Standard Requirements for All Advanced Degree Candidates

By design, Princeton emphasizes short, intensive programs of doctoral study. The Graduate School therefore has few central requirements for doctoral candidates.

To qualify for the Ph.D., students are required by the Graduate School to: 

Any additional requirements are set at the level of the department or program.

In addition to the above, the Graduate School tracks standard degree requirements that all students must meet to continue their work in good academic standing with the University. These include the major milestones that all Ph.D. students must meet in order to successfully obtain their degrees.

Administrative Standing Requirement

Students are to be in good administrative standing with the University to be awarded an advanced degree. They must be enrolled or, if enrollment has ended, continue to hold degree candidacy, and their accounts with various offices and departments must be settled.

All enrolled candidates for an advanced degree are required to complete semester sign-in and must also participate in the annual reenrollment process in the spring in order to be continued in an enrolled status in the next academic year.

Residence Requirement

The Graduate School is a community of scholars engaged in ongoing research, discussion, and scholarly exchange. Accordingly, except as approved by their departments and the Graduate School to be enrolled in absentia, candidates for advanced degrees are expected to be present on campus a majority of days per week for each academic term in order to use University resources to fulfill degree requirements and objectives. 

  • All candidates for advanced degrees must spend at least one year in residence in Princeton or the vicinity. 

  • Ph.D. candidates must be in residence for at least one academic year before standing for the general examination, and are expected to be in residence through the duration of their enrollment except when approved to be enrolled in absentia.

Full-time Study Requirement

Graduate study at Princeton is a full-time commitment. Graduate students are expected to pursue degree-related work and make use of University resources throughout the year, including the summer months.

Program Requirements

Program requirements vary by department and may include coursework, proficiency in foreign language(s), and exercises or preliminary exams. Address inquiries about departmental requirements to the appropriate director of graduate studies (DGS). Subject to departmental rules, Ph.D. students who have not fulfilled program requirements ordinarily will not be admitted to the third year (fifth term) of enrollment and may not sustain the general examination.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

The Graduate School and academic departments expect enrolled students to meet certain standards, as evidence of their successful engagement with graduate work and to continue to receive their stipends and other benefits of enrollment. View the Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy.