How Do I…?

Classes

How do I enroll in classes?

First, complete the Academic Planning Form online, designating your potential concentration and certificates, and placing courses in your queue. Meet with your adviser to discuss your courses and your academic plans. Once your adviser has approved your course choices, you enroll using TigerHub (check the academic calendar for specific dates). 

How do I drop a class?

During the first two weeks of the semester, you may drop a class with the approval of your adviser. Individual courses may be dropped through the ninth week of the semester (there is a $45 late drop penalty). No course — including an extra or elective course — may be dropped after the deadline. Academic deadlines are available on the registrar’s website.

How do I add a class?

During the first two weeks of the semester, you may add a class with the approval of your adviser. For departmental courses, juniors and seniors need the permission of their departmental representative. After the deadline to add courses, rare exceptions are made only with permission of your dean. Academic deadlines are available on the registrar’s website.

How do I choose the Pass/D/Fail grading option?

If a course is eligible for Pass/D/Fail grading, you may log in to TigerHub to select the grading option between the seventh and ninth weeks of the semester. Please remember that courses taken with the P/D/F grading option do fulfill distribution requirements and count toward graduation; however, they do not count as prerequisites or departmental courses.

Can I rescind a Pass/D/Fail decision?

In Fall 2015, the P/D/F policy was amended to include the following language:

At the point of declaring a concentration, students may appeal to rescind a P grade received for a single course taken in a previous semester in order to meet a prerequisite or departmental requirement for entry. The transcript will then reflect the letter grade earned in that course. Students wishing to make such an appeal should consult with their residential college director of studies. Students entering a certificate program may also appeal to rescind a grade of P earned in a single prerequisite or required course for that certificate provided that the program requires a letter grade for entry.

Please consult with your Director of Studies if you wish to rescind your P/D/F grade and you believe the above conditions have been met.

How do I take a graduate-level course?

Graduate courses are open to undergraduates with the permission of the instructor, departmental representative and residential college dean or director of studies. The form is available from your college office or on this website. You should only consider enrolling in a graduate course if you have exhausted the curricular possibilities in a given area, or if there are no undergraduate course offerings that would allow you to study a given topic.

How do I audit a class?

Talk to the professor of the course you wish to audit. If the professor agrees to accept you as an auditor in the course, see your dean or director of studies to change the course grading to audit (before the drop deadline in the ninth week of the semester). Audited courses dHomeo not count as prerequisites, distribution requirements, departmental courses or toward graduation.

How do I get a summer course approved for transfer credit?

All outside courses must be preapproved for credit by having the course reviewed and approved by the appropriate department where the course would be taught, were it offered at Princeton. Use the form for freshmen and sophomores, or for juniors, and submit to the appropriate departmental representative or program director. All courses must also be approved by your dean or director of studies, or by the Office of International Programs if taken abroad. The deadline for submission for approval is Dean’s Date preceding the term in which the course is offered. See the summer coursework pre-approval page for additional details.

How do I switch levels of math, if I’m in the wrong class?

Talk with your adviser or director of studies to determine whether you need academic support or to change classes. During the first two weeks of the course, you may visit various levels of math and switch your courses on TigerHub. If you need to switch levels after that point, you will need the approval of the math department and your director of studies.

How do I switch levels of language?

Talk with your director of studies and your language instructor as soon as possible. Any level switches in language courses must be approved by the course head or language coordinator. Level switches after the second week of class are extremely rare.

How do I switch degree candidacy between A.B. and B.S.E.?

First, speak with your faculty adviser about your academic interests. You may also consult with the director of studies in your residential college. Next, make an appointment to see Dean Peter Bogucki at the SEAS Undergraduate Affairs Office by calling 609-258-4554. Dean Bogucki will have a conversation with you about your program of study, and if appropriate, he will approve your transfer.

How do I report Advanced Placement scores?

Princeton University cannot request Advanced Placement (AP) score reports on behalf of students. The College Board reports your AP scores to Princeton only if you make that request directly to the College Board. The scores are sent to us electronically and we download them to your record. We only accept score reports sent directly to Princeton from the College Board. Please make sure that you request a cumulative report of your test scores for all AP tests taken during high school. Unless you specify this in your request to the College Board, we may only receive a partial report of scores for exams taken during the current year. To request a score report, you should go to the AP Grade Reporting website.

IB scores must also be sent to Princeton electronically at the request of the student. To request an IB score report, visit their website.

If you have A level certificates, you should bring those to the director of studies in your residential college.

How do I order my course books at Labyrinth Books?

Lists of required and recommended books are available two weeks prior to the start of fall or spring classes. You can access the purchasing tool through Course Offerings or in Blackboard.

If you are an incoming freshman, the best time to buy your course books will be after you have completed advising and registration during orientation in September; we do not recommend that you buy any course books before coming to campus. There will be ample time to do this once you are here, and when you know your final schedule of courses!

All regularly enrolled, full-time, degree-seeking undergraduate and graduate students (as well as full time international exchange students and post graduation students in the Program in Teacher Preparation) receive a 30% discount off the list price of new and used books for use in Princeton University courses. Both required and recommended titles on the course reading lists are included in the discount program. Labyrinth also offers a rental program for more expensive textbooks, and has a generous buy-back option for used books at the end of the semester. All of these programs offer great discounts along with personalized service that is tailored to the needs of Princeton students.

After you order your books online through Blackboard, you will receive an email confirmation along with an estimated timeframe for pickup – usually within 24 hours, and often much sooner. As soon as Labyrinth has finalized your order, you will receive a second email to let you know the books are being held for you.

You can pay for your course books by using a student account, which makes it easy to pay for course materials with your financial aid package. You can also pay with a credit card, check, or cash. Labyrinth staff will package all online course book orders in advance and have them ready for express pickup at the store at 122 Nassau Street. You will need to show your student ID and pick up your order in person.

If you have additional questions about Labyrinth, they are likely answered in this FAQ; you may also be interested in learning more about the benefits of buying your books at Labyrinth!

What are the options for summer coursework?

There are a range of options for students who wish to continue their coursework over the summer months. Funding is often available for summer study, as well. See the Summer Coursework pages for additional information.

End-of-term Work

What is Dean’s Date?

Dean’s Date is the University deadline for the submission of all written work (except for take-home exams), usually the last day of the reading period. Extensions beyond this date are normally given only for compelling circumstances beyond your control (such as medical or family emergencies) and must be approved by your residential college dean or director of studies and the course instructor before the deadline. The same rules apply to the take-home exam deadline, usually the Monday of the following week. 

How do I request an extension?

During the term, all papers and other written work are due at the time set by the instructor. If there are reasons you’re unable to meet a deadline (such as illness or a family emergency), you should discuss the delay with your course instructor and arrange for a new due date. Extensions during term time are granted by instructors directly. 

At the end of the term, any postponement of written work due on Dean’s Date must be approved by your dean or director of studies as well as the professor in charge of the course. If, despite your best efforts, you cannot finish your Dean’s Date work on time, make an appointment to see your dean or director of studies to discuss an official extension — before the deadline has passed. You will need to receive written authorization prior to the Dean’s Date deadline, since deadlines cannot be altered after the fact. Normally, only short-term extensions are granted and there must be compelling circumstances beyond your control.

What do I do if I miss a final exam because I slept through it?

If you miss a scheduled final exam by mistake (you slept through, for instance), you must report immediately to your residential college dean or director of studies. If you discover your problem after hours on weekdays or any time during the weekend, leave a voice message for your dean or director of studies and call the deputy registrar immediately at 609-258-7242. Once during your career at Princeton you may be allowed to make up a missed exam at the next available time slot, under the following conditions: 1) you have reported the missed exam within 24 hours; 2) you have never missed a scheduled exam before; 3) you are making satisfactory progress in the course; 4) there is no evidence that you were seeking to gain additional study time. But it’s wiser to try to ensure that you never find yourself in such a situation.

What do I do if I fall ill before a final exam?

If you feel too ill to take an exam, you must report to University Health Services prior to the scheduled exam time and call the deputy registrar at 609-258-7242. The deputy registrar will consult with the health services staff in order to determine if you are able to take an exam at the scheduled time. If an exam is approved for postponement, the deputy registrar will arrange for you to take the same exam within a 24-hour period of the scheduled time. If you need to postpone a final exam for more than 24 hours due to illness, you may apply to your dean or director of studies for authorization for a long-term postponement. In such cases, the deputy registrar will administer a make-up exam at the beginning of the following term.

What do I do if I get sick during a final exam?

Exams that have been completed cannot be retroactively annulled due to illness. This means that if you begin a scheduled final exam, you will — except in the rarest of circumstances — be held accountable for taking the exam and will be assigned a grade based on the work completed on it. If your condition is so serious that it requires urgent medical attention and continuing the exam is not an option, then you must report immediately to University Health Services and notify the deputy registrar, as well as your residential college dean or director of studies.

What do I do if I have more than one final exam scheduled on the same day?

The University’s policy is that a student who has two exams on the same day may postpone one exam to the following day. In order to arrange for such rescheduling, you must apply to the Office of the Registrar in the week before final exams begin. For more information, see the registrar's webpage on final examination policies.

If you have a conflict involving a take-home exam, please see your dean or director of studies.

How do I reschedule an exam?

All students are expected to take midterm exams at the time and date specified by the instructor. If, however, for a good and sufficient reason you are unable to take a midterm exam as scheduled, please discuss the problem in advance with your course instructor. Your residential college dean or director of studies may also be able to help you work with the course instructor to reschedule the examination.

All in-class final exams are scheduled by the Office of the Registrar during an 11-day final examination period at the end of each semester. Exams must be taken at the assigned times, so you should be prepared to be available throughout the examination period and should not schedule personal travel until the examination schedule has been published. You can view your final exam schedule in TigerHub at the beginning of the sixth full week of classes.

The deputy registrar may authorize a student to take a final exam up to 24 hours before or after the scheduled time. Appropriate reasons for granting such requests are religious days, personal emergencies and more than one exam scheduled in a single calendar day. Exams will normally be rescheduled during the 24 hours after the scheduled examination time. Course instructors are not allowed to approve the rescheduling of final exams. For more information, see the registrar's webpage on final examination policies.

Choosing a Major

How do I choose a major?

There are many factors you may wish to consider when selecting a major — your interests, your talents, your goals and values, and what intellectual community will be the best fit for you. Fortunately, there are also many advising resources to help you make your decision, including your academic advisers, departmental representatives, residential college deans and directors of studies, peer advisers and the Office of Career Services. Departmental open houses in the spring and Major Choices events throughout the year will also introduce you to disciplines and departments. Above all, the best way for you to explore potential majors and find the one that’s best for you is to take a variety of courses that interest you during your first two years. 

How do I declare a major?

B.S.E. students join their departments at the end of their first year by selecting courses for the next fall with their chosen department and declaring their selection on the registrar’s website in May. A.B. students declare their concentration in mid-April of their sophomore year by selecting their next fall’s courses with their chosen department’s designated adviser or departmental representative and then confirming their selection on the registrar’s website. Detailed information regarding the major declaration process will be e-mailed to you as your selection time approaches.

How do I change my major?

Changes of departmental concentration are rare, but they are possible. The rule is that you must complete all the requirements for your new major, including independent work requirements. This means that the further you have progressed in your college career, the harder it becomes to change concentrations, even though a junior paper written for one department may be acceptable to your new department or it may be possible to write new junior independent work, if necessary, during the summer following junior year. Students wishing to change majors should make an appointment to see their residential college dean in order to discuss their proposed program of study.

How do I declare an early concentration?

In rare instances, A.B. students who have completed the prerequisites for a department may choose to begin their majors in the spring of sophomore year and usually engage in independent work that semester as well. Students who choose to concentrate early may do so — for instance, in order to facilitate studying abroad in junior year — by completing one junior paper ahead of time. If you decide to major early, you should get the approval of the departmental representative and then contact your residential college dean or director of studies for final approval. More details can be found in the Undergraduate Announcement under “Special Features of the Undergraduate Program.”

How do I decide what certificate(s) to get, if any?

Certificate programs can offer excellent ways to complement your studies in your concentration, either by building bridges between your major and other disciplines or geographical areas or by providing you with an opportunity to cultivate skills and knowledge outside your major. Certificates provide you with a structured and coherent program of study and the resources of a program as you pursue these interests. For many students, these are great benefits. Many other students, however, choose not to get any certificates, preferring to simply take individual courses in areas of interest without being held to all the requirements for obtaining a certificate. 

How do I apply for a certificate?

Unlike majors — which are a mandatory aspect of the B.S.E. and A.B. degrees and are selected at standard times — certificates are optional and each certificate program sets its own deadlines for admission. For this reason, you must read the information on each certificate in the Undergraduate Announcement or on each program’s website. Some programs, such as Finance or Global Health and Health Policy, require students to apply at the end of their sophomore year. Other certificates offer more flexible deadlines. Almost all require some form of independent work in senior year as well as coursework, so it is almost always necessary to apply for a certificate before the beginning of senior year. 

How do I pursue an independent concentration?

If you are absolutely convinced that your academic interests cannot be served adequately by any existing departmental concentration or certificate program, you may apply to be an independent concentrator. This requires you to devise a rigorous and coherent program of studies with the support and mentorship of at least two faculty advisers (from different departments). You should schedule a preliminary consultation with your residential college dean once you have developed your proposal. Further information about the program is available here.

Independent Work

When should I start thinking about independent work topics?

The short answer — it’s never too early. You can start thinking about possible independent work well before you select your major. In fact, considering the possibility of conducting research on a particular topic can help in the process of finalizing your choice of major. The seeds of many junior papers and senior thesis topics are often planted in courses taken early on in a student’s Princeton career. So you should always be approaching your coursework with the thought that it could provide the starting point for independent work, and that it could provide a possible faculty adviser, should you ultimately choose to major in that particular field of study.

How do I find a faculty adviser for independent work?

First of all, consult your department’s materials for specific instructions on how to find an adviser; departments do it very differently. Some departments collect information on students' interests and assign them to advisers, while some expect students to approach faculty on their own. If you are in a department where it is your responsibility to find an adviser, don’t be shy! Do your best to get to know faculty outside the classroom by taking advantage of office hours and attending departmental events. Faculty should welcome conversations about advising independent work. You should have some ideas for possible topics to discuss, and also ask how the faculty member likes to structure their work with advisees. The earlier you start the process the better chance you have of connecting with the ideal adviser, one who is interested in your topic and encourages you, but challenges you as well. It is entirely normal to have to approach several people before you find someone who can advise you, so persevere!

How do I find a thesis topic?

Selecting the right topic, or the proper scope of a topic, is ideally done in close consultation with your adviser, and the earlier you start to dialogue with faculty, the better. Students in the sciences conducting lab research might have their topic nailed down the summer before senior year and work in a lab gathering data. In the humanities and social sciences the topic would normally be settled as early in the fall of senior year as possible, in order to maximize research possibilities and locate the best possible primary and secondary sources. The best advice is to select a topic that you know you are passionate about. Without an underlying passion for your thesis, writing a long and demanding work is very difficult. With that passion for the subject in place, writing the thesis can be one of the most fulfilling and, indeed, fun experiences of your academic career.

If you need help formulating a topic, you should know that over 63,000 senior theses are archived at the Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library. You’re encouraged to visit the basement of Mudd Library as well as consult the online database of senior theses, which holds information about student works dating back to 1926.

Where can I find specific information about independent work in my department?

Since independent work requirements vary widely across the University’s academic departments, you should consult the departmental independent work guides to familiarize yourself with the specific goals and expectations of the departments that are of interest to you.

How will my independent work be evaluated?

The standards by which your work will be evaluated are described in your department’s independent work guide.

Where can I request funding to undertake research for my independent work project?

A number of departments and programs across campus have funding available to support independent work projects. The key to taking full advantage of the available funding opportunities is to start planning early. If you’re applying for funding to do thesis research in the summer, the deadline is in late-March of your junior year. Successful applicants need to have strong faculty endorsement at that time.

Where can I find help for my independent work?

In addition to your faculty adviser, there are several other resources available to support various aspects of your independent work. Whether you need assistance with your writing, conducting survey and library research, data and statistical analysis, getting approval for projects involving human and animal research, or planning your research project abroad, there are many qualified individuals across campus eager to help you.

International Opportunities

Whom should I talk to if I want to study or work abroad?

You should visit the Office of International Programs in Suite 350 at 36 University Place. There is also an excellent web portal: International Princeton.

How do courses taken abroad count towards graduation requirements?

For a typical semester of study abroad, you will designate courses that will be the equivalent of four Princeton courses. The actual number of courses you take will vary, depending on the foreign institution or program you attend. The Office of International Programs will need to approve your program of study prior to your enrollment, including up to two distribution requirements that can be met through courses taken abroad. Courses for departmental requirements must also be approved by your departmental representative. For more information about using study abroad credits, see the OIP webpage.

Can I study abroad if I am a B.S.E. student or a varsity athlete?

Yes! It may take careful planning, but we encourage all students to have a structured international experience during their Princeton career. B.S.E. students can take advantage of engineering-specific exchange programs at Oxford, Ecole Centrale Paris, University of Cantabria in Spain and Hong Kong University, but they have studied in many countries, including Scotland, Italy, Switzerland, South Africa and Australia. Since the engineering curriculum is highly structured, some semesters work better than others depending on your department, so early consultation with your departmental representative and with Dean Peter Bogucki is essential. Varsity athletes should talk to their residential college dean or director of studies, and to Dean Tara Christie Kinsey, the academic liaison, about how best to combine a program of study abroad with athletic commitments. Depending on the sport, coaches can be very helpful in arranging for training facilities while a student is studying at a foreign institution.

What kind of summer opportunities exist to go abroad?

Many, many Princeton students choose to study abroad in the summer, whether through summer courses pre-approved by the Office of International Programs, or through Princeton Summer Programs, which include language and field-study options. In addition, the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies (PIIRS) sponsors Global Seminars in a variety of locations, which offer a full course credit and include a community service component. The Princeton International Internship Program (IIP) supports students who wish to work abroad during the summer, by placing students in internships arranged specifically for Princeton students and offering information about how to find other international opportunities.