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Princeton University

Princeton University is an American private Ivy League research university located in Princeton, New Jersey, United States.

It is one of the eight universities of the Ivy League, and one of the nine Colonial Colleges founded before the American Revolution. Princeton provides undergraduate and graduate instruction in the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences and engineering.Princeton does not have schools of medicine, law, divinity, or business, but it does offer professional degrees through the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, the Princeton University School of Engineering and Applied Science and the School of Architecture.

Founded in 1746 in Elizabeth, New Jersey, as the College of New Jersey, the university moved to Newark in 1747, then to Princeton in 1756 and was renamed Princeton University in 1896.The present-day College of New Jersey in nearby Ewing Township, New Jersey, is an unrelated institution. Princeton was the fourth chartered institution of higher education in the American colonies.Princeton had close ties to the Presbyterian Church, but has never been affiliated with any denomination and today imposes no religious requirements on its students.

The university has ties with the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton Theological Seminary, and the Westminster Choir College of Rider University.Princeton has been associated with 35 Nobel Laureates, 17 National Medal of Science winners, and three National Humanities Medal winners. On a per-student basis, Princeton has the largest university endowment in the world.


Undergraduates fulfill general education requirements, choose among a wide variety of elective courses, and pursue departmental concentrations and interdisciplinary certificate programs. Required independent work is a hallmark of undergraduate education at Princeton. Students graduate with either the Bachelor of Arts (A.B.) or the Bachelor of Science in engineering (B.S.E.).

The graduate school offers advanced degrees spanning the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and engineering. Doctoral education is available in all disciplines.It emphasizes original and independent scholarship whereas master's degree programs in architecture, engineering, finance, and public affairs and public policy prepare candidates for careers in public life and professional practice.


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 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.

Undergraduates agree to adhere to an academic integrity policy called the Honor Code, established in 1893. Under the Honor Code, faculty do not proctor examinations; instead, the students proctor one another and must report any suspected violation to an Honor Committee made up of undergraduates. The Committee investigates reported violations and holds a hearing if it is warranted. An acquittal at such a hearing results in the destruction of all records of the hearing; a conviction results in the student's suspension or expulsion.The signed pledge required by the Honor Code is so integral to students' academic experience that the Princeton Triangle Club performs a song about it each fall.Out-of-class exercises fall under the jurisdiction of the Faculty-Student Committee on Discipline.Undergraduates are expected to sign a pledge on their written work affirming that they have not plagiarized the work.

Admissions and financial aid

Princeton's undergraduate program is highly selective, admitting 7.86% of undergraduate applicants in the 2011–12 admissions cycle (for the Class of 2016).In September 2006, the university announced that all applicants for the Class of 2012 would be considered in a single pool. In this way, the early decision program was effectively ended.In February 2011, following decisions by the University of Virginia and Harvard University to reinstate their early admissions programs, Princeton announced it would institute an early action program, starting with applicants for the Class of 2016.In 2011, the Business Journal rated Princeton as the most selective college in the Eastern United States in terms of admission selectivity.

In 2001, expanding on earlier reforms, Princeton became the first university to eliminate loans for all students who qualify for financial aid.All demonstrated need is met with combinations of grants and campus jobs. In addition, all admissions are need-blind.U.S. News & World Report and Princeton Review both cite Princeton as the university that has the fewest of graduates with debt even though 60% of incoming students are on some type of financial aid.Kiplinger magazine ranks Princeton as the best value among private universities, noting that the average graduating debt is US$4,957, "about one fifth the average debt of students who borrow at all private schools."

Grade deflation policy

In 2004, Nancy Weiss Malkiel, the Dean of the College, implemented a grade deflation policy to curb the number of A-range grades undergraduates received.Malkiel's argument was that an A was beginning to lose its meaning as a larger percentage of the student body received them.While the number of A's has indeed decreased under the policy, many argue that this is hurting Princeton students when they apply to jobs or graduate school.Malkiel has said that she sent pamphlets to inform institutions about the policy so that they consider Princeton students equally,but students argue that Princeton graduates can apply to other institutions that know nothing about it. They argue further that as other schools purposefully inflate their grades,Princeton students' GPAs will look low by comparison. Further, studies have shown that employers prefer high grades even when they are inflated.The policy remained in place even after Malkiel steped down at the end of the 2010–2011 school year. The policy deflates grades only relative to their previous levels; indeed, as of 2009, or five years after the policy was instituted, the average graduating GPA saw a marginal decrease, from 3.46 to 3.39.


Fine Hall, the home of the Department of Mathematics. It is the tallest building on campus, although its height above sea level is not higher than the University Chapel, significantly uphill from Fine.

The main campus sits on about 500 acres (2.0 km2) split between two municipalities, the Borough of Princeton and Princeton Township. The James Forrestal Campus is split between nearby Plainsboro and South Brunswick. The University also owns some property in West Windsor Township.The campuses are situated about one hour from both New York City and Philadelphia.

The first building on campus was Nassau Hall, completed in 1756, and situated on the northern edge of campus facing Nassau Street.The campus expanded steadily around Nassau Hall during the early and middle 19th century.The McCosh presidency (1868–88) saw the construction of a number of buildings in the High Victorian Gothic and Romanesque Revival styles; many of them are now gone, leaving the remaining few to appear out of place.At the end of the 19th century Princeton adopted the Collegiate Gothic style for which it is known today.Implemented initially by William Appleton Potter and later enforced by the University's supervising architect, Ralph Adams Cram,the Collegiate Gothic style remained the standard for all new building on the Princeton campus through 1960.A flurry of construction in the 1960s produced a number of new buildings on the south side of the main campus, many of which have been poorly received.Several prominent architects have contributed some more recent additions, including Frank Gehry (Lewis Library),I.M. Pei (Spelman Halls),Demetri Porphyrios (Whitman College, a Collegiate Gothic project),Robert Venturi (Frist Campus Center, among several others),and Rafael Viñoly (Carl Icahn Laboratory).

A group of 20th-century sculptures scattered throughout the campus forms the Putnam Collection of Sculpture. It includes works by Alexander Calder (Five Disks: One Empty), Jacob Epstein (Albert Einstein), Henry Moore (Oval With Points), Isamu Noguchi (White Sun), and Pablo Picasso (Head of a Woman).[35] Richard Serra's The Hedgehog and The Fox is located between Peyton and Fine halls next to Princeton Stadium and the Lewis Library.

At the southern edge of the campus is Lake Carnegie, a man-made lake named for Andrew Carnegie. Carnegie financed the lake's construction in 1906 at the behest of a friend who was a Princeton alumnus.Carnegie hoped the opportunity to take up rowing would inspire Princeton students to forsake football, which he considered "not gentlemanly."The Shea Rowing Center on the lake's shore continues to serve as the headquarters for Princeton rowing.

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