FPO has been approved and the announcement has been posted.

Day of FPO

  • Defend!

Following the FPO

Before submitting final paperwork to the Graduate School, graduate students must take the following steps:   

  • Submit dissertation PDF to Princeton’s ProQuest ETD site: Pay any applicable publishing and copyright fees (the Graduate School requires traditional or open access publication and does not allow publication restrictions).
  • Complete the Survey of Earned Doctorates: This is the hard copy of the "Certificate of Completion" page of the SED.
  • Complete the Exit Survey: The hard copy of the "Confirmation of Completion" page must be submitted.
  • Complete the checkout process: The process for students departing the University is managed via TigerHub.


Enrollment and Benefits following the FPO