Overview of the Department of Psychology Graduate Program
There are many steps that must be completed in a timely manner in order to complete the program and University requirements.
The process is detailed in the Psychology Graduate Program Timeline (see Related Documents to the right).
Graduate students take courses mostly during the 1st year, but other courses are required. Details about the Department's course requirements for graduate students are found in the Course Requirements tab.
Teaching experience is an important and meaningful part of graduate education in the department. Each student must teach a minimum of 9 teaching (AI) hours, which usually corresponds to 3 semesters of teaching (and is equivalent to approximately 10 hours of work per week). Students often teach more than 9 teaching hours over the course of five years of regular enrollment, and students are required to teach during any semester when they do not have fellowship or advisor grant support.
- The General Exam takes place in late September or early October of the 3rd year. The Research Paper and Theoretical Paper are due to the committee at least two weeks ahead of the scheduled exam date.
- The dissertation proposal meeting(s) take place in the fall or winter of the 4th year. The dissertation proposal (which is open format, in consultation with the advisors) is due at least two weeks ahead of the scheduled date.
- A draft of the dissertation is due on February 15 of the 5th year. The final dissertation is due on April 1.
- The Final Public Oral Exam takes place at the end of the 5th year.
General Exam Committee and Dissertation Proposal Committee: Advisor + 2 faculty members; 1 faculty member must be out-of-area.
Dissertation Reading Committee: Advisor + 2 faculty members; 1 faculty member must be out-of-area.
Final Public Oral Exam Committee: Advisor + 2 faculty members who are not on the Dissertation Reading Committee; 1 faculty member must be out-of-area.
Out-of-area is broadly defined as someone who broadens the scope of expertise in the committee.
- Graduate students should attend an annual meeting with the Director of Graduate Studies.
- Graduate students must complete a yearly reenrollment process so that advisors, the Director of Graduate Studies, and the Graduate School can evaluate academic progress.
- All graduate students are asked to be available for the department's Visiting Day activities, which typically take place at the end of January.
- We host multiple talks each week in our department, and these are an important part of graduate education. We also encourage graduate students to attend talks in related departments and programs (e.g., Neuroscience, Cognitive Science, Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, Computer Science, and Philosophy).
- There are many lab meetings and joint lab meetings throughout the building each week, and we encourage graduate students to attend meetings of interest. These can be thought of as useful intellectual experiences, akin to courses, that play a sizable role in students’ education.
- Every graduate student must serve for one year on the Psychology Graduate Student Committee; this ensures that service work does not fall on the same individuals over time. Each member joins one of three subcommittees focused on social well-being, professional development, and our yearly visiting day for prospective students.
- We have a highly active Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee that meets regularly and enacts many initiatives every year.
- We host many professional development events each year, featuring speakers from many types of careers, from academia to industry. This is part of a departmental culture that acknowledges the many diverse professional goals of our graduate students.
- The living stipend for graduate students at Princeton is generous compared to most institutions. Additionally, the department offers money for conference travel and $500 to support graduate students’ moving expenses. The University Safety-Net Fund can support graduate students who are facing unexpected financial hardship.
- Postdoctoral researchers are a crucial part of our departmental fabric. Graduate students should always keep in mind that postdocs are valuable resources for their learning, and turn to them for training and advice.
- We have a wonderful graduate program and there is always room for improvement. We count on every graduate student to be mindful of this coexistence.
- Our department traces its history back to 1893, when the ‘Psychology Laboratory’ was built in Nassau Hall.
- Princeton is located in central New Jersey, a beautiful area that defies media stereotypes of the state. For those who enjoy cities, we are approximately one hour from both New York City and Philadelphia, and 15 minutes from Trenton. For those who enjoy cute towns, they are located everywhere (e.g., Hopewell, Lawrenceville, Lambertville, New Hope). The Jersey Shore is one hour away, and the Pocono Mountains and Catskill Mountains are two hours away.