Satisfactory Academic Progress

Responsible Office
Graduate School - Academic Affairs
Rodney D. Priestley, Dean of the Graduate School
  1. Policy Statement

    The Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy is meant to acknowledge the conditions that define academic progress and continued enrollment.

  2. Who is Affected by this Policy

    This policy applies to all enrolled graduate students.

  3. Definitions

    Regularly enrolled graduate students
    Degree-seeking Ph.D. students are considered to be in regular enrolled status within the defined program lengths.

    In absentia graduate students
    Degree-seeking students who are pursuing degree-related work but not in residence for greater than half the term.

    Leave of absence
    The regular defined program length has been interrupted because the student is not pursing degree-related work.

    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.

    An annual process whereby departments and programs and the Graduate School evaluate the academic progress of candidates for advanced degree.

  4. Policy

    To establish the foundation for satisfactory academic progress, the Graduate School and academic departments expect the following from enrolled students, as evidence of their successful engagement with graduate work and for them to continue to receive their stipends and other benefits of enrollment:

    • Full-time Commitment: Graduate study at Princeton, at both the doctoral and master’s levels, requires full-time commitment to study and research on the part of students. The Graduate School’s financial aid structure is one, but only one, indication of that requirement: full-time, 12-month support for full-time academic effort. Our commitment to clearly stated degree program lengths (e.g., a five-year Ph.D. program in most departments) and timely completion of graduate degrees is another. (Note: Certain final, professional master's degree programs do allow for part-time study for qualified students from industry. These programs generally do not provide financial aid to their students.)
    • Presence: Students must be visibly present in the department and on campus, unless in absentia or on an approved leave of absence. As importantly, students must be intellectually present, that is, noticeably engaged in the normal work of their degree program—course work, research, teaching, preparation of publications, attendance at colloquia, etc.
    • Production: Students must be producing work of good quality, at the appropriate and expected stages of their degree program, and showing the products of their study and research to the faculty for evaluation.  Milestones and other program requirements must be completed within stated timeframes.
    • Communication: Students must regularly communicate with and respond in a timely manner to communications from the Graduate School and their department (e.g., graduate program administrator(s), director of graduate studies, adviser(s), committee members, and other faculty members as appropriate). This is a reciprocal responsibility with the faculty. Graduate students should therefore expect regular and timely communication from the faculty (DGS, seminar leaders, adviser(s), dissertation committee members) in order to maintain satisfactory academic progress.

    Failure to perform according to these guidelines may result in termination of degree candidacy mid-year, deferred reenrollment, or denial of reenrollment during the spring term review.

  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.

    Academic Affairs
    Reviews all students during the annual reenrollment process and sets conditions for continued enrollment.

    Directors of Graduate Study
    Reviews all students in the department/program during the annual enrollment process and makes recommendations on continued enrollment.

    Dissertation Advisers
    Reviews all advisees during the annual reenrollment process and makes recommendations on continued enrollment.