Frequently Asked Questions

Visiting Student Research Collaborators – Nondegree

Must my sponsor be regular faculty?

Yes, your sponsor must be a regular Princeton faculty member.  (Post-docs, visiting faculty, emeriti/ae faculty, associate research scholars and professional specialists are not permitted to sponsor VSRCs).

As a VSRC, may I be an Assistant in Instruction?

No, VSRCs may not hold an Assistant in Instruction (AI) appointment and may not engage in any other paid work on or off-campus, beyond any Assistant in Research (AR) payment they may receive from their sponsoring faculty member and/or department.

How long may I be enrolled as a VSRC?

A VSRC may stay for as little as one month or as long as (but not longer than) 12 months, cumulatively.

What transcripts do I need?

Transcripts are not required.

Can I get financial aid?

No, VSRCs are not eligible for financial aid.

What do I need for “proof of funding?”

Evidence of sufficient financial resources include bank statements and scholarship letters which must include your name and be written in the English language (translation is acceptable). Proof of funding should be uploaded with your electronic application and must be in US dollars.

I have a government sponsor; do I need to show bank information?

If your government sponsor does not provide the minimum amount of funding required by Princeton you would also have to provide bank information.  VSRCs receiving funding from the China Scholarship Council will need to provide additional funding along with the scholarship letter.

Can I waive the health care fee?

No, the enrollment fee includes the mandatory cost of health care.

How long does it take to review my application and reach a decision?

Applications should be submitted at least 3 months before your anticipated start date. Students are notified if any additional information is needed and if admitted to the program via email.

I am an international student; when will I get my visa?

The Davis International Center will issue a visa eligibility document (I-20 for F-1 students or DS-2019 for J-1 students) to those applicants requiring them only after the Graduate School has admitted an individual as a VSRC and a VSRC accepts admission. Please note that it takes up to 5 business days after you accept admission for the I-20/DS-2019 to be issued. To receive an I-20/DS2019, you MUST make arrangements for express mail via eShipGlobal.  Arrangements should be made as soon as you accept your admission.

I will be traveling with my spouse; can he/she get a TigerCard?

Once you arrive on campus your spouse may get a TigerCard by visiting the TigerCard Office.

Will I be able to live in University housing?

You may apply online for housing but it is not guaranteed.  On-campus housing is contingent upon vacancies being available after all current degree-seeking students have been accommodated.

What should I do if I need to change my start or end date?

If you need to change your start/end date you should first have it approved by your sponsoring department and then have the department contact us at  If we need to revise your admission offer, we will email you as soon as the new offer is available to view.

Will I have a Princeton email account?

Yes, all VSRCs will have a Princeton email account.

May a VSRC register for classes?

No, VSRCs are not eligible to register for classes.

Who is eligible to apply to be a VSRC?

An advanced degree (academic master’s or Ph.D.) candidate from another institution may apply to Princeton as a short-term, nondegree student to work with a specific faculty member on a research project that grew out of collaboration or mutual research interests. 

Will I receive a transcript?

No, VSRCs do not receive a transcript.

How do I find a sponsor?

You should visit the Fields of Study page and once you decide on a program, you should contact the department directly for assistance.

How long should the description of my research be?

The description of your research should be brief, no longer than one page.