Princeton University guarantees full financial support for the first five years of graduate study contingent upon satisfactory academic performance and completion of assigned duties in a satisfactory manner. Students are supported from three sources, in roughly equal numbers: fellowships (either from outside sources or University or departmental funds), Assistantships in Research (AR) in both theory and experiment, and Assistantships in Instruction (AI).
The annual stipend amount provided to Ph.D. candidates during their regular enrollment is intended to support a single graduate student based on estimated costs.
Both ARs and AIs provide a stipend to the student and all tuition.
All incoming first year students are fully supported by the Graduate School which covers tuition, stipend and fees. Incoming students who are awarded an external fellowship are required to accept and utilize the award in the first year the fellowship is available, an exception to this is the NSFGRFP fellowship. These fellowship dollars can help reduce the student’s teaching responsibilities and release department research funds to help support other students. The Graduate School awards a benefit to students who receive a qualifying external fellowship each year they receive the fellowship. The Graduate School and the Physics Department offer competitive fellowships that provide funding support for students in their later years of study.
The university also supports family focused initiatives specifically for graduate students with children, including paid parental leave for both biological and adoptive new parents, and support for childcare costs.
Once students are fully involved in their thesis research, they are supported as ARs in the research groups of their thesis advisors. The work done for the AR is the student's thesis work itself. There is no summer academic session at Princeton, but the research program continues vigorously year-round. For most students, summer support is available. Some students use the summer months to study at an advanced summer school in the U.S. or abroad. When judged to be valuable for the student by his or her advisor, a departmental travel fund is available for such summer schools or for students to attend professional meetings or conferences.