Degrees Offered

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

When a student enters the department, an adviser is assigned to the student based on the student's area of interest. Students begin research right away with their respective advisers, and the program is designed to last approximately five years.

Every admitted Ph.D. student is given financial support in the form of a first-year fellowship. In addition, all admitted Ph.D. students are automatically considered for the prestigious Wu and Upton Fellowships. As long as the student is making satisfactory progress in their studies, funding will continue in subsequent years in the form of a teaching assistantship or a research assistantship. In addition to the academic year stipend, arrangements can be made with the student's adviser for additional research support during the summer months.


The plan of study is arranged by the student, in consultation with the adviser and the department’s director of graduate studies. A typical plan consists of eight courses plus two research courses. Most coursework is typically taken before the general examination at the end of the second year.

Students take courses in their own fields of research in addition to courses in mathematics, computational methods or statistics. The courses are normally at the graduate level, but upon approval, an upper class undergraduate course may be used. Plans for coursework are formulated by the students in consultation with their advisers and approval of the program and Director of Graduate Studies.

General Exam

Students are expected to take the general examination by the end of the second year of their Ph.D. studies. The general examination consists of a research proposal and a presentation to a faculty committee consisting of the adviser and other faculty in the department. Students will be assessed based on their understanding of their research and coursework, and their preparedness for Ph.D. candidacy.


Teaching experience is considered to be beneficial for a graduate education. Ph.D. candidates have the opportunity to assist with course instruction in agreement with their advisers and availability of departmental resources for teaching assistantships.

Post-Generals Requirement(s)

Upon completion of the general examination, each Ph.D. student meets annually with their research committee consisting of the adviser and two or more additional faculty members to review progress and discuss future research plans.


Upon completion and acceptance of the dissertation by the department, the candidate is admitted to the final public oral examination, in which the dissertation is presented and defended by the candidate. The Ph.D. is awarded after the candidate’s doctoral dissertation has been accepted and the final public oral examination sustained.


Master of Science in Engineering (MSE)

The MSE program has a strong research focus, working closely with a faculty member as the thesis adviser. The course requirements are fulfilled by successfully completing 10 courses, two of which are required research courses. The MSE degree is usually completed within two academic years of full-time study.

Candidates must prepare and submit an acceptable thesis as well as present the thesis at an open seminar on their research.

Note:  Students who intend to pursue a Ph.D. at Princeton should apply to the Ph.D. instead of the MSE. A master's degree is not a necessary step for the doctoral degree.