FAQs for Graduate Students

Incoming Students

Will I be required to be on campus in the fall?

No. Current university guidelines indicate that incoming students may participate remotely for the entirety of the fall semester but must be physically present on campus for the spring semester, beginning in January 2021. These guidelines may change in the coming months as university, state, and federal recommendations for responding to the Covid-19 pandemic evolve.

May I move to Princeton during the semester?

Yes. If you cannot be with us from August, we will gladly welcome your arrival thereafter, assuming it is safe for you and will not impact your families negatively.

May I defer my enrollment?

Yes, the Graduate School is allowing late deferral requests through August. Contact Kristy Novak (knovak@princeton.edu) for more information if you are considering deferring your enrollment.

For international students:

The Department of Homeland Security as of July 14 has rescinded their recent order to deny F1 visas to students enrolled in online-only degree courses. We are grateful for everyone’s work in preparation for the tremendous disruption this injustice would have caused to our educational mission, and are relieved that it is no longer in consideration.

"We welcome the federal government’s agreement to rescind its announcement of July 6 regarding international students enrolled at universities across the country, including Princeton. We recognize the anxiety and pain this has caused across our community, and we will remain vigilant for any further policy developments that might impact our international students, faculty, or staff. Princeton will continue to stand with and advocate for our international community, whose members are crucial to the mission and quality of this University and, indeed, to the vitality and creativity of our country." Read full statement by President Eisgruber on the rescinded ICE announcement.

G1, G2

How will seminars be taught?

It varies by class. All faculty have the option of delivering their classes in-person, virtually, or in a hybrid format with asynchronous elements. Please check with Kristy Novak (knovak@princeton.edu) or the instructor to find out the details about a specific course, understanding that any in-person courses may move to remote in view of the epidemiological situation and university and government regulations. If an enrolled student is unable to attend class physically, that seminar should normally revert to a fully virtual format. In the interests of planning, any student who suspects that they may be unable to attend -- whether on health grounds or inability to be in Princeton -- should advise their intended faculty now. Due to its size, HIS 500 will be fully virtual.

Research paper deadlines

Current advice from the graduate school is to plan for the regular rollout of course requirements and milestones. This entails that the 1st year research paper will fall due on June 15, while the 2nd year paper will be due prior to the commencement of the Generals Examinations in the week of April 26. These dates may well be subject to change in line with the course of the pandemic.

Language Exams

Fall language exams will be conducted online.

IUDC/Ivy+ enrollment

As with Borrow Direct services, these links are currently in abeyance. We will advise as soon as the exchange program is running again.


We fully expect faculty to return to their previous practices of letter grading and providing written feedback to the students and DGS alike.

Generals: timeline, splitting, flexibility

Given the expectation to operate on the new normal calendar, we will return to the practice of Generals examinations being taken in the Spring. That said, students will still be able to split examinations if they and their teachers feel it is appropriate, though any remaining exams would need to be undertaken during the October exam period in 2021. Again, this may prove subject to change as circumstances dictate.


Will I be required to teach/precept?


If I am teaching/precepting, will I be required to do so in person?

No. Instructors may decide whether to teach in person, fully virtually, or hybrid. Given that many archives remain closed and travel is difficult, the coming semester may well be an opportune time to obtain precepting skills.


My dissertation work has been slowed down by the pandemic. How do I know if I am eligible for additional DCE-time and funding?

Graduate students whose work has been substantially impaired by the pandemic are eligible for an additional DCE-semester of funding. History students may use their reenrollment form to describe the ways in which their work has been affected to see if they are eligible. History of Science students (who are G4 to G6 in 2020-21) may submit an application by December 1, 2020 as part of the “History of Science Pathways Track” (please email the History of Science DGS, Katja Guenther [kguenthe@princeton.edu] for details).


When might I take a leave of absence or enroll in absentia?

If you are not in Princeton due to COVID, you do not need to take a leave of absence. This is normally requested by students taking substantial time away for law studies or national service. If one is pursuing archival research in another country, then it is appropriate to enroll in absentia. There are no negative repercussions for doing so.

How do I let the department know about the Covid-19-related challenges or delays I am facing?

As always, you can inform Kristy and your DGS by way of an email at any time during the semester. There is no problem with duplicating information. As always, use the reenrollment form to update us as to your progress, or perceived difficulties. All such statements will be taken into account when we recommend your reenrollment, or an extension to your candidature.

Will the workshops and seminars organized through the Center for Collaborative History be active this year?

Yes, all workshops and seminars will be active during the 2020-2021 academic year but will be held online to allow for the maximum attendance and to accommodate those who are not in Princeton. Plans will be re-evaluated for the Spring semester should the Covid-19 crisis abate and larger in person gatherings without 6’ social distancing be allowed on campus.


Please submit any additional questions via this form.