Penn State Graduate School Penn State Penn State Graduate School

Visiting or Auditing a Course

Registration Policy GCAC-504

Purpose: to define how students may attend classes without receiving credit as either visitors or auditors.

Academic Goal: to define the conditions under which a graduate student may achieve some or all of the academic goals of a graduate course without receiving credit.

Scope: all graduate students.

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 Background

Taking a graduate course for academic credit comes with many benefits, including formal recognition of the work on the student’s transcript along with a formal assessment of the quality of the work completed. Nonetheless, on occasion, a student may wish to achieve some or all of the educational goals of a graduate course without the need for formal recognition by academic credit. Visiting or auditing a graduate course provides the student flexibility in meeting their educational goals, particularly outside their core discipline.

Policy Statement

  1. A graduate student registered for a given semester who wants to attend classes without receiving credit may secure permission either to visit or to audit courses during that semester.
    1. As a visitor, a student may attend classes with the approval of the instructor but may not claim the usual privileges of class membership, such as participating in discussion, doing practicum work, or taking examinations. Registration is not required for the privilege of visiting, and no record appears on the student’s transcript.
    2. As an auditor, a student may participate in class discussion, do practicum work, take examinations, and generally enjoy the privileges of a class member. Registration procedures and fee payment are the same as for taking the course for credit. Attendance is required. No credit is given, either on completion of the course or at a later time; however, the number of credits assigned to the course appears on the grade report and on the student’s transcript. Thus, when a student receives an audit grade, the number of credits audited is shown. The symbol AU shall be used if attendance has been regular, the symbol W if attendance has been unsatisfactory.
  2. The student may register for credit or audit beyond the required minimum but may not exceed the normal maximum without special permission (see GCAC-501 Credit Load).

Revision History

Updated: 3/17/17
Adapted from the Graduate Bulletin: June 2018

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