The Graduate Program

Each year the department admits a small number of highly motivated students who intend to obtain the Ph.D. degree. It does not offer a special M.A. program, but an M.A. degree is awarded upon request after successful completion of the general examination. The only major formal requirements for the Ph.D. are the general examination and the dissertation. Since Princeton has no credit system, the question of transfer of credits seldom arises. After they have fulfilled the University residency requirement of one year, students take their general examination as soon as they feel prepared. For students with the A.B. this normally means the beginning of the third year of study. Students who come with previous graduate training frequently take it earlier. The Ph.D. program is a five-year program, although many students take an additional year. This is because we urge all students to study at a university in a German-speaking country at some point before they complete their requirements for the Ph.D. degree. The department makes every effort to enable students to spend a full year abroad, which effectively extends the period of support to six years. Most students obtain outside fellowships or one of the DAAD fellowships (among others) earmarked specifically for Princeton University.