Last Revised Date
May 21, 2014
Responsible Office
Graduate School - Finance and Administration
Scott McGoldrick, Senior Associate Dean for Finance and Administration
Scott McGoldrick
  1. Policy Statement

    The Employment Policy describes the Graduate School’s policy with regard to employment for enrolled graduate students. 

  2. Who is Affected by this Policy

    This policy applies to all enrolled Ph.D. students and master’s students, in particular those who desire to seek additional employment beyond their full time graduate student activities or obligations, which include fellowship, teaching, research, or its equivalent.

  3. Definitions

    Enrolled Graduate Students

    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 their dissertation. Enrolled statuses include regular enrollment, in absentia enrollment, and dissertation completion enrollment (DCE).

    Regular Enrollment Status

    Degree-seeking students are considered to be in “regular” enrolled status within the defined program length.  Regularly enrolled students must have completed academic year sign-in and be in residence – which mean regularly present on campus a majority of days per week.

    In Absentia Enrollment Status

    Degree-seeking Ph.D. students who are pursuing degree related work but not in residence for greater than half the term should apply for in absentia status. In absentia status is granted normally only to Ph.D. students who have successfully completed the general examination.

    Dissertation Completion Enrollment (DCE) Status

    Once a Ph.D. student’s regular enrollment has expired, the student can apply for up to two years of enrollment under an extended status called “Dissertation Completion Enrollment” (DCE). DCE students are working full-time to complete degree requirements.  DCE students may also be enrolled as in absentia students (pursuing their work away from Princeton).

  4. Policy

    Graduate study at Princeton, at both the doctoral and, in most cases, the master’s level, requires full-time commitment to study and research on the part of students. The Graduate School’s financial support structure, which extends throughout the length of the student’s program and ordinarily includes summers, is one indication of that requirement. Accordingly, the Graduate School considers employment beyond full fellowship, teaching or research support or its equivalent to be incompatible with full-time graduate study.

    Should a student and that student’s departmental adviser(s) believe that additional part-time employment is both professionally relevant and necessary and also unlikely to hinder timely progress towards the degree, the student may, on a case-by-case basis, request approval for exceptions to this policy. In no case should students still enrolled and receiving full financial support toward their degree program work more over the course of a semester or the summer than an average of 10 additional hours per week (which may include teaching at most one course at another institution). Arrangements for such additional part-time employment must be approved by the departmental director of graduate studies and, where the student has already passed the general examination, the student’s dissertation adviser. If the department offers the student an Assistantship in Instruction (AI) appointment or an Assistantship in Research (AR) appointment, the student must accept the AI and/or AR appointment as the primary obligation and form of support.

    International students here on a student visa are limited by federal regulations to no more than 20 hours of on-campus employment per week, which for purposes of the regulations includes AI and/or AR appointments and any additional on-campus employment.  This means that international students on a full AI or full AR appointment are not eligible for additional on-campus work, even if the Graduate School employment policy would otherwise allow it.  International students may accept up to ten hours of off-campus employment provided they have appropriate work authorization from the Davis International Center (for example, in the case of employment related to CPT courses), the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS, in the case of OPT eligible employment), or the J-1 program sponsor.  During official school breaks, additional employment may be possible.  International students are in all cases still expected to abide by the normal terms of the Graduate School employment policy, meaning that any employment that is unrelated to an AI or AR appointment or a CPT course, regardless of whether it happens on or off campus, should be seen as exceptional, should have the adviser’s approval, and should average no more than 10 hours per week.

  5. Procedures (if applicable)


  6. Related Documents/Pages/Forms (if applicable)


  7. Roles and Responsibilities

    Dean of the Graduate School
    Oversees Graduate School policies and associated procedures.

    Associate Dean for Finance and Administration
    Administers employment policy for graduate students.

    Director of Graduate Studies
    Approves student request for exceptions to Employment Policy.

    Dissertation Adviser
    Approves student request for exceptions to Employment Policy.

    Graduate Student and Departmental Adviser
    Ensures that request for exception to Employment Policy is within the policy guidelines.