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Princeton University

Princeton University is one of the most well know and prestigious private universities and one of only eight Ivy League schools in the United States. It is consistently recognized as one of the top universities for excellence in research and academics. Adding to its acclaim, Princeton employs an educational approach that emphasizes the importance of independent study.

Princeton university offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate degree program in the social sciences, humanities, natural sciences and engineering.

At the undergraduate level, Princeton offers a large selection of bachelor's of arts and science degrees. Undergraduates approaching their fourth year are required to perform an independent research project within the scope of their chosen major. Depending on a student's chosen field of study, research projects can vary from scientific research to a liberal arts study.

While Princeton does not have a medical school, law school, business school or school of divinity like other Ivey League universities it does provide professional degrees through the Princeton University School of Engineering and Applied science, the School of Architecture and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

If you're looking for an accredited graduate studies program Princeton offers a variety of choices. At Princeton you'll find a large selection of master's degrees, Ph.D. programs and continuing education options designed to meet the needs of a diverse student body. The graduate study program does not employ a traditional credit-based system and graduate advisors work with students to develop a suitable curriculum.

Princeton is one of the more expensive colleges in nation but provides its students with a variety of financial assistance options. Princeton provides qualifying students with several need-based financial aid programs that don't ever have to be repaid. If you're set on attending to Princeton don't let the high price tag get in the way.

Academics

Undergraduates at Princeton are required to fulfill various general education and elective course requirements. In preparation for a Bachelor of Arts (A.B.) or Bachelor of Science in Engineering (B.S.E.) undergraduate students must also select a departmental concentration and complete a specified amount of independent study.

Princeton offers master's degrees in engineering, architecture, finance, public policy and public affairs. The university also offers doctorate programs in a variety of subject areas including social sciences, humanities, engineering and natural sciences. Graduate programs at Princeton emphasize original thought and independent scholarship.

Online Degrees

In an effort to use new technology to enhanced the educational experience for students and enable faculty to extend their teaching beyond the class room, Princeton is exploring the development of online class materials. However, to date, Princeton University does not offer any of its courses, classes or degree programs exclusively online. Only students accepted to attend Princeton's campus based program will have access to online materials, as they become available.

To search for colleges and universities that offer online degree program you can perform a search using the "College Degree Finder" feature located in the upper right hand corner of this page.

Undergraduate Education

Courses offered in most undergraduate programs at Princeton are conducted in a traditional seminar or lecture style two to three times a week. Courses also include a weekly discussion seminar known as a "precept." In order to graduate, undergraduate students are required to complete a thesis during their senior year as well as independent research, typically started during their junior year. In some undergraduate programs, students must complete "independent projects", which differ from research papers. Students pursuing a Bachelor of Arts have foreign language and distribution requirements which typically take three or four semesters to complete. In total, A.B. candidates must complete about 31 classes.

Curriculum for undergraduate students pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Engineering (B.S.E.) is similar to that for A.B. candidates but varies slightly. B.S.E. programs in general incorporate more science and math courses than A.B. programs. B.S.E. programs also have a computer science requirement, independent research requirement and a senior thesis (which is optional). One of the biggest differences between the B.S.E. and A.B. tracks is that the B.S.E. track requires the completion of 36 classes and offer much less flexibility in courses selection than the A.B. track.

All Princeton students, upon admission, agree to adhere to a strict Honor Code. The Honor Code governs such issues as plagiarizism, cheating and other violation of other college rules. The Honor Code is an integral part of students' academic experience at Princeton.

Graduate Education

Unlike other research universities, Princeton does not have a medical school, business school or law school. It does however offer several post-graduate research degrees in various fields in such areas a engineering, natural sciences, humanities and social sciences. Many of the university's graduate-level degree programs are offered through the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs (Princeton's most well known professional school). Originally named the School of Public and International Affairs, the school was renamed in 1948 in honor of the university's president and U.S. President Woodrow Wilson.

Princeton's Grade Deflation Policy

In 2004, Princeton introduced a new grade deflation policy aimed at limiting the number of "A" grades that could be given in any one undergraduate class. Since, then the policy has been seen as quite controversial and many students have even suggested the policy has thwarted their ability to apply to graduate school and put them at a disadvantage when applying for jobs. The arguement for the continued implementation of the grade deflation policy is that an A grade was no longer worth as much, as more and more Princeton students were receiving them (a phenomena occuring in many other universities across the United States). Notwithstanding, proponents of the grade deflation policy contend that the policy makes their GPA look low in comparison to that of students from comparable universities. In reality, undergraduate student GPAs have only seen a decrease from 3.46 to 3.39 since the policy was put into effect.

Admissions and Financial Aid

On average Princeton admitts about 8% of undergraduate applicants. In the 2011-12 admissions cycle only 7.8% of applicants we accepted. The undergraduate program at Princeton is very selective. In 2006, the university ended its "early decision" program and applicants for the 2012 class were considered in a single pool, a first for the university. However, in 2011 Princeton introduced a "early action" program (a type of early admission process) following closely on the heals of Harvard University and the University of Virginia who recently had reinstated their early admissions programs. According to the Business Journal, Princeton University is one the most selective, if not the most selective, colleges in the Eastern United States.

In 2001, for those students who qualified for financial aid, Princeton eliminated traditional student loan repayment programs. For qualifying students, their educational financial obligations were met by a combination of work study programs, on campus jobs and grants. Princeton was the first college in the United States to implement such a program and other universities followed suit soon after. According to the U.S.News & World Report, Princeton has the lowest number of students who graduate with debt. The average debt of a Princeton student upon graduation is roughly a $4,957 (only one fifth the average debt of college graduates nationwide).

Among national universities, U.S. News & World Report has ranked Princeton, based on the number of its students who receive Pell Grants, as the university with the smallest amount of economic diversity.

Rankings

For nearly ten years (2001 through 2010), Princeton University held the No. 1 or No. 2 spot in the U.S. News & World Report rankings of national universities. For eight of those years, Princeton was ranked No. 1. Among world universities, Princeton has been ranked No. 8 by Shanghai Jiao Tong University and No. 5 in the nation for Natural Sciences by Times Higher Education World University Rankings. In 2011, QS World University Rankings ranked Princeton No. 13 in the world. The university's top globally ranked programs include Arts and Humanities (No. 6), Natural Sciences (No. 7) and Social Sciences (No. 11).

In 2008, Princeton was ranked No. 8 among all U.S. colleges and universities in "America's Best Colleges" rankings produced by Forbes. Unlike other college ranking institutions, Forbes considers several factors including the awards and recognitions that school's students and faculty have received, as well as how many alumni appear in the Who's Who in America" register.

Princeton also ranks prominently in other "non-academic" based university rankings, including the "Students Happy with Financial Aid" and "Happiest Students" lists, where it ranked first and third respectively (outranked only by Brown University and Clemson).

In addition to its overall rankings, Princeton's individual academic departments also rank competitively within their respective subject areas. Princeton's behavioral and neuroscience program has been ranked No. 6, its social psychology program No. 7 and its Department of Psychology No. 5 in the nation. Currently, the University's Department of History is ranked No. 1 in the world.

Student Life and Culture at Princeton

All undergraduate students at Princeton are guaranteed housing for the four years required to complete their undergraduate A.B. or B.S.E. degree. Almost all undergraduate students (98%) live in dormitories that located on campus. Both freshmen and sophomores are required to live in residential colleges, and upperclassman (juniors and seniors) live in designated dormitories. Residence colleges have their own dining halls, where dormitories do not. Juniors and seniors now have the option of remaining in their residential colleges for all four years of college or living off-campus, but most tend to stay due to the high cost of renting an apartment off-campus and the social life that revolves around Princeton's residential colleges and eating clubs (sponsored by juniors and seniors). Eating clubs, while not directly affiliated with the college, serve as dining halls for juniors and seniors and forums for social activities and events that are held throughout the year.

Many of the social events and activities that take place at Princeton are hosted by one of the university's six residential colleges. Events include dances, parties, dinners, a variety of activites, guest speakers and trips. Some of the more popular trips include outings to New York to see operas, sporting events, Broadway shows and operas. Eating clubs are typically reserved to juniors and seniors but host many of the same events and activities as residential colleges.

Each Year Princeton hosts the PMUNC and PICSim, two Model United Nations conferences for high schools students. The PMUNC is typically held in the fall and the PICSim every spring. Princeton also hosts the renowned Princeton Invitational Speech and Debate Tournament and Model Congress in November. The Model Congress is a 4-day event that gathers high school students from across the nation as participants.

Popular Traditions

Over the years Princeton's students and faculty have developed and embrassed a number of traditions that keep student life fun, interesting and exciting. The following are just a few.
  • Bonfire - The Bonfire, as it has come to be known, takes place if and when Princeton beats both Harvard University and Yale University in football during the same season. The event is held in Cannon Green near Nassau Hall. For the first time in twelve years, a Bonefire was lit November 17, 2006.

  • Arch Sings - These free late-night concerts are sponsored by one of Princeton's several undergraduate cappella groups. They are usually held in one of the school's large arches on campus. The most popular locations where Arch Sings are held include Blair Arch and Class of 1879 Arch.

  • Bicker - A process by which eating clubs select and initiate new members ("bickerees"). During a Bicker current club members require prospective members to perform various activities and tasks.

  • Communiversity - A street fair held each year that includes arts and crafts, various performances and other activities. The purpose of communiversity is to foster a deeper sense of community between the university and local residents.

  • Class Jackets (Beer Jackets) - An annual event where graduating class members design a Class Jacket using artwork, school colors, and motifs featuring the class year.

  • Cane Spree - A cane wrestling competition held in the fall between freshmen and sophomore students. The event revolves around freshman and sophomores grappling for control of a cane. This event is held each year in commemoration of a freshman uprising against a long standing university tradition that only upperclassmen could carry canes on campus.

  • Dean's Date - The Dean's Date occurs at the end of each semester on a Tuesday. It represents the end of reading period and the start of final exams. At 5pm undergraduate students gather outside McCosh Hall to applaud and cheer on students who have procrastinated finishing their work until the very end.

  • The Clapper - The Clapper, also know as the Clapper Theft, involves students scaling the roof of Nassau Hall to steal the bell clapper. The bell used to ring each year to signal the beginning of classes but due to safety concerns the clapper has been permanently removed.

  • Gilding the Lily - The Gildig the Lily ceremony is held at a 25th class reunion where University alumnae (aka "Tiger Lilies") court other male classmates while singing and drinking.

  • Houseparties - When eating clubs hold formal parties simultaneously at the end of each spring term.

  • Lawnparties - Parties held by eating clubs at the beginning and end of each academic year. These parties feature live bands, food and fun.

  • Holder Howl - Students from Holder Hall and several other residential colleges and dormitories meet the midnight before Dean's Date in the Holder courtyard and simultaneously scream to express their frustration from studying and relief that it's over.

  • Newman's Day - On April 24th Princeton students try and drink 24 beers during the 24 hours in the day. This tradition is named after the apocryphal quote by Paul Newman, "'24 beers in a case, 24 hours in a day. Coincidence? I think not." However, Paul Newman never condoned the event and actually spoke out against it.

  • P-rade - A traditional parade through campus that includes alumni and their families arranged by class year.

  • Nude Olympics - As suggested by its name, the nude olympics was a nude, or partially nude, athletic event held each year in Holder Courtyard during winter's first snow. The event started in the early 1970s and was banned in 2000 due to the notoriety it was creating for the school.

  • Prospect 11 - This is said to occur when a beer is consumed at all eleven eating clubs in a single evening.

  • Ivy stones - These are class memorial stones that students and alumni place on the walls of academic buildings across Princeton's campus.

  • FitzRandolph Gates - Upon graduation students file through FitzRandolph Gates (the main gate of the university) as a symbol of leaving college. Superstition has it that if a student leaves campus by way of the FitzRandolph Gates before they graduate that they will never graduate.

Athletics

Athletics is an integral part of Princeton's history and student life. Athletics provide ongoing recreation, physical education and entertainment for university students and members of the community. Princeton supports three levels of athletic organization: varsity intercollegiate, club intercollegiate, and intramural. Most undergraduate students at Princeton are involved in the school's athletic programs in one way or another. Student athletes at Princeton are collectively known as the Tigers and the school's mascot is the tiger.

Varsity Athletics

Princeton University plays NCAA Division I sports and is a member of the Ivy League athletic conference. The University sponsors a total of 38 men's and women's varsity sports, with its most popular sport being rowing. There are nearly 150 student athletes on Princeton's rowing team.

Another popular varsity intercollegiate sport at Princeton is football. The University is a member of the Football Championship Subdivision of NCAA Division I and has won 26 national championships, more than any other college football team in the nation.

Princeton also has a renowned basketball program with a long history of success. Under the direction of Pete Carril, the team's coach from 1967-'96, the University racked up 13 Ivy Leage ttiles and over 10 NCAA tournament appearances. Princeton is well know for the Princeton offense, an offensive strategy introduced by Carril that adopted by several college and professional basketball teams.

Several other sports, including men's water polo and lacrosse, where Princeton has historically dominated, continue to be popular among college athletes and students.

Club and Intramural Sports

At Princeton, athletics isn't just for the athletes - it's for everyone! Princeton has nearly as many club and intramural sports organizations (35) as it does intercollegiate varsity teams (38). Currently, there are over 300 intramural sports teams at Princeton. Intramural sports are open to all studentns, faculty and staff members.

History

Princeton University, originally called the College of New Jersey, was founded by the New Light Presbyterians in 1746 as a school designed to train ministers. Ten years later the college was moved to Princeton, New Jersey. John Witherspoon, Princeton's fifth President, changed the college's focus from a strictly religious university that trained ministers to a more secular school designed to prepare a new generation of American leaders.

Princeton University's sole campus structure was Nassau Hall until 1803 when it undertook the construction of an additional hall, Stanhope Hall. In 1803 the role of Nassau Hall shifted from an all-purpose building to its present role as the administrative building for the University.

In 1868 James McCosh was appointed president of Princeton University. During his twenty years of service, he helped to lift the institution out of a low period, brought on by the American Civil War, by overhauling the school's curriculum, expanding its educational offering into the sciences, and overseeing the addition of numerous buildings to the school's campus. McCosh Hall is named after James McCosh.

In 1896, the school officially changed it name from the College of New Jersey to Princeton University in honor of the city where it was located. During 1896 the college became an actual university and underwent a massive expansion program.

General Information

Admission Office
Box 430
Princeton, NJ 08544-0430
(609) 258-3060
Fax: (609) 258-6743
uaoffice@princeton.edu
Contact: Janet Rapelye
Dean of Admission
Main Address
Box 430
Princeton, NJ 08542
(609) 258-3000
www.princeton.edu
Size
Total undergrads: 4,981
First-time degree-seeking freshmen: 1,243
Degree-seeking undergrads: 4,878
Graduate enrollment: 2,516

Setting
Suburban setting
Large town (10,000 - 49,999)
Residential campus
Degrees offered:
Bachelor's
Master's
Doctoral

Admissions Information

Application Fee
College has an application fee: Yes
Regular application fee: $60
Online application fee: $60
Enrollment Rates
Percent applicants admitted: 46%
Percent of students who return for sophomore year: 88%
Admissions Considerations
Secondary school GPA: Recommended
Secondary school rank: Recommended
Secondary school record: Required
Completion of College-prep programs: Recommended
Recommendations: Required
Formal demonstration of competencies: Recommended
Admission test scores (SAT/ACT): Required
TOEFL: Required

Undergraduate Admissions Fall 2011
Number of Applicants: 27,189
Percent Admitted: 8%
Percented Admitted Who Enrolled: 57%
Test Scores: Fall 2011

SAT Critical Reading
  • 700 (25th Percentile)
  • 790 (75th Percentile)
SAT Math
  • 710 (25th Percentile)
  • 800 (75th Percentile)
SAT Writing
  • 700 (25th Percentile)
  • 790 (75th Percentile)
ACT Composite
  • 31 (25th Percentile)
  • 34 (75th Percentile)
ACT English
  • 32 (25th Percentile)
  • 35 (75th Percentile)
ACT Math
  • 31 (25th Percentile)
  • 35 (75th Percentile)
ACT Math
  • 8 (25th Percentile)
  • 10 (75th Percentile)

Enrollment Statistics


Undergraduate Attendance Status


Undergraduate Student Gender

Undergraduate Student Age


Undergraduate Student Residence

Graduate Attendance Status



Undergraduate Race/Ethnicity


Retention and Graduation Rates


Retention Rates for First-Time Students Pursuing Bachelor's Degrees


Overall Graduation and Transfer-Out Rates for Students

Graduation Rates for Students Pursuing Bachelor's Degrees



6-Year Graduation Rate by Gender for Students Pursuing Bachelor's Degrees



6-Year Graduation Rate by Race/Ethnicity for Students Pursuing Bachelor's Degrees


Tuition & Fees

Estimated Annual Expenses 2008-'09 2009-'10 2010-'11 2011-'12 % change 2010-'12
Tuition and fees $33,000 $34,290 $35,340 $36,640 +3.68%
Books and Supplies $1,145 $1,200 $1,260 $1,200 -4.76%
Living Arrangement - On Campus
Room and Board $10,980 $11,405 $11,680 $11,940 +2.23%
Other $2,850 $2,935 $2,980 $2,935 -1.51%
Living Arrangement - Off Campus
Room and Board $0 $0 $0 $0 0.00%
Other $0 $0 $0 $0 0.00%
Total Expenses 2008-'09 2009-'10 2010-'11 2011-'12 % change 2010-'12
In-state On Campus $47,975 $49,830 $51,260 $52,715 +2.84%
In-state Off Campus $34,145 $35,490 $36,600 $37,840 +3.39%
In-state with Family $34,145 $35,490 $36,600 $37,840 +3.39%
Average Graduate Student Tuition & Fees
Tuition for In-state Students $36,640
In-state Student Fees $1,450
Tuition for Out-of-state Students $36,640
Out-of-state Fees $1,450

Financial Aid

Type of Aid Students Percent Amount Average Per Student
All students financial aid 716 58%
Grant or scholarship aid 713 57% $23,136,189 $32,449
• Federal grants 124 10% $743,405 $5,995
• Pell grants 122 10% $392,530 $3,217
• Other federal grants 120 10% $350,875 $2,924
State/local government grant or scholarships 18 1% $47,844 $2,658
Institutional grants or scholarships 713 57% $22,344,940 $31,339
Student loan aid 146 12% $478,342 $3,276
• Federal student loans 51 4% $200,999 $3,941
• Other student loans 107 9% $277,343 $2,592

All Degrees and Programs

BA/BS MA/MS PhD AA/AS CERT
Total of All Education Programs 1113 491 291 - -
Architecture and Related Services 15 29 - - -
Architecture 15 29 - - -
Area, Gender, Cultural, Ethnic, and Group Studies 23 9 10 - -
East Asian Studies 10 - 5 - -
Near and Middle Eastern Studies 13 9 5 - -
Biology and Biomedical Sciences 93 38 20 - -
Ecology 37 9 3 - -
Molecular Biology 56 29 17 - -
Business, Administration, Management, Marketing, etc. - 28 - - -
Finance - 28 - - -
Engineering 221 102 73 - -
Chemical Engineering 36 12 11 - -
Civil Engineering 18 8 7 - -
Computer Engineering 44 19 10 - -
Electrical and Electronics Engineering 31 34 28 - -
Mechanical Engineering 37 22 11 - -
Operations Research 55 7 6 - -
English Language, Composition and Literature/letters 58 2 4 - -
English Language and Literature 58 2 4 - -
Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics 73 28 20 - -
Classics and Classical Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics 16 5 7 - -
Comparative Literature 26 4 4 - -
French Language and Literature 10 1 3 - -
German Language and Literature 5 4 3 - -
Romance Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics - - - - -
Slavic Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics 8 2 2 - -
Spanish Language and Literature 8 12 1 - -
History 80 19 17 - -
History 80 19 17 - -
Human Services 76 96 10 - -
Public Policy Analysis 76 96 10 - -
Mathematics and Statistics 31 11 22 - -
Applied Mathematics - 7 6 - -
Mathematics 31 4 16 - -
Multi-/interdisciplinary Studies 2 - - - -
Multi-/interdisciplinary Studies, Other 2 - - - -
Physical Sciences 72 65 51 - -
Astrophysics 6 4 4 - -
Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology - 3 3 - -
Chemistry 33 21 19 - -
Geological and Earth Sciences/geosciences, Other 4 13 5 - -
Physics 29 24 20 - -
Psychology 56 5 12 - -
Psychology 56 5 12 - -
Social Sciences 281 44 47 - -
Anthropology 40 2 5 - -
Demography and Population Studies - - - - -
Economics 97 22 15 - -
Political Science and Government 102 13 15 - -
Sociology 42 7 12 - -
Visual and Performing Arts 32 15 5 - -
Art History, Criticism and Conservation 25 9 5 - -
Music 7 6 - - -
Above data represents first majors only.
(-) Indicates that a program is not offered at this level.

Undergraduate Majors

Architecture & Related Programs
Architecture B

Area, Ethnic, Cultural, & Gender Studies
East Asian Studies B
Near/Middle Eastern Studies B

Arts, Visual & Performing
Art History/Criticism/Conservation B
Music - General B

Biological & Biomedical Sciences
Ecology B
Molecular Biology B

Engineering
Chemical Engineering B
Civil Engineering B
Computer Engineering - General B
Electrical/Communications Engineering B
Mechanical Engineering B
Operations Research B

English Language & Literature
English Language & Literature - General B

Foreign Language & Literature
Classics B
Comparative Literature B
German B
Italian B
Slavic B
Spanish B

History
History - General B

Mathematics
Mathematics - General B

Philosophy & Religion
Philosophy B
Religion/Religious Studies B

Physical Sciences
Astrophysics B
Chemistry B
Geology B
Physics B

Psychology
Psychology - General B

Public Administration & Services
Public Administration B

Social Sciences
Anthropology B
Economics B
Political Science/Government B
Sociology B

Degree levels for each major are designated by the following letters:
    A = Associate degree
    B = Bachelor's degree
    C = Certificate or diploma

*CollegeAtlas.org does not guarantee the accuracy of the information included in the college profile above. All information is subject to change. Please confirm all information with a college admissions officer.
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