Pre-Doctoral Fellowship Initiative


Princeton University’s culture and unique characteristics are strengthened by its diversity. As articulated in the University’s Statement on Diversity and Inclusion, which was included in the University’s Report of the Trustee Ad Hoc Committee on Diversity, dated September 2013, “Princeton University is a community devoted to excellence in education and scholarship. We believe that only by including people with a broad range of experiences and perspectives are we able to realize our potential—to expand our capacity for teaching and learning, to increase opportunities for innovative research, and to equip students for lives of service and leadership in an increasingly pluralistic society. Thus, the goals of excellence and diversity are inextricably linked.”

In furtherance of these goals, the Graduate School in partnership with sponsoring departments at Princeton University is launching a new pre-doctoral fellowship initiative. The pre-doctoral fellowship is a one-year, fully funded fellowship that includes an offer of regular admission to the sponsoring doctoral program the following year. The fellowship is intended for students who would benefit from an additional year of training before formally entering the sponsoring departments' PhD program. Successful completion of an individualized one year academic plan/course of study as determined by the Graduate School and the sponsoring department is required for matriculation into the doctoral program the following year. The academic plan/course of study will be individually tailored to the needs and background of each fellow. In general, the academic plan/course of study will include pre-doctoral fellows taking two or three courses each semester from among our graduate and/or undergraduate offerings, supplemented by individual faculty mentoring, tailored instruction in department specific research methods, and/or work in sponsoring faculty members' lab.


Members of groups who contribute to the University’s diversity—including members of groups that have been historically and are presently underrepresented in the academy (e.g., racial and ethnic minorities, individuals from first generation/low income backgrounds, etc.) and those who have made active contributions to enhancing access, diversity, and inclusion in the sponsoring departments field—are especially encouraged to apply. Applicants must be legally authorized to work/study in the United States at the time of submitting the application and for the duration of the program.  

How to Apply 

Within the regular admission PhD application, applicants must select "yes" to the "Are you interested in being considered for the Pre-Doctoral Fellowship Initiative?" question.

Note: Your answer to this question will have no impact on the admission process for the department to which you are applying and does not finalize enrollment in the pre-doctoral fellowship program.

  • Specific departments are participating in this program, therefore only those department applications will include the pre-doctoral fellowship initiative question.
    • At this time the participating departments include:
      • Art and Archaeology (ART)
      • Astrophysical Sciences (AST)
      • Classics (CLA)
      • Chemical and Biological Engineering (CBE)
      • Computer Science (COS)
      • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB)
      • Economics (ECO)
      • Electrical Engineering (ELE)
      • Geosciences (GEO)
      • Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (MAE)
      • Operations Research and Financial Engineering (ORFE)
      • Philosophy (PHI)
      • Psychology (PSY)
      • Quantitative and Computational Biology (QCB)
      • Religion (REL) 
      • Sociology (SOC)


*The application for fall 2020 will open in September of 2019.

Application Deadline

  • Sponsoring Departments PhD Application Deadline 
  • Click HERE for all department deadlines. (E.g. November 15 — 11:59PM Eastern Standard Time)

Application Requirements

Application requirements are department specific, please check our Fields of Study page to determine the application requirements for the department you are interested in applying.

The requirements may include but are not limited to the following:

  • Statement of Academic Purpose
  • Diversity Statement
  • Resume/Curriculum Vitae
  • Recommendation Letters
  • Transcripts
  • Fall Semester Grades
  • GRE (department specific, some departments do not require the GRE)
  • Sample of written work

Fee Waiver Requests 


  • Please address program-related questions to Associate Dean Renita Miller ( 
  • For application related questions please note that the ApplyWeb Help Desk is available from 7:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Pacific Time.
  • For any difficulties in applying, please email sends e-mail) for assistance and allow 24 hours for a response. When contacting the Help Desk, please include the user name or order ID number, full name, email address, and phone number.
  • Applicants who require additional accessibility assistance may also contact sends e-mail) or call (609) 258-3034.