Undergraduate Education at Penn State Penn State University Penn State University Office of Undergraduate Education Printer friendly version of the Undergraduate Education at Penn State mark.
Topical Index: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


I. Policy

A. Justification and scope

The University aims to adjust to shifting student interests and to accommodate all qualified students in the undergraduate majors of their choice. But on some occasions an academic unit may determine that students are not likely to be successful in a particular college or major without meeting specified standards beyond the minimum 2.00 CGPA and third-semester classification that most majors require for entrance. On these occasions, the college dean responsible for the unit may request the establishment of unusually stringent academic entrance and retention requirements.

The University must also balance its general aim of accommodating student choices against limitations of space, faculty, or other resources. In deference to these limitations, college deans may request administrative controls on enrollment in their majors. These requests are the subject of AAPPM P-5 Administrative Enrollment Controls for Undergraduate Majors.

B. Principles

Academic entrance and retention requirements are established only when absolutely necessary and are based on the following principles:

  1. Academic entrance and retention requirements may apply to majors or to colleges.
  2. Students follow the entry requirements in place at the time of their most recent admission to degree candidacy or re-enrollment to the University.
  3. Academic entrance and retention requirements are
    1. Based on the judgment that students are not likely to be successful in a particular college or major without meeting specified standards and prerequisites.
    2. Approved by the University Faculty Senate Committee on Curricular Affairs Subcommittee on Retention and Transfer.
  4. Students meeting the requirements for entry to a major having academic entrance and retention requirements shall not be denied entry to that major, provided that they also satisfy the conditions for any relevant administrative enrollment controls.
  5. Advanced standing transfer students (from other universities) may be considered for admission directly to a controlled major based on Admissions criteria.
  6. The college dean may approve exceptions to the criteria specified above for individual students.

II. Procedures

A. Authorizing Academic Entrance and Retention Requirements

Proposals for unusually stringent requirements for entrance to or retention in a college or major are approved by the University Faculty Senate Committee on Curricular Affairs, by way of its Subcommittee on Retention and Transfer when an academic unit determines that students are not likely to navigate a specified curriculum without meeting specified standards.

The form for making this request is available at the Subcommittee website (http://senate.psu.edu/curriculum/retention-and-transfer-proposal-form/). This form also explains the approval and consultation process.

B. Approving Student Requests for Entry to Programs with Entry and Retention Requirements

Colleges that have received authorization to have unusually stringent academic entry and retention requirements need to inform students about these controls and advise students regarding alternative academic majors available to them. Students at all locations will officially apply for entrance and be informed of decisions through the same system used by non-controlled majors.

All students requesting a change into a major are to be notified of their status after a request has been processed. One of three decisions regarding requests is to be entered in the system of record.

  1. Students who have successfully completed all requirements for the requested major are to be informed that they have been granted entrance to that major.
  2. Students currently enrolled in entrance-to-major courses are to be informed they will be granted conditional entrance to the major for the upcoming semester.
  3. After successfully completing entrance requirements, students must maintain GPA requirements in order to make the change permanent and retain their status in the academically controlled major. Students who do not successfully complete entrance requirements or maintain GPA requirements will be returned to their prior major or enrollment unit. The unit will be informed when a student is returned and should provide appropriate advising regarding possible goals.
  4. All students who are declared ineligible for their requested majors will be informed as to why they were denied entrance. Should a student become eligible within the established credit parameters, the student may be permitted to reapply at that point in time. The notification will also include a referral to an appropriate advising center.

Undergraduate Advising Handbook: Administrative Academic entrance and retention requirements Undergraduate Advising Handbook: Entrance to and Changes in College or Major

Approved: ACUE (8-3-17)