Academic Advising

Student advising at Princeton is a collaborative enterprise, shared by faculty and the professional advising staff associated with the residential colleges. First-year students are assigned to a residential college and — throughout their four years at Princeton — have access to a residential college dean and director of studies, who monitor the academic progress of all undergraduates associated with the college. Should you have a concern about the academic performance or welfare of a student in one of your classes, you may let the residential college staff know by means of the Academic Early Alert system (login required). A member of the advising team will reach out to the student and offer appropriate support.

Academic Advising and Course Selection

The specialized academic advising of B.S.E. first-years is coordinated by Dean Peter Bogucki in the School of Engineering and Applied Science.

First-year students and sophomores in the A.B. program are assigned to a faculty academic adviser, with whom they meet regularly to discuss course selection. Faculty academic advisers are fellows of a residential college and enjoy social and dining privileges in their college of affiliation. Training for advisers is provided by the Office of the Dean of the College, which prepares the Academic Advising Handbook (login required). In addition, faculty work closely with the college staff. Faculty academic advisers also work with student peer advisers as part of the college advising communities. Any faculty interested in serving as an adviser in one of the residential colleges should contact Dean Cecily Swanson.

Undergraduates in the A.B. program choose a concentration at the end of sophomore year, and from that point on most of their advising takes place within the department, although the residential college dean continues to work closely with departments to monitor students’ progress to degree, including the completion of independent work. Departmental representatives can find a guide to most academic policies in the Departmental Representatives' Academic Advising Handbook (copies available upon request) published by the Office of the Dean of the College. Any concerns about a student’s performance should be shared with the appropriate residential college dean or Dean Fowler.

Other offices providing specialized advising for students include: Health Professions Advising, the Office of International Programs, the Center for Career Development, Teacher Preparation the Davis International Center.

Advising Independent Work

Independent work represents the culmination of the Princeton undergraduate experience, in which students pursue original research and scholarship under the guidance and supervision of a faculty member in their chosen field of specialization. Both the junior paper and the senior thesis engage Princeton faculty members in the process of advising. While independent work advising practices vary by department, University policy requires senior thesis advisers either be members of the regular, tenured or tenure-track faculty, or hold the Ph.D and have an active appointment at the University.

Postdoctoral research assistants (PDRA) and post-graduate research assistants (PGRA) who have fulfilled all the requirements for their doctoral degree are eligible to advise junior and senior independent work so long as they have a secondary appointment as a lecturer. PDRAs may not teach/advise for more than 50% of their appointment. Graduate students may not serve as advisers for independent work.

At the discretion of the department, visiting faculty may be permitted to advise independent work, and departments may also allow students to request a faculty adviser outside of their home department. A department may also approve a visiting faculty member with a terminal master’s degree to supervise the junior paper. However, these are departmental policy matters rather than central University or Office of the Dean of the College policy.