Admission Requirements for Graduate Programs at Princeton University

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Admissions to graduate programs at Princeton University are highly competitive, and the application process varies depending on the specific program and department. Here are some general guidelines regarding the admissions process for graduate programs at Princeton:

  • Researching Programs: Before applying, it is crucial to thoroughly research the graduate programs you are interested in at Princeton University. Visit the official website of the specific department or program to gather detailed information about their curriculum, faculty, research opportunities, and any specific requirements or prerequisites.
  • Application Submission: Most graduate programs at Princeton require applicants to submit an online application through the Princeton University Graduate School's application portal. The application portal provides instructions and guidance for completing the application process.
  • Statement of Purpose: The statement of purpose is an essential component of the application. It should be a well-crafted essay that outlines your academic and research background, career goals, and reasons for applying to the specific program at Princeton. Be sure to clearly articulate your research interests, previous research experiences, and how Princeton's program aligns with your academic and career aspirations.
  • Letters of Recommendation: Applicants typically need to provide letters of recommendation from individuals who can speak to their academic abilities, research potential, and suitability for the program. It is important to choose recommenders who know you well and can provide strong support for your application. Most programs require three letters of recommendation, but the specific number may vary.
  • Academic Transcripts: You will need to submit official transcripts from all colleges or universities you have attended. Transcripts should be sent directly to the Princeton University Graduate School from the issuing institution.
  • Standardized Test Scores: While some programs require applicants to submit scores from standardized tests such as the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) or GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test), others may not. Check the specific program's website or contact the department to determine whether these tests are required. If required, arrange to take the exam well in advance of the application deadline.
  • Application Fee: There is an application fee associated with applying to graduate programs at Princeton. Fee waivers may be available for applicants who demonstrate financial need. Check the Graduate School's website for details on the application fee and the possibility of obtaining a waiver.
  • Application Deadlines: Each program sets its application deadlines, which can vary. It is crucial to carefully note the specific deadlines for the programs you are interested in. Missing the deadline may result in your application not being considered.
  • Interview (if applicable): Some programs may require or offer optional interviews as part of the admissions process. If you are selected for an interview, it provides an opportunity for you to discuss your qualifications, research interests, and fit with the program. Prepare for the interview by researching the program and be ready to articulate your goals and experiences effectively.

What are the typical GRE/GMAT/LSAT scores expected for admission to Princeton's Graduate programs?

According to US News, the quant GRE average score is 163 and the verbal average on the GRE for Princeton is 161

To be able to get a successful admission to Princeton University students need to complete GMAT with a minimum score of 556.

The only graduate programs that require GRE scores at Princeton University are PHD in Politics, PHD in Population Studies, Master in Public Affairs (M.P.A.), and PHD in Economics.

Are there No GRE, No GMAT masters programs at Princeton?

Fourteen Princeton University departments will no longer require the GRE test for graduate admission. Princeton is among other universities across the country that have eliminated the standardized test requirement for graduate study. 

The following academic departments will not require a GRE test, making it optional for graduate applicants.  

  • Art and Archaeology
  • Classics
  • Comparative Literature
  • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  • English
  • French and Italian
  • Geosciences
  • Molecular Biology
  • Music Composition 
  • Neuroscience
  • Psychology
  • Religion
  • Slavic Languages and Literatures
  • Spanish and Portuguese 

How does a lower GPA impact the likelihood of acceptance into Princeton's Master's programs?

Princeton University is known for its highly competitive admissions process, and a low GPA can be a significant challenge when applying to their master's programs. While there is no specific threshold for what is considered a "low" GPA, it is generally expected that applicants to Princeton have demonstrated outstanding academic achievement.

A low GPA may make it more difficult to stand out among other highly qualified applicants who have excelled academically. However, it's important to note that the admissions process at Princeton takes a holistic approach, considering various factors such as recommendation letters, statement of purpose, standardized test scores (if required), research experience, and other achievements. If you have a low GPA, there are several steps you can take to strengthen your application:

  • Highlight other strengths: Emphasize your research experience, relevant coursework, internships, and extracurricular activities that demonstrate your skills, dedication, and potential in the field.
  • Address the issue: If there were extenuating circumstances that affected your GPA, you can explain them in your application. Be honest and provide context, but avoid making excuses.
  • Strong letters of recommendation: Obtain strong letters of recommendation from professors, employers, or professionals who can speak to your abilities and potential.
  • Impressive standardized test scores (if required): Achieving a high score on standardized tests like the GRE or GMAT can compensate for a lower GPA.
  • Improve other aspects of your application: Craft a compelling statement of purpose that showcases your passion, goals, and fit with Princeton's program. Pay attention to the quality of your writing and ensure your application materials are well-polished.

While a low GPA can present a challenge, it's not an insurmountable obstacle. Demonstrating potential, dedication, and fit with the program, students can enhance their chances of admission to Princeton University's master's programs.

How difficult is it for an International student to get admission to Princeton?

Princeton University, like many other highly selective institutions, has a competitive admissions process for international students. The difficulty of admission can vary depending on several factors, including the strength of the applicant pool, the program or department applied to, and the available spots for international students. Here are some factors to consider regarding the difficulty of admission for international students:

  • Selectivity: Princeton University is known for its highly competitive admissions process, with a low acceptance rate. The university receives a large number of applications from highly qualified international students, and the competition for admission is fierce.
  • Academic Excellence: Princeton seeks students who have demonstrated exceptional academic achievements and intellectual curiosity. International applicants are typically expected to have a strong academic record, including excellent grades, rigorous coursework, and standardized test scores (such as the SAT or ACT).
  • English Language Proficiency: Proficiency in English is essential for success at Princeton. International applicants are typically required to submit English language proficiency test scores, such as the TOEFL or IELTS unless they have completed a degree in an English-speaking institution. Demonstrating strong English language skills is crucial for effective communication and academic success.
  • Financial Considerations: International students should be prepared to meet the financial obligations associated with studying at Princeton. The university is committed to meeting the full demonstrated financial need of admitted students, including international students. However, it is important to understand the financial aid policies and the availability of scholarships or grants for international students.
  • Unique Perspectives: Princeton, like many universities, values a diverse student body and seeks applicants who can contribute unique perspectives and experiences to the campus community. Highlighting your cultural background, achievements, and personal experiences in your application can enhance your chances of admission.

It is important to note that while admission to Princeton is competitive, the university employs a holistic admissions process, considering not only academic achievements but also factors such as extracurricular activities, essays, letters of recommendation, and personal qualities.

Do Princeton's Master's and joint-degree programs involve an interview process?

The interview process for Princeton University's master's or joint-degree programs can vary depending on the specific department or program. While some programs may require or strongly encourage interviews as part of the application process, others may not conduct formal interviews at all.

Here are some points to consider regarding interviews for Princeton master's or joint-degree programs:

  • Department or Program-Specific: The decision to conduct interviews is determined by individual departments or programs. Some departments may see interviews as valuable for assessing an applicant's fit, potential, or research interests, while others may rely more heavily on application materials such as essays, recommendations, and academic records.
  • Invitation-Based: If interviews are part of the admissions process, they are typically conducted on an invitation-only basis. The department or program will reach out to selected applicants to schedule an interview. Not all applicants will be invited for an interview.
  • Interview Formats: The interview format can vary. It could be an in-person interview, a phone or video interview, or even an informal meeting with faculty members, current students, or alumni. The purpose of the interview is typically to assess the applicant's academic readiness, research interests, fit with the program, and potential for contributing to the department's intellectual community.
  • Preparation: If you receive an invitation for an interview, it is advisable to prepare thoroughly. Familiarize yourself with the program's curriculum, faculty, and research areas of interest. Be ready to discuss your academic background, research experiences, career goals, and how you believe the program can help you achieve them. It is also beneficial to have thoughtful questions to ask the interviewers.
  • Not All Programs Conduct Interviews: It is important to note that not all Princeton master's or joint-degree programs conduct interviews. Some programs rely solely on the application materials provided, including essays, recommendations, and academic records, to make their admissions decisions.

Lets explore the admission requirements for various graduate programs at Princeton University that do not require GRE scores.

Master's in finance: GRE not required.

Admission Requirements for master's in finance:

  •  Academic transcripts, including math courses taken.
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • A personal statement.
  • Resume
  • GRE or GMAT test scores are accepted, but not required. 

Master in Public Policy

Application Deadline is December 1.

Application Fee of $75 is required.

1. Princeton University Graduate Application

2. Personal Statement: The personal statement should explain the applicant’s commitment to a career in public service, showcase strengths, and provide an overview of background, goals, and academic and professional aspirations, and how a SPIA graduate degree can help you accomplish them.

3. Supplemental Essay

4. Certificate Statement: Applicants who plan to pursue a certificate should submit an additional statement explaining the rationale for enrolling in a certificate program.

5. Résumé or Curriculum Vitae: List employment activities, community service, education, and academic and professional honors. Include a brief annotation of job responsibilities, leadership, and awards. The résumé should be presented in sufficient detail so that the admissions committee has an accurate picture of the applicant’s professional trajectory — such as promotions or job progression, leadership profile, and impact.

6. Transcripts: There is no prescribed undergraduate major for the MPP degree. The admissions committee evaluates all undergraduate and graduate transcripts. Transcripts can be unofficial.

7. GPA: The grade point average from each degree-granting education program must be provided.

8. Academic and Professional Recommendations: As a general rule, recommendations should include one professional, one academic, and one from someone able to comment on the applicant’s commitment to public service.

9. Statement of Financial Resources: Financial aid is need-blind and does not consider an applicant's financial resources, in conjunction with any external scholarships offered by partnerships with government agencies or other fellowships. Any dependents who will accompany the applicant while in residence should be noted.

10. TOEFL/IELTS: English language test scores are required for all nonnative English-speaking applicants unless they have studied a minimum of three years toward a bachelor’s degree or a Ph.D. in the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, or Anglophone Canada.

PHD in Economics

The department does not require anything over and above what the Graduate School requires for admission. During the online application process, applicants to the Economics Ph.D. program will be asked to supply a list of the most advanced courses taken in Math and Economics as well as the textbooks associated with those courses.

All applicants to the Economics Ph.D program are required to submit a current GRE score. If your scores are more than five years old, you must retake the test. When registering for the test, you must request that your scores be sent to Princeton University, Office of Graduate Admissions.

Applicants whose native language is not English or who have not received their undergraduate education in either a U.S. college or university or a university in another English-language speaking country must submit scores from one of two internationally recognized assessments of English language proficiency: The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

The final application deadline for all applicants is December 1. This deadline applies to the receipt of applications and all supporting material. Earlier applications are encouraged.


Admission requirements for the  Princeton University's Neuroscience Ph.D. program:

1. Statement of Academic Purpose.

2. Resume/Curriculum Vitae.

3. Recommendation Letters.

4. Applicants are required to upload a transcript including the key from all attended colleges or universities.

5. Fall Semester Grades.

6. Applicants whose native language is not English are required to demonstrate a level of oral proficiency in the English language.

7. GRE not required.

The application deadline for Neuroscience graduate program is November 25.

PHD in Physics - GRE Optional

The application components for the PHD in Physics program are:

  • Statement of Academic Purpose: The Statement of Academic Purpose is an opportunity to describe your past research experiences and future research interests. 
  • Curriculum Vitae: The curriculum Vitae (C.V.) is an opportunity to share your history of employment, activities, community service, education, academic or professional honors, and publications. 
  • Recommendation Letters: Three letters of recommendation are required. 
  • Transcripts: We require a transcript at the time of application from all colleges or universities that you have attended.
  • GRE General and Physics Subject Tests: The General GRE and Physics Subject exams will be optional.

English Master Program - GRE not required

Applicants are required to submit an online application, transcripts, letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, a writing sample, and a resume/CV.

The application deadline is usually in December or January for the following fall semester.