Skip over navigation
Princeton University
Office of the Dean of the Faculty

Rules and Procedures of the Faculty of Princeton University and Other Provisions of Concern to the Faculty

Last printed June 1994; Last updated May 2006

CHAPTER III: ACADEMIC STRUCTURE OF THE UNIVERSITY

A. Academic Divisions

For purposes of representation on Faculty committees, the University is considered to include four major divisions, as follows: I-The Humanities including Architecture, II-The Social Sciences including History and the Woodrow Wilson School, III-The Natural Sciences including Mathematics and Psychology, and IV-Engineering and Applied Science. Except for Engineering and Applied Science, none of these Divisions has administrative or instructional responsibilities.

B. Academic Departments

1. For the conduct of its work of instruction and research the Faculty is organized into various departments, and into schools and special programs which exercise many of the functions of a department.

2. The chair of a department is appointed by the President, usually for a term of three years, normally after consultation with the members of the departmental Faculty concerned. The duties of the chair of a department are:

a. To call and preside over all meetings of the department.

b. To bring to the attention of the department for discussion and action all matters which may pertain to the work and efficiency of the department.

c. To represent the department in all administrative dealings with the President of the University.

d. To bring to the Faculty for consideration all proposals of the department requiring Faculty approval.

e. To prepare proposals for appointment, reappointment, or advancement in rank or salary of department members.

f. To perform such other duties in connection with the work and administration of the department as the President of the University may assign to the chair.

3. Within the general framework of the rules and procedures established for the Faculty as a whole, each department determines its own procedures and internal organization and establishes such departmental committees as it finds desirable.

4. The department is corporately responsible for all of its courses and programs of study and research.

a. It may recommend to the Faculty through the appropriate Faculty committee the institution of new courses and programs and the cancellation or revision of existing courses and programs.

b. It authorizes its chair, or one of its departmental committees, to designate which member of the department shall take charge of each course or program, and which members shall participate in each course or program.

5. A proposal to constitute a new department is in the first instance considered by the Dean of the Faculty and the Faculty Committees on the Course of Study and on the Graduate School. Their recommendations are reported to the Faculty. If the Faculty approves the proposal, its action is reported by the President to the Trustees' Academic Affairs Committee, which in turn reports to the Board of Trustees for final action.

The following thirty departments comprise the academic departments:

Anthropology
Art and Archaeology
Astrophysical Sciences
Chemical Engineering
Chemistry
Civil Engineering and Operations Research
Classics
Comparative Literature
Computer Science
East Asian Studies
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Economics
Electrical Engineering
English
Geological and Geophysical Sciences
Germanic Languages and Literatures
History
Mathematics
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Molecular Biology
Music
Near Eastern Studies
Philosophy
Physics
Politics
Psychology
Religion
Romance Languages and Literatures
Slavic Languages and Literatures
Sociology

C. The Graduate School

1. The Graduate School is that academic unit of the University concerned with administering standards for students enrolled for advanced degrees. The Dean of the Graduate School has oversight over all matters concerning graduate education at Princeton University. For a further description of the Dean's duties and committee assignments, see Section II.B. of this document. The Dean is advised in these matters by the Faculty Committee on the Graduate School, whose membership and responsibilities are described in Section II.D.2.h. In addition to the Dean, the Graduate School office staff consists of an Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, an Associate Dean for Budget and Administrative Affairs, an Assistant Dean for Student Affairs, and a Director of the office of Graduate Admission.

2. The policies and procedures of the Graduate School are provided in more detail in the Graduate School Announcement and in the Graduate School Office Manual.

3. The total enrollment of graduate students is limited, and admission to advanced degrees is highly selective. Applications received in the Graduate School Admission Office are delivered to individual departments in January. Each department, through its representative, submits to the Dean no later than mid-March its recommendations for admission and financial aid awards. The Dean of the Graduate School passes on the admissibility of all applicants after conferring with representatives of each department.

4. Candidates for advanced degrees must apply each year for readmission to a further year of study. Each department reports to the Dean of the Graduate School by a specified date in April upon the performance of students who have requested readmission. A department may elect by formal action to give no grades in graduate courses; in such event the department shall provide a complete and detailed report on each student's work. The Graduate School informs all students of readmission decisions by early June.

5. Candidates for advanced degrees are normally enrolled as full-time students and are required to register at the appropriate time each year they are enrolled in study. The Graduate School requires a minimum of one academic year of residence in the University, and students must complete all the requirements of both the department and the Graduate School to be awarded the appropriate advanced degree.

6. Each department shall inform the Dean of the Graduate School in the previous semester, through the Registrar s Office, which of its authorized courses It proposes to offer. At the beginning of each term, the Registrar provides each instructor in charge of a graduate course with a list of the students enrolled. At the end of the term, the instructor should inform the Registrar of any subsequent additions to, or subtractions from, this ]list. By action of the Faculty Committee on the Graduate School, each member of the Faculty in charge of a graduate course shall then report to the Registrar promptly at the end of each term which of the students enrolled have satisfactorily met the requirements of the course as a graded student or as an auditor.

7. Each department shall report promptly to the Dean the names of students who have satisfactorily sustained the General Examination or have otherwise completed the necessary requirements for an advanced degree.

8. Successful completion of the General Examination is a necessary (but not sufficient) prerequisite for being advanced to formal Ph.D. candidacy.

9. To obtain the Ph.D. degree a student must submit an acceptable dissertation and sustain a Final Public Oral Examination. The Ph.D. dissertation must demonstrate the candidate's technical mastery of the field, his or her capability to conduct independent research, and the results of the dissertation must enlarge or modify what was previously known or present a significant new interpretation of known materials. The Final Public Oral Examination is not only a defense of the dissertation but is also a final examination in the student's field of study.

10. No officer of instruction in the University at the rank of Assistant Professor or above may be a candidate for any higher degree at Princeton University. Graduate students may in exceptional circumstances be appointed temporarily as Lecturers, but only after review by and with permission of the Dean of the Graduate School. Graduate students who have not completed the Ph.D. may be appointed as Research Assistants only if they have submitted, and their adviser has approved a first draft of their dissertation, and then only for a period of five months.

11. The Dean of the Graduate School shall be responsible for developing systematic procedures to survey the views of graduate students on the quality of their instruction.

12. Each year departmental chairs shall invite the students and the student departmental committees of their departments to comment on the range and balance of academic specialties in their departments and to suggest priorities for the establishment of new positions or the elimination of old ones (as these are defined in terms of academic specialties). Departmental chairs shall advise the students and the student departmental committees of their departments that they may forward such comments and suggestions to the President, either directly or together with the chair's annual report to the President. (These comments and suggestions may also be forwarded through the Dean of the Faculty.)

13. The Dean of the Faculty, working with the Dean of the College, the Committee on the Course of Study, and the Academic Committee on the Undergraduate Student Government--shall devise regular ways to make a limited number of extra- departmental appointments of limited term and bring such proposed ways to the Faculty for its approval.

14. The Administration shall seek to ascertain in a systematic way the views of nontenured faculty members on the range and balance of the academic specialties in their departments and on the manner in which decisions on appointments are made in their departments.

D. School of Architecture

1. The School of Architecture sponsors and carries on programs of education and research in architecture and urban design. The School functions as a department at both the undergraduate and graduate level, conducting programs of upper-class concentration and graduate programs of professional education for careers in architecture and urban design.

2. The Dean of the School is responsible to the President and the Board of Trustees for the administrative oversight of the School, its planning and development, and its coordination and relations with other parts of the University. The Dean, in addition to other responsibilities of the office, has the duties and responsibilities of a chair of a department.

3. The Executive Committee of the School is appointed by the Dean. It meets with the Dean to advise on administrative and academic matters, and to make recommendations to the Faculty of the School.

E. School of Engineering and Applied Science

1. The School of Engineering and Applied Science operates under the supervision of the Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science and comprises the following departments of instruction:

  • Chemical Engineering
  • Civil Engineering and Operations Research
  • Computer Science
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
2. Undergraduate programs of study within the School of Engineering and Applied Science are conducted by its departments and lead to the degree of bachelor of science in engineering. The Department of Computer Science also conducts a program of upper-class concentration leading to the bachelor of arts degree. The School conducts advising and administrative activities in support of these programs. Graduate programs of professional education are conducted by the departments of the School.

3. The Dean of the School is responsible to the President and the Board of Trustees for the administrative oversight of the School and its planning and development, with particular attention to coordination among its several departments and their relations to other parts of the University.

4. The chairs of the departments are appointed by the President on nomination of the Dean of the School and are immediately responsible to the Dean for the planning and management of the affairs of their departments.

5. The Executive Committee of the School is composed of the Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied who serves as chair, the Associate Deans, and the chairs of the five departments of the School. The Dean may designate other staff members to serve on the committee as members ex officio. The Executive Committee acts in an advisory capacity for the School as a Division. It advises the Dean on administrative and academic matters, and on academic matters it makes recommendations to the Faculty of the School.

6. The School of Engineering and Applied Science also conducts, at the undergraduate level, interdisciplinary programs in Architecture and Engineering; Engineering and Management Systems; Engineering Biology; Engineering Physics; and Geological Engineering and programs in various topical areas such as Energy and Environmental Studies; Robotics and Intelligent Systems; and Transportation. At the graduate level, it engages with other departments in Programs in Applied and Computational Mathematics; Plasma Science and Fusion Technology; Polymer Science and Materials; Statistics and Operations Research; Transportation; and Water Resources.

7. The Center for Energy and Environmental Studies and the Advanced Technology Center for Photonics and Optoelectric Materials are housed in the School and report to the Dean. The School is represented on the standing Council on Science and Technology.

F. Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs

1. The Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs sponsors and carries on programs of education and research in public and international affairs. The School constitutes in some respects a single department of instruction and in others a multidisciplinary program of education and research in the division of the social sciences.

2. The School is administered by the Dean who is elected by the Board of Trustees on nomination of the President. The Dean of the School is responsible to the President and the Board of Trustees for the administrative oversight of the School, its planning and development, and its coordination and relations with other parts of the University. In addition to other responsibilities of the office, the Dean exercises the functions of a chair of a department.

3. At the undergraduate level, the School conducts a program of upperclass concentration, featuring courses, policy conferences and task forces, and seminars on issues of public and international affairs. At the graduate level the School conducts programs of professional education for careers in public and international affairs and urban and regional planning at both the masters and doctoral levels. The School in addition conducts various programs of mid-career and senior executive training.

4. The School also carries on activities in research, including the Center of International Studies, which publishes the quarterly journal World Politics, the Office of Population Research, which publishes the Population Index, and the Center of Domestic and Comparative Policy Studies.

G. Council of the Humanities

In 1953 the Trustees and Faculty authorized the establishment of the Council of the Humanities as a means of fostering significant teaching and research in the humanities.

The Humanities Council consists of the chair of each department in Division I (Humanities including History), the directors of programs and chairs of committees under Council aegis, the Dean of the School of Architecture, the Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science, and one representative from each of Division II (Social Sciences) and Division III (Natural Sciences). This group meets from time to time to discuss matters affecting the humanities at Princeton and to advise the Chair, the Deans and the President on policy issues in connection with the Humanities.

The on-going missions of the Council are carried out by a series of committees, overseen by an Executive Committee consisting of six Faculty members from different departments and programs, representing a broad spectrum of the Council's activities. This committee is named by the Dean of the Faculty after consultation with the Chair of the Council. Its specific duties are to select the Fellows of the Council and to coordinate and supervise the various special programs and committees under Humanities Council auspices: American Studies, Creative Writing, Christian Gauss Seminars in Criticism, European Cultural Studies, Hellenic Studies, Humanistic Studies, Italian Studies, Linguistics, Medieval Studies, Classical Philosophy, Political Philosophy, The Princeton Writing Program, The Program in the Ancient World, Theater and Dance, Visual Arts, and the committees for Jewish Studies, Renaissance Studies, Film Studies, and the Program of Belknap Visitors in the Humanities.

Fellows of the Humanities Council are distinguished scholars at the Junior and Senior faculty levels. Long-Term Fellows spend a semester on campus, teaching and pursuing research. Short-Term Fellows come for an intensive ten-day schedule of seminars, colloquia, lectures and other activities involving them in the University community. There is also a program of professorships which brings scholars to Princeton on shared appointments between a department and the Council.

In all of its endeavors, the Council's goals are to encourage cooperation among departments, to foster interdisciplinary teaching and scholarship, to focus attention on problems common to all aspects of humanistic study, and to administer the Council endowment in a way that shall best enhance teaching, scholarship and faculty development in the humanities at Princeton.

H. Council on Regional Studies

The Council on Regional Studies coordinates the University's activities in these fields of study, instruction and research. These activities are conducted in:

  • The departments (in the social sciences and the humanities).
  • Interdepartmental programs on Africa, East Asia, Latin America, Europe, Near East, and Russia.
  • Research agencies, including the Center of International Studies and the Office of Population Research.
  • The Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, and the School of Architecture.
The Council is advisory to the President of the University and its members are appointed by the President.

I. Council on Science and Technology

In cooperation with science and engineering departments, the Council fosters the teaching of science and technology courses for nonscience students. A principal responsibility of the Council is to encourage the development and maintenance of high-quality courses in which students in the humanities and social sciences can satisfy the science distribution requirement. Using the resources available to it, the Council assists faculty members in developing new courses and renovating existing ones. The Council encourages the exchange of ideas and experiences among faculty members teaching science to nonscience students.

The Council recommends to the Course of Study Committee those courses which it feels should satisfy the science distribution requirement.

The Council also fosters and supports upper-level courses in science and technology which address cultural and societal issues. In addition to courses taught by Princeton faculty members, the Council sponsors visits by distinguished scientists from other institutions.

The Council consists of eight faculty members, six from Divisions III (Natural Sciences) and IV (Engineering) and one each from Divisions I (Humanities) and II (Social Sciences). The members are appointed by the Dean of the Faculty to three-year terms. The chair is named by the President Tom among the members of the Council.

J. Advisory Councils

1. Acting concurrently with the Alumni Council, the Faculty authorized, and the Trustees approved, in 1941, the creation of Advisory Councils for the several departments and other academic divisions of the University designated for this purpose by the President.

2. The Members of these councils are appointed by the Board of Trustees on nomination of the department or academic division concerned, in consultation with the Dean of the Faculty.

3. The number of members of each council shall be determined by the individual department or division, but shall not exceed 20. Of these members approximately one quarter shall be appointed each year to serve for a term of four years.

4. The members of the several councils shall be persons interested in the field of the department or division concerned. The group appointed each year to each council shall include at least one Princeton alumnus/a (except that only one Princeton alumnus/a need be included if the council has only four members).

5. Meetings of any advisory council with the department or division concerned for the purpose of consultation and conference shall be held at such times as may be mutually agreed upon and normally either annually or biennially.

6. Each advisory council shall from time to time, but in no case less frequently than once every three years, make a report in writing addressed to the department or division concerned for transmission through the Dean of the Faculty to the President of the University. Each advisory council shall also, on request by the President, the Dean of the Faculty, the department or division, or on its own initiative, submit a confidential report to the Dean of the Faculty and the President.

7. Trustees are appointed associate members of the advisory council, ordinarily for four-year terms and not as chairs. Associate members receive all reports and take an active part in the work of the council.

8. The Dean of the Faculty has administrative oversight of the Advisory Councils. The Dean of the Faculty shall consult with the chair of each advisory council from time to time.