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University Bulletin

Undergraduate Degree Programs

Academic Definitions

The following definitions, referring to degrees, majors, options, minors, concurrent or sequential majors programs, and integrated undergraduate-graduate degree programs, have been adopted by the University Faculty Senate:

Associate Degree--Two-year majors that, with a few exceptions, provide concentrated instruction to prepare graduates for specialized occupational assignments.

Baccalaureate Degree--An award signifying a rank or level of educational attainment. Particular types of baccalaureate degrees identify educational programs having common objectives and requirements. Degree programs may provide academic, preprofessional, or professional experiences and preparation. Majors lead to a baccalaureate degree. Each student must select a major within a baccalaureate degree type. If options are offered within a major, a student selects one. The student may also elect to enroll in a minor to supplement the major. Alternatively, the student may seek to enroll in multiple majors within the same type of baccalaureate degree or to enroll in a simultaneous degree program. A baccalaureate program of study shall consist of no less than 120 credits. Students may elect to take courses beyond the minimum requirements of a degree program.

Major--A plan of study in a field of concentration within a type of baccalaureate degree. Colleges and other degree-granting units may have common requirements for all of their majors. Each major may have requirements identified in Prescribed, Additional, and Supporting Courses and Related Areas categories. Elective credits are not considered part of the major. (Senate Record:1/23/90, Appendix IV)

Option--A specialization within a major that should involve at least one-third of the course work credits required for the major, but need not be more than 18 credits. All options within a major must have in common at least one-fourth of the required course work credits in the major. A student can only be enrolled in an option within his/her own major.

Minor--A minor is defined as an academic program of at least 18 credits that supplements a major. A minor program may consist of course work in a single area or from several disciplines, with at least 6 but ordinarily not more than half of the credits at the 400 course level. Total requirements are to be specified and generally limited to 18 to 21 credits. Entrance to some minors may require the completion of a number of prerequisites, including courses, portfolios, auditions, or other forms of documentation that are not included in the total requirements for the minor. All courses for a minor require a grade of C or above.

Concurrent and Sequential Majors Programs--At the baccalaureate or associate degree level, students may be approved for admission to more than one major under the Concurrent Majors Program. A Concurrent Majors Program is one in which students take courses to concurrently meet the requirements of at least two majors, with graduation for all majors in the program occurring during the same semester. Concurrent majors must all be at the baccalaureate or associate degree level. Under the Sequential Majors Program, upon graduation from an associate or baccalaureate degree program, a student may apply for re-enrollment in another undergraduate degree program.

Integrated Undergraduate-Graduate (IUG) Degree Program--An integrated undergraduate-graduate (IUG) degree program combines a Penn State baccalaureate degree with a master's degree as a continuous program of study. An IUG program allows qualifying students to:
---Create a cohesive plan for baccalaureate and master's degree studies, with advising informed by requirements for both degree programs
---Complete the combined degree program in less time than it would take to complete each program separately
---Become familiar with the expectations of graduate studies in their programs
---Access the resources of the Graduate School
---Learn from current graduate students who share academic interests