Princeton University

Princeton University is a private Ivy League research university in Princeton, New Jersey. Founded in 1746 in Elizabeth as the College of New Jersey, Princeton is the fourth-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and one of the nine colonial colleges chartered before the American Revolution. The institution moved to Newark in 1747, then to the current site nine years later, and renamed itself Princeton University in 1896.

Princeton provides undergraduate and graduate instruction in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and engineering. It offers professional degrees through the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, the School of Engineering and Applied Science, the School of Architecture and the Bendheim Center for Finance. The university has ties with the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton Theological Seminary and the Westminster Choir College of Rider University.

Princeton has the largest endowment per student in the United States. From 2001 to 2018, Princeton University was ranked either first or second among national universities by U.S. News & World Report, holding the top spot for 16 of those 18 years.


Princeton University

Undergraduate courses in the humanities are traditionally either seminars or lectures held 2 or 3 times a week with an additional discussion seminar that is called a “precept.” To graduate, all A.B. candidates must complete a senior thesis and, in most departments, one or two extensive pieces of independent research that are known as “junior papers.” Juniors in some departments, including architecture and the creative arts, complete independent projects that differ from written research papers.

A.B. candidates must also fulfill a three or four semester foreign language requirement and distribution requirements (which include, for example, classes in ethics, literature and the arts, and historical analysis) with a total of 31 classes. B.S.E. candidates follow a parallel track with an emphasis on a rigorous science and math curriculum, a computer science requirement, and at least two semesters of independent research including an optional senior thesis.

All B.S.E. students must complete at least 36 classes. A.B. candidates typically have more freedom in course selection than B.S.E. candidates because of the fewer number of required classes. Nonetheless, in the spirit of a liberal arts education, both enjoy a comparatively high degree of latitude in creating a self-structured curriculum.


The Graduate School has about 2,600 students in 42 academic departments and programs in social sciences, engineering, natural sciences, and humanities. These departments include the Department of Psychology, Department of History, and Department of Economics.

In 2017-18, it received nearly 11,000 applications for admission and accepted around 1,000 applicants. The University also awarded 319 Ph.D. degrees and 170 final master’s degrees. Princeton has no medical school, law school, business school, or school of education.

(A short-lived Princeton Law School folded in 1852.) It offers professional graduate degrees in architecture, engineering, finance, and public policy, the last through the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, founded in 1930 as the School of Public and International Affairs and renamed in 1948 after university president (and U.S. President) Woodrow Wilson.

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