Degree-Seeking Statuses


The two broad status types for degree-seeking students are enrolled and unenrolled. 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 regular enrollment, regular enrollment in absentia, dissertation completion enrollment (DCE), and DCE in absentia. Unenrolled students who may still qualify for the degree may be unenrolled because of an approved leave of absence or because the allowed enrollment period has ended but degree candidacy continues. 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 its website, publications, and Rights, Rules, Responsibilities.

Definitions of Enrolled Statuses for Degree-seeking Students

Regular Enrollment 

A student within the defined program length who is pursing degree-related work, completing requirements, and making sufficient academic and/or research progress as specified by the department or program and the Graduate School. The student has registered by completing academic year sign-in and is in residence – that is, regularly present on campus, using University resources to fulfill degree requirements and objectives a majority of days per week for the academic term or year. Ordinarily enrolled students receive all benefits reserved for regular degree-seeking students. For Ph.D. students, this includes tuition and stipend support. The standard tuition rate that includes the student health plan is charged for a student enrolled regularly.

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 to be moved to 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 one academic year at a time, up to two years, normally only to Ph.D. students who have successfully completed the general examination. Students are encouraged to seek financial aid outside the University for the time spent in absentia. Students enrolled in absentia are considered fully enrolled graduate students. As such, they are required to complete academic year sign-in and participate in the yearly reenrollment process. In absentia students have access to all appropriate University benefits. In absentia students remain on the student health plan, but do not require referrals to access health care during their time away from Princeton. In absentia students are not eligible to be appointed as assistants in instruction or to enroll in courses conducted on campus. A marginal tuition rate that includes the student health plan is charged for a student enrolled in absentia. This fee is covered for students on a University fellowship.  In absentia enrollment is recorded on the transcript. (See In Absentia.)

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. DCE status must be taken immediately after the regular enrollment period has ended and may be granted for a maximum of four consecutive semesters. Through the annual reenrollment process, a student must apply to move into or retain this status and have the approval of both the department and the Graduate School. A DCE student is enrolled and eligible for most benefits reserved for enrolled students, but ordinarily may not enroll in courses. A marginal tuition rate that includes the student health plan is charged for a student enrolled in DCE status. DCE status is recorded on the transcript. (See Dissertation Completion Enrollment (DCE).)

DCE In Absentia

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

Definitions of Unenrolled Statuses for Degree-seeking Students

Leave of Absence 

The regular defined program length has been interrupted because the student is not pursing degree-related work. With the exception of email, the student's benefits terminate while on leave. However, students on leave may be eligible for a six-month extension of health care benefits with approval from University Health Services. A leave may be granted for personal, medical, or professional reasons, and requires the approval of both the department and the Graduate School. The length of a leave, including all extensions, may not exceed four consecutive semesters. A leave of absence is recorded on the transcript. (See Leave of Absence.)

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.) The student is not eligible for benefits reserved for enrolled students (such as housing, coverage under the student health plan, stipend, or visa support), with the exception of network privileges (including email), which will continue for up to one year after the student enters ET/DCC status. The student may submit a dissertation for consideration by the department without special departmental approval for up to five years after passing the general examination. Once a student enters ET/DCC status he or she may not return to an enrolled status (including DCE status). ET/DCC status is recorded on the transcipt. (See Enrollment Terminated, Degree Candidacy Continues (ET/DCC).)


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