Degree-Seeking Statuses

All degree-seeking students, enrolled and unenrolled, are subject to degree requirements and policies and procedures put forth by their department or program and by the Graduate School through this website and Rights, Rules, Responsibilities.

Enrolled Statuses

Enrolled students are active full time in their program within the defined program length or, for eligible Ph.D. students, within an additional two-year period of enrollment to complete the dissertation. Qualified students in certain final, professional master’s degree programs that allow for part-time enrollment must be currently active part time in their defined program length. Enrolled student statuses include the following. 

Regular Enrollment

A student within the defined program length who is pursuing degree-related work, completing requirements, and making sufficient academic and/or research progress as specified by the department or program and the Graduate School. 

Regular enrollment is in effect when a student completes semester sign-in and is in residence–that is, regularly present on campus and using University resources to fulfill degree requirements and objectives a majority of days per week for the academic term or year.

Regular Enrollment In Absentia

A registered full-time student still within the defined program length who is pursuing degree-related work, but is NOT in residence for greater than half the term. 

Students may apply for in absentia status if they need to use educational resources not available in Princeton. If approved, in absentia status is granted for one academic term or year at a time, up to two years, only to Ph.D. students who have successfully completed the general examination. Students enrolled in absentia are considered fully enrolled graduate students. As such, they are required to complete semester sign-in and participate in the annual reenrollment process. In absentia enrollment is recorded on the transcript.

Dissertation Completion Enrollment (DCE)

A Ph.D. student who has exhausted the defined program length, but is still making progress toward degree completion and retains an enrolled status. 

Enrolled Ph.D. students who have not completed their degree within their department's normal program period (either four or five years, as specified by the department and the Graduate School) may have the opportunity to be enrolled for up to two additional years in Dissertation Completion Enrollment (DCE) status. This status was instituted specifically for the purpose of helping a student complete the dissertation. Students in DCE status are not eligible to take courses.

DCE In Absentia

A DCE student who is pursuing degree-related work, but is not in residence for greater than half the term.

Unenrolled Statuses

Unenrolled students may still qualify for the degree but be unenrolled because of an approved leave of absence or because the allowed enrollment period has ended but degree candidacy continues. Unenrolled statuses include the following.

Leave of Absence 

The regular defined program length has been interrupted because the student is not pursing degree-related work due to personal, medical, or professional circumstances. 

A leave may be granted for personal, medical, or professional reasons, and requires the approval of both the department and the Graduate School. On the recommendation of a student’s director of graduate studies and other departmental adviser(s), the Graduate School may grant a leave for a term or for a year to a student in good standing. The length of a leave, including all extensions, may not exceed four consecutive semesters. A leave of absence is recorded on the transcript.

Enrollment Terminated, Degree Candidacy Continues (ET/DCC)

A discontinued status that indicates that enrollment has ended but eligibility for qualifying for the degree continues. It is normally assigned to a Ph.D. student who has passed the general examination, but who has not completed the degree in the defined program length or while in DCE status. (The student may have exhausted DCE status or chosen not to enter it.) 

Students who are continuing to make satisfactory progress toward completing their degree may enter Enrollment Terminated/Degree Candidacy Continues (ET/DCC) status if they are beyond the defined program length; have exhausted DCE status, chosen not to enter it, or must leave it to pursue other opportunities; and have not graduated.


A discontinued status for a student who has been penalized with temporary removal from University membership because of a disciplinary matter. The student may return to enrollment and/or degree candidacy if conditions are met. A suspension is recorded on the transcript.