Penn State Graduate School Penn State Penn State Graduate School

Admissions Policies

GCAC-304 Nondegree Admission

Purpose: to define the category of nondegree admission.

Academic Goal: to define the conditions under which The Graduate School will offer admission to students who do not intend to pursue a graduate degree thus allowing them to take graduate-level courses.

Scope: all applicants to The Graduate School who do not wish to pursue a graduate degree.



Applicants who do not intend to pursue a graduate degree, but want to take graduate-level courses for personal enrichment, professional development, permanent certification, or to apply for degree status at a later date, may seek admission as a nondegree graduate student.

Policy Statement

  1. Applicants for nondegree admission must have received from a regionally accredited institution a baccalaureate degree earned under residence and credit conditions substantially equivalent to those required by Penn State.
  2. Admission as a nondegree graduate student neither guarantees nor implies subsequent admission to a degree program.
  3. Nondegree students are not eligible to receive fellowships or graduate assistantships.
  4. Preference for courses is given to degree students.
  5. Changing from graduate nondegree status to regular status requires a new admission application.
    1. A maximum of 15 graduate credits taken as a nondegree student prior to admission to a graduate degree program may be applied to a graduate program, with departmental approval. The credits must have been earned within five years preceding entry into the degree program. (See GCAC-309 Transfer Credit).


Transfer of Penn State Nondegree Graduate Credits to Penn State Graduate Degree (PDF)

Revision History

Last Graduate Bulletin update: August 2016
Adapted from Graduate Bulletin: June 2018

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