The preliminary FPO is designed to be a talk given a minimum of six months before your anticipated FPO date. It covers results to date and planned research, and serves as a preliminary critique of the proposed dissertation. Under the old system, by the time of the FPO it was too late to give much meaningful feedback. The faculty believe that the more feedback given, the better the final dissertation will be.
Six months before your anticipated FPO date (or with the permission of the Director of Graduate Studies at another time), you will do the following:
All outside committee members (any non-Princeton faculty) must be pre-approved by the Graduate School. Normally outside members are only approved as readers. Outside members must be Assistant Professor or higher, or of equivalent rank in industry. Send their c.v. to the Graduate Coordinator with a 2-3 sentence explanation of why this person should be on your committee, and it will be submitted for approval. You will be notified once the outside member is approved.
The talk will be open to the public. Following the talk, the committee members and the student will meet privately. At that time the student will be asked questions and given feedback regarding both the talk and the future planned research. No formal grade will be given.
Only in exceptional circumstances and only with the permission of the DGS may the final FPO committee (readers and non-readers) include a faculty member not present at the preliminary talk.