What to Know

The Policies and Rules for Undergraduate Students have a simple-to-use website for students that can be viewed here.

There is also a quick and easy-to-download Everything to Know PDF that contains recent updates!

Graduation Procedures

At the start of the semester or session in which a student expects to satisfy University degree requirements, he/she should follow these graduation procedures. Graceful Exit provides help for students as they transition from undergraduate status through graduation and on to the next phase of their lives. This site offers modules on Leaving Penn State, Consumer Debt, and Budgets.

Graduates receive their diplomas by mail, at their diploma address, if any, or their permanent residence, at no cost, approximately four to six weeks following their commencement ceremonies.

Graduation with Distinction

Distinction at graduation will be awarded to the baccalaureate degree candidates according to the following criteria. Students must be in the top 12 percent of the baccalaureate degree candidates from any college, must have achieved at least a cumulative GPA of 3.50, and the GPA must be based on at least 60 credits at the University.

Distinction at graduation will be awarded to the associate degree candidates according to the following criteria. Students must be in the top 12 percent of the baccalaureate degree candidates from any college, must have achieved at least a GPA of 3.50, and the GPA must be based on at least 30 credits at the University.

The 12 percent will be divided into 2 percent “With Highest Distinction,” 4 percent “With High Distinction,” and 6 percent “With Distinction.”

Graduating with Honors

Members of the graduating class who filled the requirements under The Schreyer Honors College (Section 65-00) will have the completion of the honors program inscribed on their diplomas.

Academic Help

Students who are having trouble in their courses or are doing well but want to do better can find help in many places. They may contact the instructor and ask about best practices, review sessions, supplemental instruction, and other resources. They should discuss with their instructors note taking and study habits for the course and ask about taking tests and completing assignments more effectively.

  1. Learning Centers
  2. Note-taking skills
  3. Presentations – The Undergraduate Speaking Center (Hours: Sunday 6-9pm/ Monday-Thursday: 10am-3pm/Saturday: closed. Location: 7c Sparks building.)
  4. Research: The Library Learning Services
  5. Technology: Penn State tech tutors provide personalized training on Access, Photoshop, Excel, ANGEL, Powerpoint, Visio, Word, Acrobat, InDesign, sites at Penn State, Wikispaces, Prezi, and more, tech tutors offer face-to-face help.
  6. Writing : University libraries offer citation and writing guides to help students

Each course’s grading criteria must be outlined for you in the first 10 calendar days of the semester. Courses that you receive a “D” or “F” in can be repeated. The repeated course may not count more than once in graduation requirements. You may repeat a course that you receive a “C” or higher in with a consultation with your academic adviser. All repeat course grades are factored into GPA.

You may dispute any academic integrity sanctions and present your case to a college-specific academic integrity council.

A student who questions his/her grade should confer with the instructor of the course. If the instructor cannot be contacted, the student should go directly to the instructor’s department head for action. If a student has a disagreement about a grade that cannot be resolved with the instructor, the student may initiate grade mediation and adjudication.

Grade Point Average

Your grade point average is determined by multiplying the number of credits in a course by the grade-point equivalent of the grade in the course.   For Example, HIST 020 is worth three credits, a student receives a “B” which is equivalent to a 3.00 GPA.  Thus the student produced nine grade points.  However, if the student receives an “F”, equivalent to a 0.00 GPA, then the student receives zero grade points.  Any grades earned another university does not count toward calculating your GPA or grade-point deficiency. Your cumulative GPA is the weighted mean value of all grade points earned in enrollment or examinations of courses.  

A grade-point deficiency exists when the total grade points are less than total credits scheduled multiplied by two.  For example, at the end of the second semester, a student who has scheduled 36 credits has earned 66 grade points.  Multiply the credits scheduled (36) by 2 and it is 72; subtract by credits earned (66) and the student has a grade deficiency of 6.

Early Progress Reports

Provides a warning to first year students with unsatisfactory performance (below C level) in one or more courses. The student and his or her adviser will be notified by email.

You can check grades on after faculty members report grades to the Registrar’s office at the conclusion of a course. As grades are recorded, they become available to students through the Grades application on LionPATH. (LionPATH will fully replace eLion by December 2016.)

Dean’s List

Full-time students must complete 12 or more credits in a fall or spring semester with at least a 3.50 semester grade point average.


A transcript of a student’s academic record is a chronological report of the student’s academic work recorded at the University and a record of the student’s performance in Penn State courses. The Registrar’s office updates transcripts according to a timetable for the recording of grades and degree conferral.  

Unsatisfactory Scholarship

Unsatisfactory scholarship is defined as having a cumulative grade-point average below a 2.00 (C). Grade-point deficiencies reflect how far a student is from this average. The number of grade-point deficiencies a student has accrued determines whether or not he/she receives an academic warning or drop action.Sometimes advisers are asked to verify whether or not a student is in good academic standing on a student recommendation or application. According to the Registrar’s office, a student is considered to be in good standing if he/she has not been dropped for poor scholarship.


Professors must give you written notice of exam procedures in the first 10 days of the semester. No more than 10% of a semester’s grade may be assigned to you in the week before finals. If you have no final exam in a course, any whole semester integrative assignments must be due before the first day of final’s week.

Conflict occurs when you are scheduled for two or more exams in the same exam period. You may file for an overload conflict if three or more finals are scheduled in one day, or your finals are scheduled in three consecutive exam periods.

No more than four evening exams per course may be assigned. Evening exams must be announced to you by the first week of the semester. If you have more than one exam scheduled in any one evening, you may reschedule one as a conflict exam. Evening exams that conflict with any University Approved Activities can be rescheduled as long as documentation is provided.

A course may not have more than four evening exams in a semester


A written syllabus (paper or electronic) must be distributed to students in each course on or before the first class and remain available to students electronically until the end of the semester.If faculty need to modify the syllabus to respond to class needs, changes must be distributed to students in a timely manner through a tangible means of communication (e.g., a handout or electronic communication).Students are responsible for knowing the information provided on a syllabus. In essence, it is a contract between the instructor and the student.

Elements of a Syllabus

  1. Course content and expectations (e.g., class attendance)
  2. Required course materials
  3. Contact information for all course instructors
  4. Course policy on examinations
  5. Details on the Basis for Grades including a breakdown by assessment type and percentage
  6. Instructor’s course policy for academic integrity
  7. Information on procedures related to academic adjustments identified by Student Disability Resources
  8. Information on Counseling and Psychological Services

Acquisition of Credit

On average, a total of at least 40 hours of work planned and arranged by university faculty is required to gain one credit, in which about a third of a student’s time is to be spent in class while the remaining two thirds is to be spent during outside preparation. Formal classes are typically 12.5 hours per credit. Class attendance should be encouraged by instructors, with each such instructor using his or her judgment as to when the failing of a student on the basis of poor attendance is merited. Instructors should be reasonable regarding make-up opportunities for students but should deny students the opportunity to do so if advance notice is not provided in the event of unavoidable circumstances

A grade of “C” or higher must be earned in an examination for “credit by examination” to be awarded. “Credit by examination” is not allowable in place of any course previously completed, for which a quality letter grade has been assigned, or for credit awarded, or for credit earned through Advanced Placement (AP). Credit by examination does not result in a quality grade and is not included in the calculation of a student’s GPA.

Credit for courses completed at other institutions and graded the equivalent of an “A”-“C” at Penn State may be obtained through credit by validation when the admissions office is unable to determine the transferability of a course through other means. Credits may be transferred but grade points may not.

Credits may be accepted from post-secondary institutions that are accredited by any of the six regional accrediting commissions in the United States if:

  1. The coursework is substantially equivalent to that at Penn State
  2. The credits from other institutions, if not already in semester hours, are converted to semester hours of credit
  3. Institutions outside of the United States may also count toward credit transfers as long as they are accredited by one of the six U.S. accrediting commissions or is recognized in its country as such

The World Education Series is used as a guideline for providing international students with credit for college-level classes taken at secondary level.

Other Ways of obtaining credit:

  1. Credit through AP examinations

You can earn credit from secondary institutions by performing well on your grade earned for the AP Exam. Students and academic advisers can see a student’s AP test results.

Impact on Student’s Records – A student must complete a 3 credit class before receiving AP credit on the student’s transcript. If the student wants to remove AP credit from their transcript, they may. Once removed, those credits cannot be restored. Students may request removal of AP credits by contacting the Undergraduate Admissions Office: 201 Shields Building, University Park, 814-865-5471.

Tuition Assessment – Depending on when the AP credits are approved, a mid-semester tuition increase may result based on the student’s tuition assessment.

Advising Note – Although there isn’t an upper limit on the number of AP credits that can be applied toward a Penn State degree, there are some issues that should be considered when deciding which AP exams to take:

  1. Earning AP credit for foundation courses in place of a classroom experience sometimes compromises a student’s background knowledge.
  2. Some courses will not satisfy requirements for a degree and might not “count.” Therefore, care must be taken to evaluate how AP credits will relate to a student’s educational plans.

The University may make changes in policies, procedures, educational offerings, and requirements at any time. Please consult a Penn State academic adviser for more detailed information.

  1. The College Level Examination Program (CLEP) is supported by Penn State but with limitations (total number of credits awarded cannot exceed 60 under any circumstances)
  2. Credit through the submission of a portfolio is allowable under specific circumstances, with credit awarded in a manner equivalent to that of transfer credit. A currently enrolled student who can document college-level learning acquired in a non-collegiate setting (such as work or volunteer experience, a training program, or a hobby) may be able to petition for undergraduate credit through portfolio assessment. Not all academic units will consider these requests, so if you would like to consider this, contact the department from which you are seeking credit.
  3. Educational experiences in the armed forces is also allowable upon certification by the Department of Defense
  4. Credit by Study Abroad – Penn State students can choose from hundreds of international programs in more than forty-five countries around the world and earn Penn State credit while experiencing life in another country.

Entrance to College/Major

Typically students enter majors between their third and fifth semesters

Changes can be made at NSO, if people decide it is best for them

Changes after enrolling in a first semester/session can be made if a student meets the college or major entrance requirements, which can be found online.

To make a change a student should

  1. The student must satisfy the high school Carnegie unit requirements for the college
  2. The student must attain a minimum cumulative grade-point average (CGPA) of 2.00 (a C average) for all courses taken at the University
  3. The student typically have third-semester classification
  4. The student must meet Academic Entrance and Retention Requirements and the Administrative Enrollment Controls. (


Reinstatement is a procedure that allows former degree candidates who have been dropped for poor scholarship to resume degree candidacy after meeting the criteria for reinstatement either by enrolling as a nondegree-conditional student or through academic renewal.

Advising Policy

The college in which students reside is responsible for assigning a primary adviser to each student.

The Adviser’s Role

  1. Help you understand the University’s academic programs and reach academic goals
  2. Encourage students to follow University procedures, and know their purposes
  3. Discuss educational and career objectives
  4. Help student plan course schedules
  5. Introduce resources that would be helpful to student based on their needs
  6. Participate in professional development offered by their college

The Advisee’s Role

  1. Acquire information needed to schedule
  2. Seek the academic and career information needed to meet educational requirements
  3. Become knowledgeable about relevant policies, procedures, and rules.
  4. Be prepared before appointments
  5. Consult with the adviser at least once a semester

The University Advising Council is in charge of all of advising, and two students sit on this Council to represent you.

With the help of College Contact Persons (CCPs) for advising, each College and Campus must review the effectiveness of its advising information network and come up with steps for improvement every year.

Your University Park academic college or your commonwealth campus is “responsible for providing [you] with a primary academic adviser.” The college or department will monitor your progress towards graduation and provide you with a degree audit via LionPATH. The college or campus can only do this, however, if “routinely contact [your] adviser each semester.” Ultimately, you are responsible for your own scheduling, program planning, and graduation time.

Effective May 2016 the University’s official advising system of record resides in the Starfish Enterprise Success Platform, which provides a University-wide system for advising notes, early progress reports (EPRs), and online scheduling of advising appointments.

Advisers can help you with…

Study Abroad – Penn State students can choose from hundreds of international programs in more than 45 countries around the world and earn Penn State credit while experiencing life in another country.

Honor Societies – In regards to help deciding if one should join, they can go to their academic advisor, or college advising center, if it is related to their major.

Information Technology Services – Numerous services related to computing, networking, phone services, and information systems are available to students

Recommendations and References

Career Services provides information and consultation for students who have questions about recommendation and references. In addition, Career Services offer students and alumni a secure place to store letters of recommendation through e-Credentials.

FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) states that students have the right to view the contents of their university records and recommendations. It is encouraged to waive this right, as it is suggested by readers that they believe it to be less candid or the candidate has something to conceal.

Division of Undergraduate Studies

A student may be enrolled in the Division of Undergraduate Studies for one or both semesters of his or her first year and up to a maximum of any two semesters beyond the first year.

Baccalaureate candidates who have completed more than 60 credits and associate candidates who have completed more than 30 credits are required to consult with and gain the support of the college or major which change of major is sought before admission to the division can be considered.

A student who has completed the allowed period of enrollment in the Division of Undergraduate Studies and who fails to meet the change-of-major requirements of a college and major is not permitted to continue as a degree candidate at the university until he or she meets the change-of-major requirements.

Requirements for a Minor

For a minor to be considered a minor, the course load must be at least 18 credits.  Your minor cannot be the same subject you are majoring in. For example, if your major is English your minor cannot be English.  Courses for a minor can be completed at any Penn State location as long as the dean or chancellor has qualified teachers and the appropriate resources.  With that being said, a student cannot change campuses for the sole purpose of completing a minor.  If your campus-of-residence does not offer the minor, you will have to choose another one or not pick one up at all.  If a minor has many versions, then you must concentrate on only one.

The procedure for declaring a minor is rather simple.  You have to be at least in a fifth semester classification standing and you must have been already accepted into your major.  Once you are eligible you log on into eLion and declare.  Some majors require Faculty Senate approval, like a portfolio, eLion will generate a message saying so.  If the minor requires a fee, you have to declare the minor before the end of the regular drop/add period of your final semester.  The fee then goes onto the semester bill at the time you declared.  Once you have completed your minor, Registrar will prepare a minor certificate that will be given to you along with your diploma at graduation.

Requirements for Concurrent Majors

In order to receive approval for a double major, you need to fill out an “Application for Approval of Concurrent Majors” with the help of an advisor from each major.  The form can be found at concurrent.pdf.  The deadline for this form is the final day of the late drop period of your final semester.  The dean and department head from each major must approve the form before being accepted as a dual major student.  Once the approval is complete you will receive one copy of the approval form, the Registrar’s office will receive one, and each college dean of your two majors will receive one.  With a double major you will have one advisor for each major.  Approval of a sequential major is granted with the approval for re-enrollment in that major.  You also have to meet with an advisor and make a list of courses required for your new major and see how the credits taken from your first major will be used into the second major.  To cancel your double major you must notify the dean of the cancelled major in writing and once the dean approves it, he or she will notify the other concurrent colleges and the Registrar’s office.


You are eligible for re-enrollment if you are a student who has withdrawn as a degree candidate from the university and wish to return for a semester other than the one approved for a leave of absence, have been dismissed or suspended from the university for nonacademic reasons and have been cleared for re-enrollment by the director of the Office of Student Conduct, or if you have received a baccalaureate or an associate degree from the university and wishes to pursue a second undergraduate degree

You may also be re-enrolled if you are a degree candidate who has interrupted continuous enrollment by not enrolling in credit courses for one semester, unless you have not enrolled in courses during the summer session, are on academic leave of absence and return to the university, or are identified as an adult learner and are enrolled in a program that permits a break in otherwise continuous fall/spring enrollments.

If you are a degree candidate who voluntarily changed to a non-degree student and wish to enroll, you must have the university and your academic college both approve it.

If requesting re-enrollment into the same program in which you were previously enrolled and meet the following criteria:

  1. You were not last enrolled in the Division of Undergraduate Studies or in a common year designation
  2. The program is not approved for administrative enrollment control
  3. When last enrolled your cumulative GPA was 2.00 or higher, depending on program requirements

Then the re-enrollment request is immediately approved.

If requesting re-enrollment into a different program than the one in which you were enrolled, or do not meet the other requirements listed above, you are not automatically approved.  If you are not approved to re-enroll into the requested program, you may apply for re-enrollment into a different program.

To be approved for academic renewal you must have had an absence of at least four years where they did not take courses for credit and you previously had below a 2.00 cumulative GPA.

If you are granted academic renewal, your cumulative average will start at 0.00. All prior courses will remain unchanged on your academic record. Renewal will be recorded on your transcript. Courses passed with a “C” or better may be used as graduation requirements. Your number of late drop credits will be reset.

Course Scheduling

Courses are available for scheduling through three delivery systems: Resident Instruction, Continuing Education, and World Campus.Registration for classes occur for students at specified times and locations. Students are encouraged to consult their adviser before scheduling their courses.

Students are considered enrolled when they have

  1. Agreed to the Student Financial Responsibility Statement
  2. Registered for courses

When making your schedule, consider these factors :

  1. Entrance to major requirements
  2. Your course placements and academic preparation, strengths, weaknesses
  3. General Education Requirements
  4. Information about minors, education abroad, certificates, long range plans, etc.
  5. Variables like lifestyle, co-curricular demands, disabilities, time management skills
  6. Characteristics of Classes like reading, writing, computing, memorizing, projects, papers, size of class, style of class (lecture, lab, studio, or discussion), online work, and types of grading.

Academic Hold

Academic Hold can be used as a legitimate means to intrusively interact with a student that is not responding to outreach, that is violating university or college policy, or is making academic decisions that are counterproductive to academic success.

Types of Hold

Academic – to help students fully understand the implications of their academic decisions and help them resolve outstanding academic issues. (Academic registration holds are activated as soon as a student is in academic warning or suspension.)

Conduct – as a consequence of a disciplinary proceeding and failure on the student’s part to follow through with required actions for resolving an incident.

Financial – as a result of outstanding financial obligations with the university.

Global Programs – for an international student to ensure that proper immigration documents are completed and filed with the office as required by Department of Homeland Security regulations.

Medical – due to health-related issues including insurance.

Definition of Full-Time Students – a student with 12 or more credits per semester

Definition of Part-Time Students – a student with less than 12 credits per semester

Prerequisites are courses or other requirements that must be completed prior to the start of a given course.

Concurrent Courses are similar to pre-requisities except that they may be taken prior to, or in the same semester as, the give course. Co-Requisite Courses are pairs of courses that are required to be taken together in the same semester.

Registration is limited to students that satisfy these prerequisites, but the course instructor does have the right to permit students to take the course without proper prerequisites if the student demonstrates mastery of the material through some other means.

Recommended Preparation relates to preparatory skills that would be useful, but not necessary for successful completion of a course.

Auditing and Visiting Courses

  1. Auditing – If a student wishes to audit a course, that course must be entered on the student’s schedule with the symbol AU shown under “credits.” When a class is audited, it becomes a part of a student’s credit load, but is not used in the determination of full-time status. In addition, tuition must be paid for the audit, and the student may be required to participate in course functions.
  2. Visiting – Students who wish to visit a course may do so, even if they are not enrolled for credit or for audit in that course. To visit a course, the student must obtain permission in advance from the instructor. No tuition is paid, and the class does not become a part of the student’s credit load.



You, as a student, are classified based on your potential degree, the number of credits you have completed, the GPA you have achieved, your grade point deficiency, and the number of requirements you have fulfilled. To maintain financial aid eligibility, you must complete 26 credits each year and earn a grade of a “D” or better in each class.

Associate and Baccalaureate Degree Candidates

First-year admissions will be granted to an applicant who holds a high school diploma and who has taken fewer than 17 credits at an accredited college or university. A baccalaureate or associate degree candidate will be admitted into either a college, a major within a college, or the Division of Undergraduate Studies.

Entrance Requirements for Admissions: Graduation from an accredited secondary school. Completion of the required units* of preparatory work as indicated below.*Per the Carnegie Foundation, a unit represents a year of work in a subject in a secondary school, provided that the work done in that subject is approximately one-fourth of the total amount of work regularly required in a year in the school.

Degree English Social Studies Language Science Math
Baccalaureate 4 units 3 units 2 units* 3 units 3 units
Associates 4 units 1-5 units** 1-5 units** 2 units 2 units

*However, a student may be admitted with fewer than two units in a world language other than English, but must correct this deficiency by the time he/she earns 60 credits or graduates from Penn State, whichever comes first.

** Five units in any combination of world language, social studies, arts, and humanities are required.

Articulation Agreements

An articulation agreement is a contract between Penn State and any other degree-granting institution(s) that makes it easier for you to transfer credit or degrees. The purpose of an articulation agreement is to:

  1. Show you how specific classes, grades, and degree requirements at other institutions compare to Penn State’s
  2. Make it easier for you to transfer to Penn State
  3. Make it easier for you to take classes at other colleges

In addition, if you are an international student, articulation agreements address your legal, language proficiency, and safety rights as a student. Agreements must be reviewed at least every five years, and the college or university is responsible for submitting a report to ARSSA, the Senate Committee on Admissions, Records, Scheduling, and Student Aid. A record of all articulation agreements will be kept for you to see.

To visit the online interactive Transfer Course Evaluation Guide, go to

Provisional Students

If you have a high school diploma or GED but do not fulfill the requirements for admission to Penn State, you may be allowed to enroll as a provisional student. This could happen if, for example, you did not take the proper courses (or “Carnegie Units” mentioned in Policy 05-00) in high school, are an adult student, or for a variety of other reasons. Not to worry! The purpose of this policy is to allow you to still attend even if you miss a requirement or two on a technicality, not to keep you away. These students are guaranteed ability to register for classes and receive academic advising.

Admission of a Provisional Student to become a Degree Candidate

Provisional students are applicants to degree status who have high school diplomas but lack the credentials required for admission as degree candidates. These credentials include adequate high school grade-point average, SATs, and Carnegie units (required credit hours).Provisional Students enroll in classes on a space-available basis after degree candidates have been accommodated. Undergraduate tuition is charged.

As an applicant for a Baccalaureate Degree (BA) you must:

  1. Complete a minimum of 18 baccalaureate credits with a minimum of a 2.00 GPA as a provisional student
  2. Have all credits earned at Penn State
  3. Satisfy the entrance requirements of the college upon which you want to be enrolled in as well as the Division of Undergraduate Studies

Applicants need to be aware of the program requirements of the different colleges.

As an applicant for an Associate Degree you must:

  1. Complete a minimum of 9 credits with a minimum of 2.00 GPA as a provisional student
  2. Have all credits earned at Penn State
  3. Satisfy the entrance requirements

An applicant who has completed at least the equivalent to one year’s associate degree work before applying for admissions as an associate degree candidate must have the approval of either the dean of the college or the dean of the Division of Undergraduate Studies.

Non-Degree Student Classification and Course Enrollment

There are two types of non-degree students: non- degree regular students and non-degree conditional students.

A non-degree regular student is a person who has received a high school diploma or its equivalent. There are no specific enrollment limitations associated with this student status. To enroll as a nondegree student, complete an Undergraduate Nondegree Enrollment Form and return the form to the Registrar’s office at the campus you plan to attend.

A non-degree conditional student is any student who has been dropped from degree or provisional status by Penn State or any other college or university because of unsatisfactory scholarship. These students may register for a maximum of 12 credits per semester, but are required to obtain academic advising before registering. Non-degree conditional students are not eligible for financial aid, housing in the residence halls might be unavailable, and other privileges may be restricted. Non- degree conditional students are limited to a maximum of 10 credits of late drop, including any drop credits previously used.

The following conditions must be applied to all non-degree students both regular and conditional:

  1. Register on a space available basis
  2. Enrollment as a nondegree student does not imply admission to the university
  3. Limited to a maximum of 40 credits while in this status
  4. Must complete the prerequisites for the courses to be scheduled or has obtained permission from the instructor to schedule the course
  5. Must be admitted, or reinstated and re-enrolled, as a degree candidate to apply the credits earned as a nondegree student toward fulfilling the requirements for a degree

Students whose cumulative grade point average are below 2.00 and have reached the 40-credit limit, are not eligible for a degree program they can only resume taking credit courses by re-entering the University through the academic renewal process.

Degree Candidate or Provisional Student to Non-Degree Student

You can become a nondegree student by:

  1. Withdrawing from degree candidacy
  2. Being dropped from degree candidacy due to poor grades

To again obtain degree candidacy, you must apply for re-enrollment in accordance with pertinent procedures.

Admission of Non-degree Student as Degree Candidate

Baccalaureate Degree Candidate requirements include:

  1. Completing at least 18 baccalaureate credits with a minimum grade-point average of 2.00 as a nondegree student
  2. Having all credits earned at Penn State
  3. Meeting the entrance requirements (Carnegie Units) of either the college of enrollment or of the Division of Undergraduate Studies

An applicant who has completed at least the equivalent of two years of baccalaureate degree work before applying for admission as a baccalaureate degree candidate must have the approval of either the dean of the college in which enrollment is desired or of the director of the Division of Undergraduate Studies.Degree candidates should consult with the dean of the college or major concerned while taking courses as a nondegree student.

Associate Degree Candidate requirements include:

  1. Completing at least 9 credits with a minimum grade-point average of 2.00 as a nondegree student
  2. Having all credits earned at Penn State
  3. Meeting the entrance requirements (Carnegie Units) of either the major in which enrollment is desired or of the Division of Undergraduate Studies

An applicant who has completed at least the equivalent of one year’s associate degree work before applying for admission as an associate degree candidate must have the approval of either the dean of the college in which enrollment is desired or of the director of the Division of Undergraduate Studies.

MajorQuest helps students identify and learn about majors that match their selected interest areas. The College Information Chart provides major-related information organized by college. Advisers in the Division of Undergraduate Studies(DUS) assist students who are exploring majors.

Carnegie Units: Carnegie units (defined by the Carnegie Foundation) are secondary-school units, each of which represents one year of work in a subject. At Penn State, these units are used to determine admissibility to the University , to particular colleges, and to some college-level courses.

Withdrawal from the University: During a semester or session of enrollment, withdrawal is the appropriate action if a student wants/needs to drop all the credits he/she has scheduled in resident instruction, Continuing Education, and World Campus (even if his/her credits are in only one course). Withdrawal drops all courses in which a student is currently enrolled and cancels enrollment in courses the student scheduled for an upcoming semester or session through all delivery systems.Note: Once a student has been informed that he/she is suspected of a violation of the academic integrity policy, the student may not withdraw from the course during the adjudication process. A student may decide to withdraw for medical, military, or other reasons. A student who stops attending classes without officially withdrawing may receive grades of F in all courses scheduled for that semester or session.

Student Action

  1. Contact an academic adviser to discuss the impact of withdrawal on your future academic plans and the possibility of alternatives to withdrawal.
  2. Consult with the appropriate offices.
  3. Contact the Bursar regarding any outstanding account balances.*
  4. If you have a housing contract, cancel it by contacting the Housing Assignment Office at your campus.**
  5. Print a withdrawal form
  6. Submit the completed form to the Registrar’s office by 5:00 p.m. on the last day of classes in the semester from which you are withdrawing.

Cancellation of Registration

Before the first day of classes, if a student who has completed his/her registration decides that he/she does not want to attend the University that semester, cancellation of registration is possible. When registration is canceled, a complete refund of tuition and fees is granted.

Student Action

  1. Drop all courses that were scheduled for the upcoming semester or session by using eLion (LionPATH in 2016). You can also drop your courses at your college / campus advising center, your department office, or the office of Registrar.
  2. Contact the Bursar regarding any outstanding account balances.
  3. If you have received any form of financial aid, contact the Office of Student Aid to learn about the consequences of canceling your registration.
  4. If you have a loan, log onto Federal Student Aid  and select Complete Exit Counseling to get information you need about repaying your loan.
  5. If you have a housing contract, cancel it by contacting the Housing Assignment Office at your campus.

After classes begin, if a student who has registered decides he/she does not want to attend the University that semester or session, the student must withdraw unless he/she never attended any classes. In this case, the student may follow the procedure for administrative course cancellation.  

Leave of Absence: A baccalaureate or associate degree student who wants to take a limited time off from Penn State course work may maintain degree status and ensure that his/her degree requirements will remain the same by taking a leave of absence. A degree candidate who does not register for consecutive semesters and is not on a leave of absence is automatically withdrawn from degree status and must apply for re-enrollment to resume degree status.

Situations when Student Leave is not Appropriate

  1. If a student does not enroll in summer course work (enrollment is optional).

  2. If a student withdraws or is dropped or dismissed (see Re-enrollment).
  3. If a student wishes to interrupt studies during an academic semester (see Withdrawal).

If a student is enrolled in any Penn State course: resident instruction, Continuing Education, or World Campus.

Academic integrity includes a commitment by all members of the University community not to engage in or tolerate acts of falsification, misrepresentation or deception. Such acts of dishonesty violate the fundamental ethical principles of the University community and compromise the worth of work completed by others.

  • Statements explaining an instructor’s academic integrity policy for a course must be included in the course syllabus.
  • If there has been an egregious act of academic dishonesty (e.g. breaking into an instructor’s office to steal tests and selling them), then, with the concurrence of the instructor, college committee, and the Office of Student Conduct, a grade of F is recorded as the student’s quality of performance in the course. The grade is accompanied by the symbol X indicating a sanction for academic dishonesty. The symbol (X) remains on the student’s transcript for the period of the sanction, and the F grade remains on the student’s record.
  • A student who has been found responsible for academic dishonesty in a course may not drop or withdraw from the course. If the student processes a regular drop, late drop, withdrawal, or a retroactive late drop or withdrawal for the course, the action will be reversed and the appropriate grade and symbol will be recorded on the student’s transcript.

Intellectual Property

As a student, you have to adhere to federal, state, local and Penn State’s rules about computer and network usage.  That includes downloading anything without proper authorization especially using Penn State’s network.  This rule does not stop at downloads, any obscene or harassing material, or situations to promote commercial enterprise are not tolerated.  Also, mass media communication or the uses of newsletters for personal gain are not permitted.  Even if you are not using a Penn State computer or network, these rules still apply to you off-campus.  

If you come across an incident where intellectual property has been unlawfully possessed, you must contact the systems administrator along with the Security Operations and Services Director.  If you are confirmed to have unlawfully gained copyrighted material, you may face restriction or termination of access in the university, legal action at the university, local, state, and federal level.  Additionally you may have to pay back for the stolen material and in some cases, face dismissal or expulsion.

You must maintain a 2.00 minimum cumulative GPA for graduation. If you have a grade-point deficiency, then you must receive an academic warning by the university. An academic drop is an official notification that a student can no longer enroll in courses.  

For a student to be reinstated into degree candidacy, a student must reduce their grade-point deficiency by half.

The dean of the college, after reviewing with the faculty, may have the student disenrolled from the major or college.  

Student Options

  1. Transfer to another college in the university
  2. Join the Division of Undergraduate Studies (DUS)
    1. Only with intent for a new major
    2. Approval by DUS Director
    3. Allowed to explore majors for one addition semester
  3. Dropped from degree candidacy  
  4. May be reinstated to the college but is determined by the dean

A reinstatement fee is charged at the time of the request.

  • There is no processing fee for schedule adjustments during the drop/add period. After the drop/add there is $6 processing fee for each course late add and late drop
  • There is no limit to the number of times a student can use the drop and add procedure
  • For full-semester courses, the drop period is the first six calendar days of a semester. The add period extends one calendar day after the end of the drop period.
  • After a course’s drop and add deadlines, late add and late drop procedures must be followed to make schedule adjustments
  • A student may change from one section of a course to another by obtaining the signature of the new section’s instructor on a registration drop/add form, obtaining departmental approval, and processing the changes at the department offering the course or the Registrar’s Office.
  • After the add deadline for a class, it is still possible for a student to add a class by “late add.” A late add requires the signature of the course instructor on a registration add/drop form.
  • After the drop deadline for a course, it is still possible for a student to drop a course by using “late drop.”
  • Students are charged a processing fee for every course they late drop
  • Beginning fall 2016, when a student late drops a course, the action will be reflected on his/her record with the symbol “LD”
  • There is no longer a limit to the number of times a student can late drop courses. However, when a course is late dropped it is counted toward the limit when repeating courses
  • It may be possible for a student who began a sequence of courses at too high a level to drop down to a more appropriate course in the sequence after the drop period without using late drop credits

Repeating Courses: Certain courses (e.g., variable-credit and special-topics courses) are designated as repeatable; they may be taken more than once for credit.These courses may be repeated indefinitely unless the department stipulates a maximum number of credits allowed.

  • If a grade of C or better was earned, the student should consult with their adviser to discuss the usefulness of repeating the course.
  • If a grade of D was earned, the course may be repeated.
  • If a grade of F was earned, the course may be repeated. The student is not required to repeat a failed course unless the course is required in their program.
  • If UN (unsatisfactory) was earned, the course may be repeated but only under the conventional grading system (see Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory Grading System).

Examinations for Failure Elimination: Under extraordinary circumstances a special exam for the removal of a failing grade may be given. Such examinations are graded no higher than a D, and this, if obtained, is the final grade for the course. Written approval of the head of the department, the appropriate dean of the college in which the course is offered, and the appropriate dean of the student’s college is necessary.

Discrimination on the basis age, race, color, ancestry, national origin, religion, creed, service in the uniformed services (as defined in state and federal law), veteran status, sex, sexual orientation, marital or family status, pregnancy, pregnancy-related conditions, physical or mental disability, gender, perceived gender, gender identity, genetic information or political ideas: Contact the Affirmative Action Office, 328 Boucke Building (link is external), 814-863-0471. The Affirmative Action Office investigates complaints of discrimination against a member of the faculty or staff. The Affirmative Action Office also provides confidential consultation and informal complaint resolution. Students may also consult with advisers or department heads to informally resolve complaints. The Affirmative Action Office website (link is external) provides additional information. Problems of discrimination should be reported as early as possible following the alleged incident.

Petitions for Exceptions to Academic Policies and Procedures: When a student has not followed a University Faculty Senate policy or procedure and believes an exception to the policy may be warranted, he/she may submit a petition to the Senate Committee on Undergraduate Education Subcommittee on Academic Standards. A petition may be used to request an exception to any policy and/or to request a retroactive procedure. The committee does not grant petitions automatically. Strong, documented justification must be provided to establish the circumstances that warrant a retroactive action.

-The student should prepare a brief, factual letter (see sample letters) that includes the following:

  1. date the petition is submitted
  2. PSU ID number
  3. current address
  4. current phone number
  5. email address
  6. a clear statement of the requested action
  7. a description of the conditions that warrant an exception
  8. the reason University policy and/or procedure could not be followed (see Examples of Appropriate and Inappropriate Requests).

Resolution of Classroom Problems

As a student, you have to adhere to federal, state, local and Penn State’s rules about computer and network usage.  That includes downloading anything without proper authorization especially using Penn State’s network.  This rule does not stop at downloads, any obscene or harassing material, or situations to promote commercial enterprise are not tolerated.  Also, mass media communication or the uses of newsletters for personal gain are not permitted.  Even if you are not using a Penn State computer or network, these rules still apply to you off-campus.  

If you come across an incident were intellectual property has been unlawfully possessed, you must contact the systems administrator along with the Security Operations and Services Director.  If you are confirmed to have unlawfully gained copyrighted material, you may face restriction or termination of access in the university, legal action at the university, local, state, and federal level.  Additionally you may have to pay back for the stolen material and in some cases, face dismissal or expulsion.