Academic Standing, Leaves of Absence, and Reinstatement

The Faculty Committee on Examinations and Standing reviews the academic records of all students at the end of each term. A student is considered to be making satisfactory progress if the program of study for the degree of bachelor of arts or the program of study for the degree of bachelor of science in engineering has been followed and if the student is eligible to continue in the University. A student making satisfactory progress will advance subject to the following qualifications:

1. A student who has not successfully completed the writing requirement by the end of the fall term of sophomore year will be placed on a special form of academic probation called writing probation (see below). If such a student fails to complete the writing seminar in the spring of sophomore year, the student will be required to withdraw from the University and must apply to repeat the spring term of sophomore year. Failure to complete the requirement in the repeated term will result in a second, and final, academic required withdrawal.

2. A candidate for the A.B. degree who has not completed the foreign language requirement by the end of junior year may be required to withdraw from the University. If permitted to remain in school, the student must present a plan for completion of the requirement in senior year.

3. A student who is absent from the University or unable to attend classes for a substantial period of time, as determined by the Office of the Dean of the College, must take a leave of absence from the University and apply for reinstatement to repeat the term.

4. A student must have successfully completed all of the degree requirements by the end of the spring term of senior year to be eligible to graduate.

Advanced Standing

Eligibility for advanced standing depends upon the number and the subject areas of the advanced placement units presented by the student. An advanced placement unit is the equivalent of one Princeton course, except in foreign language, where the maximum number of advanced placement units is two, regardless of the number of Princeton courses that are replaced. Students may apply for advanced standing under the following conditions:

a) Candidates for the A.B. degree who have eight advanced placement units (equivalent to eight Princeton courses) will be eligible to apply for one year of advanced standing. These eight units must be distributed in at least three subject areas. (Subject areas are defined as foreign languages; historical analysis; literature and the arts; quantitative reasoning; science and technology; social analysis.)

b) Candidates for the A.B. degree who have four advanced placement units (equivalent to four Princeton courses) in at least two subject areas will be eligible to apply for one term of advanced standing.

c) Candidates for the B.S.E. degree who have eight advanced placement units, among them two in physics, two in mathematics, and one in chemistry, will be eligible for a full year of advanced standing.

d) Candidates for the B.S.E. degree who have four advanced placement units, including two in physics, one in mathematics, and one in chemistry, will be eligible for one term of advanced standing.

Students who have been granted sufficient advanced placement to qualify for advanced standing may apply to the Faculty Committee on Examinations and Standing for graduation in either three years or with three and one-half years of study. Students must submit applications for a year of advanced standing no later than the beginning of spring term of the freshman year and must use the advanced standing prior to the start of the junior year.

Students eligible for one year of advanced standing may apply to become second-semester sophomores in the spring of their first year of residence, or first-term juniors in the fall of their second year of residence. The Faculty Committee on Examinations and Standing will review the academic records of all applicants to determine the appropriateness of graduating in three years and to verify that the minimum grade requirement established by the committee has been met. The committee may rescind advanced standing if, in its judgment, the student has not made satisfactory academic progress. Students who apply for one year of advanced standing normally will have completed the writing requirement, the foreign language requirement, and all prerequisites for concentration in a department before the start of their second year of residence.

Students eligible for one term of advanced standing may apply to spend one term of their sophomore year away from the University. The Faculty Committee on Examinations and Standing will review the academic records of all applicants to determine the appropriateness of completing the degree requirements in three and one-half years of residence and to verify that the minimum grade requirement established by the committee has been met. Freshmen who expect to be away in the fall term of the sophomore year should meet with their residential college dean or director of studies by April 1 to discuss their plans; those who expect to be away in the spring of the sophomore year should discuss their plans with their residential college dean or director of studies by December 1 of the sophomore year.

Transfer Students

Transfer students will normally be expected to enter as A.B. sophomores or B.S.E. freshmen, though occasional exceptions may be made.   Students admitted as freshmen will transfer no credit, sophomores will transfer 9 course units of credit, and juniors will transfer 17 course units of credit. All transfer students will matriculate in the Fall term, and will be held to the same residency requirement as other Princeton undergraduates; i.e. freshmen and sophomores will live and dine within the residential college system.

Transfer students are expected to meet the same degree requirements as other undergraduates. For example, A.B. students must complete a minimum of 31 course credits and two years of departmental independent work. For other important degree requirements, please consult the “Program of Study” sections of the Undergraduate Announcement. Depending on their intended course of study, transfer students may be required to take placement tests to determine where they best fit into a department’s curriculum.

Course Deficiencies

A student who is making normal academic progress and who has not taken any extra courses incurs a course deficiency by failing a course, by dropping below the normal course load, by repeating a course in which the student previously had earned a passing grade, or by failing to take the second course in an introductory-level foreign language sequence.

Course deficiencies may result in academic required withdrawal, failure to qualify for graduation, or inability to progress to the next year of study.

A student may remove a course deficiency either by taking an extra Princeton course in a subsequent semester or by successfully completing a pre-approved course at another school.

Advanced placement or college-level work completed prior to entering Princeton cannot be used to make up a course deficiency.

Failed Courses

A failed course does not count toward the number of courses needed for graduation or advancement with one's class, nor can it be used to satisfy any of the University requirements.

A failed course may result in a course deficiency if the student does not have an extra course to offset the failure. A course deficiency must be made up by taking an extra Princeton course in a subsequent term or by successfully completing a pre-approved course at another school.

While the grade of F in a course normally does not mean that the particular course must be repeated, there are several instances in which a failed course must be retaken and successfully completed. This is the case for a foreign language course taken to complete the language requirement; for the courses in mathematics, physics, chemistry, and computer programming that are part of the B.S.E. degree requirements; for specific courses needed as prerequisites to enter a department or program; and for any course the successful completion of which is required of the concentrators in a given department. If a student chooses or is required to repeat a failed course, the failing grade remains on the transcript.

Failing grades may result in academic required withdrawal, failure to qualify for graduation, academic probation, or academic warning.

Minimum Progress Required for Advancement

Any student who, by the start of the fall term, has not completed the minimum number of courses required for advancement must withdraw   from the University and either successfully complete a sufficient number of pre-approved courses at another four-year college or university or, when mandated by the Faculty Committee on Examinations and Standing, repeat a semester at Princeton.

A.B. Program. In order to advance to sophomore year, all A.B. students must have successfully completed a minimum of seven courses. Sixteen courses are required to achieve junior standing, while 24 courses are required to begin senior year.

B.S.E. Program. A freshman may, with special permission, enroll in a minimum of seven courses during the academic year. However, in such a case, the student must, through a combination of Princeton courses and pre-approved summer school courses, successfully complete a minimum of eight courses to begin sophomore year. Seventeen courses are required to begin junior year, and 26 are required to begin senior year. A student who has not completed the stated minimum number of courses required for advancement will not be permitted to remain in the B.S.E. program and may be required to leave school.

 Academic Probation and Academic Warning  

The Faculty Committee on Examinations and Standing reviews the records of all students at the end of each term and, when appropriate, places students on academic probation or issues letters of academic warning.

1. Those students whose records indicate either poor overall standing or poor departmental performance (although not sufficiently weak to require withdrawal) are placed on academic probation. Eligibility for intercollegiate athletic participation may be withheld for a student on academic probation.

2. A student will be placed on writing probation at the end of the third term of enrollment for failure to complete the writing requirement regardless of overall performance, and may be placed on writing probation in addition to academic probation for poor overall standing. A student on writing probation who fails to complete the writing requirement by the end of sophomore year will be required to withdraw from the University.

3. The committee reviews the records of all students on academic probation at the end of the following term and reports its judgment to those students. A student whose record does not improve substantially while on academic probation may be required to withdraw . A single failing grade or a record with two or more Ds while on academic probation will normally result in academic required withdrawal.

4. Letters of academic warning are issued to students whose records for the preceding term, while not warranting academic probation, indicate weak academic performance. Academic warning letters are intended to alert students to the need for improvement and to suggest ways in which performance might be improved.

5. Additionally, letters may be sent during the term to students who are reported to be absent without excuse from portions of a course, or who are performing below expectations in any aspect of a course.

Academic Required Withdrawal

1. A student ordinarily will be required by the Faculty Committee on Examinations and Standing to withdraw from the University at the end of a term or year on the basis of the following provisions:

a) A freshman who receives the grade of F in three or more courses or incurs three deficiencies in one term or incurs a total of four deficiencies during the year.

b) A student who receives a grade of F in two or more courses in any term of sophomore, junior, or senior year; or the grade of F in three consecutive terms in sophomore, junior, and senior years; or the grade of F in a total of four or more courses in sophomore, junior, and senior years.

c) A student who has been placed on academic probation (see above) and whose record fails to improve substantially during the term.

d) A student on writing probation during the spring of sophomore year who, regardless of performance in other courses, fails to complete the writing requirement.

e) A student who, prior to the start of any given academic year, has not successfully completed the minimum number of courses needed for advancement.

2. Students may be required to withdraw at the end of a term if they receive a grade of F in one or more courses and the grade of F in independent work for the term. A student whose overall departmental performance has been only marginal ordinarily will be required to withdraw if withdrawal is recommended by the department.

3. A student who has been required to withdraw is normally required by the Faculty Committee on Examinations and Standing to apply for readmission   to repeat the unsuccessful term at Princeton. All grades received during the failed term will be recorded on the Princeton transcript.

4. Readmission  to Princeton is never guaranteed to a student who has been required to withdraw, but the Faculty Committee on Examinations and Standing will normally grant a second opportunity after a student has demonstrated readiness to resume academic work. Specific requirements may be established by the committee.

5. A student who has left the University twice for academic reasons should not expect a third opportunity to qualify for a degree.

Failure to Qualify for Graduation

A senior will be considered to have failed to qualify for the bachelor's degree unless the senior has completed all of the stated requirements for graduation in the relevant degree program. Such a failure may result from the failure to complete the number of courses required for graduation, failure to satisfy all departmental and general education requirements, failure to meet the minimum departmental grade point average, failure to submit an acceptable senior thesis, any grade of Incomplete on the transcript, and, depending on departmental policy, failure to complete successfully the departmental examination.

A senior who fails to qualify for graduation may attend the Commencement ceremony with the graduating class. However, only the names of those students who have successfully completed all of the degree requirements will appear in the Commencement program. Diplomas will be issued only to those students who have completed all graduation requirements.

The Faculty Committee on Examinations and Standing will notify any student who has failed to qualify for the degree and indicate what must be done to satisfy any remaining degree requirements.

Rights of Rehearing and Appeals

A student concerning whom the Faculty Committee on Examinations and Standing has taken any action has the right to request a second consideration of the case by that committee in the light of any new evidence that can be submitted.

An action of the Faculty Committee on Examinations and Standing may be appealed on procedural grounds to the faculty. Review and final determination of an appeal is assigned to the Faculty Advisory Committee on Policy. A student who decides to appeal a decision with respect to academic standing must promptly notify the dean of the faculty in writing. A student may continue to attend classes and use other University facilities while a rehearing or appeal is being considered. However, during the appeal period the student is not considered to be a student in good standing.

Taking a Leave of Absence

Students may choose to take a leave of absence during their Princeton career. They may choose not to return after a successfully completed semester, or they may choose to take a leave during a semester in progress. If they choose to withdraw from a semester in progress before the end of the ninth week of classes, no courses will appear on their transcript. If they withdraw from a semester between the ninth week and dean’s date in that semester, they will receive the notation of W for courses on their transcript to reflect their late withdrawal from the semester. The deadline for withdrawing from a semester in progress is dean’s date. Any student wishing to take a leave of absence should consult with his or her residential college dean.

Typically, students take a leave for two consecutive terms because the sequential nature of Princeton’s course of study and the structure of independent work may make it difficult to resume a particular course of study after only one term away. Students who take a leave of absence remain eligible for financial aid after reinstatement. 

Reinstatement

Students on leave are eligible for reinstatement of their enrollment for a three-year period, and many students who take a leave will have no requirements attached to their reinstatement. In some cases the dean of the college or the dean of undergraduate students may establish specific requirements for reinstatement if the circumstances of the student’s departure warrant it. The goal of such conditions is to prepare the student for a successful return to the University; for example, a student may be asked to complete pre-approved coursework at an outside institution in order to demonstrate readiness to return to rigorous academic work or to participate in a reinstatement consultation with University Health Services to facilitate a successful return. If the leave is health-related, any conditions or requirements for reinstatement will be based on an individualized assessment of each student including consideration of current medical knowledge and/or the best available objective evidence. Careful consideration will be given to the opinions and recommendations of the student’s treating physician or mental health professional, if available.

Students eligible for reinstatement can expect to receive instructions for completing the online reinstatement forms from their residential college dean. The process begins in March for the fall term and in November for the spring term. 

Students on probation for disciplinary or academic reasons will resume their probationary status upon their return for the duration of the assigned probationary period.

Exceptional Circumstances

One-Term Leave of Absence

Students who have completed at least one year of study and have joined an academic department may petition to take a one-semester leave if they can demonstrate that returning out of the normal sequence would not unreasonably impact their regular progress to degree. The request for a one-semester leave and the plan for returning out of phase must be approved by the student’s residential college dean and academic department before being submitted to the Faculty Committee on Examinations and Standing for final approval.

Repeated or Extended Leaves of Absence

A student who has taken three leaves from the University, including any academic required withdrawal or mandatory leave of absence, or who has taken a leave of absence in excess of three years, may no longer be eligible for the regular reinstatement process. A student in these circumstances who wishes to return to Princeton should petition for readmission by the Faculty Committee on Examinations and Standing.  The more extensive process of a petition for readmission asks the student to document in some detail their readiness to return to Princeton’s rigorous academic environment, including, as appropriate, how the student’s situation has changed or developed, to support a successful return. 

Mandatory Leave of Absence

Princeton provides a range of support services to address the medical needs of students, including mental health needs, within the context of the campus community. On occasion, students may experience health needs requiring a level of care that exceeds what the University can appropriately provide. In such circumstances, students may take a voluntary leave of absence. In situations where a student is unable or unwilling to carry out substantial self-care obligations, where current medical knowledge and/or the best available objective evidence indicates that a student poses a significant risk to the health or safety of others, or where a student poses an actual risk to their own safety not based on mere speculation, stereotypes, or generalizations about individuals with disabilities, and the student does not want to take a leave voluntarily, the Dean of Undergraduate Students has the authority to place the student on a mandatory leave of absence. Before placing any student with a disability on a mandatory leave of absence, Princeton will do an individualized assessment to determine if there are reasonable accommodations that would permit the student to continue to participate in Princeton’s campus community without taking a leave of absence. Such decision may be appealed in writing to the Vice President of Campus Life.

Appealing denial of reinstatement

In the rare circumstance that a student’s request for reinstatement is denied on grounds of health or safety, the decision may be appealed in writing to the Vice President of Campus Life. If the denial is based on academic grounds, the decision may be appealed in writing to the Dean of the College.  

Requests for Reasonable Accommodation

The University is committed to providing students with disabilities equal access to the educational opportunities and programs available at Princeton. Princeton’s Policy on Disability and Accessibility is implemented in the context of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 as amended, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504), and the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, which prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability.  The term "disability" may include learning, physical, sensory, psychological, medical, and certain temporary disabilities.   The University provides students with reasonable accommodations in accordance with the ADA/Section 504 and applicable state law. Students with disabilities may request academic accommodations; housing and dining accommodations; modifications to University policies, rules, and regulations; environmental adjustments such as the removal of architectural, communication, or transportation barriers; and auxiliary aids and services. Additional policies and procedures regarding accommodations can be found on the Inclusive Princeton and Office of Disability Services (ODS) websites.

Students should submit all accommodation requests to the Office of Disability Services (ODS). Students requesting accommodations should review the guidance provided by ODS on requirements for documentation, but generally must submit documentation that clearly demonstrates that (1) the student has a physical or mental impairment, and (2) the impairment prevents the normal exercise of any bodily or mental functions (or can be shown to exist through accepted clinical or laboratory diagnostic tests), as compared to most people in the general population. A diagnosis of a disorder, or submission of an evaluation, does not automatically qualify an individual for accommodations. Appropriate documentation must be provided by a qualified professional, meet currency requirements, include diagnosis information as well as information about the functional limitations caused by the impairment, and support the request of specific accommodations. In some cases, the ODS evaluation may include review of documentation by an outside consultant engaged by Princeton. Accommodations are determined through an interactive process that includes an intake interview. Students with disabilities may, with the support of ODS, petition the Faculty Committee on Examinations and Standing for a modification of academic regulations.