Academic FAQs

On this page you'll find answers to some of students' most common academic questions: see below for the information you'll need, as well as links to important forms.  Have a question that's not answered here? Please get in touch with a member of the college advising staff. 

1940s Princeton students in thesis carrels, Firestone Library

How do I...?

Enroll in classes
AB first and second year students enroll in classes after meeting with their faculty adviser.  The Academic Planning Form in TigerHub must be complete before your advising meeting; be ready to discuss not only your course selections, but also your broader interests and ambitions.  After you join a department as a junior, your department representative or adviser will approve your courseload.  BSE students meet with their faculty adviser freshman year to enroll in classes, and with a department representative thereafter. Before choosing your courses, be sure to take advantage of the wide variety of peer advising events sponsored by the college.

Add or drop a class during the term
Pay close attention to the add/drop deadlines: they are quite firm. In order to add or drop a class, you need the approval of your academic adviser or director of studies (first and second year students) or department representative or dean (juniors and seniors). Approval may be an email, or a signature on a Course Worksheet. Then you may drop the course online using TigerHub. After the free add-drop period, seniors cannot drop any course without the dean's signature. Please note that anytime a drop means that you will incur a course deficiency--that is, you will be below the normal course-load for that term--you need to talk with your dean or director of studies before dropping a course. (top)

Choose p/d/f grading for a class
The P/D/F declaration period is between the beginning of the seventh and the end of the ninth week of classes. To change your grading option, log into TigerHub and click on Elect P/D/F Option (the Registrar will email you detailed instructions during the declaration period). Remember that you should not P/D/F a course if you are thinking of majoring in that department, or might use the course as a cognate. Questions? Contact your AB or BSE academic adviser. (top)

Take a graduate-level course
In order to enroll in a graduate course, you need approval from the instructor of the course, as well as from the appropriate departmental representative and from your dean or director of studies. Have the graduate course form signed in the department first, then bring it back to the college. Note that graduate courses do not satisfy undergraduate distribution area requirements.  (top)

Join a department
AB students should think broadly about potential fields of interest. During your first and second years, we recommend that you consider filling the prerequisites for more than one department. Be sure to attend the departmental open houses in April, as much useful information is disseminated there. Once you've settled on a concentration at the end of your second year, you'll join your department. The Registrar will send you the link to the majors-declaration page on TigerHub, and you'll have an individual meeting with the department representative.

After taking core quantitative classes, BSE students join a department at the end of first year. The school of engineering sponsors an open house in spring semester that allows you to learn about all six BSE majors, as well as meet faculty and students in each field. You may also want to take EGR 194, a project-based course that gives an introduction to the various disciplines of engineering.  (top)

Change concentration
In order to change your concentration, you'll need to schedule a meeting with Dean Caswell-Klein, who will advise you on the feasibility of the change.  The application to transfer departmental concentration requires that you meet with your proposed new department and make a plan for filling the departmental requirements. If you realize very early in your junior year that you want to switch majors, it's very straightforward; after that, it's less so. If you want to change BSE departments, see Dean Peter Bogucki for advising.  (top)

Switch degree candidacy between AB and BSE
To switch your degree candidacy from AB to BSE or vice-versa, you need to schedule a meeting with Dean Peter Bogucki in the School of Engineering (609-258-4554). Dean Bogucki will give you the paperwork that you need, and will authorize the change. Bring the paper to the First College Office; your dean or director of studies will confirm the change and will consult with you about how it alters your academic requirements. It's easiest to switch degree candidacy during your first two years; if you have questions about its feasability, contact Dean B. or your director of studies.  (top)

Get a summer course approved for transfer credit
Any external course must be preapproved both by a Princeton department and by the college to qualify for transfer credit. The process is not difficult, but it is detailed: see the summer course information page. Please remember that the deadline for course approvals is Dean's Date of the semester before you plan to take the course (so, spring Dean's Date for a summer course).  (top)

Study abroad
First, think about what timing would work best for you--and think early. Spring of second year is a great time to study abroad, and an increasing number of students take that semester internationally. For some departments, there are semesters when study abroad is most convenient, so talk with the department representative or with a peer adviser for more information. The Office of International Programs has a useful website and drop-in hours; it's very helpful to schedule an advising appointment with one of the Study Abroad advising staff early on (609-258-5524).  (top)

Request an extension
If you are seriously ill or have a family emergency, contact your dean or director of studies. In these cases, the college will write to your professors on your behalf. If you find yourself needing an extension during term-time because you have not planned your time well, because you have scheduling complications, etc. you should talk directly with your professor or preceptor. Bear in mind that if you have not been active in class, or have missed classes or precepts, your professor may not be sympathetic to requests for extensions. After the end of classes, all requests for Dean's Date extensions must go to your dean or director of studies; faculty members may not authorize end-of-term extensions.  (top)

Take a leave of absence
Sometimes students need to take time off from Princeton, whether because of illness or family emergency, or because they want to take a break to do something else. See the Undergraduate Announcement for regulations concerning leaves of absence. The procedure to arrange a leave is quite straightforward: make an appointment to see Dean Caswell-Klein, and she will help you through the process.  (top)

Make an appointment with my adviser
To make an appointment with your AB or BSE faculty adviser, check their preferred scheduling system to see if he or she has appointments listed there.  If not, email your adviser directly to set up a time to meet.

To make an appointment with the First College Dean, Anne Caswell-Klein, the Director of Studies, Johanna Rossi Wagner, or the Director of Student Life, Garrett Meggs, phone the college office at 609-258-3629 or email the person individually. (top)