Graduate Assistantships for Students in Joint Degree Programs
Administrative Policy GSAD-XXX
To be eligible for a GA in any semester, a graduate student must be enrolled in courses for that semester that can be applied towards a graduate degree under the Graduate School within credit loads that fall within the limits indicated on the Credit Loads and Academic Status page. This includes graduate students enrolled solely in a graduate degree program under the Graduate School, as well as students enrolled in Integrated Undergraduate-Graduate (IUG) degree programs, or Joint degree programs.
As they work to meet the curricular requirements for both their graduate and medical or law degrees, joint degree students may not always be enrolled in sufficient credits that can be applied towards their Graduate School degree to qualify for a GA. This policy allows students to use medical or law courses that fulfill degree requirements for both the medical or law school and the Graduate School (i.e., “double counted courses”) to count towards the GA credit load requirements.
Enrolled: Formally registered for classes. To be considered enrolled in a given semester, courses must appear on the student's record for that term under "MY CLASS SCHEDULE" in LionPATH.
Graduate degree program: A postbaccalaureate degree program offered under the Graduate School that meet standards established by and is approved through the curricular review and approval process of Graduate Council. Graduate degree programs are listed in the Graduate Degree Programs Bulletin.
Joint degree program: A formal, approved program of study leading to conferral of a graduate degree from the Graduate School and either i) a Juris Doctor (J.D.) from Penn State Law (PSL) or Dickinson School of Law (DSL), or ii) an M.D. degree from the College of Medicine. Existing graduate degree programs may establish a joint degree program upon review and approval by the Graduate Council curricular review process and the curricular review process of the respective partner school. [Note: Joint degree programs are specifically related to the J.D. and M.D. degrees, and do not include other medical and law education degrees offered by PSL, DSL and the COM (e.g., the L.L.M., S.J.D., and M.P.A.S.)].
Double-counted course: a course taken by either an integrated undergraduate-graduate (IUG) degree program student or a joint degree program student that fulfills a degree requirement for both the Graduate School degree and the undergraduate, or law school / medical school degree, respectively.
- Students officially enrolled in a joint degree program may use 700-level medical school courses or 900-level law school courses to meet the minimum required credits per semester for a GA only if those courses will be double-counted towards the graduate degree as specified in the Joint Degree Programs policy.
- The GA-rate tuition provided by the assistantship will be credited towards the respective medical or law school tuition rate, as appropriate based upon the MOU previously established as part of the joint degree program administrative approval process. The student is responsible for paying the balance of the tuition owed.
- A joint degree student seeking a graduate assistantship with fewer than the required number of 400-, 500-, 600-, and/or 800-level credits must submit a Joint Degree Graduate Assistantship Eligibility Form to the Graduate School in advance of the semester for which they are seeking the assistantship.
- This form must list the medical (700-level) or law school (900-level) course(s) the student is taking that semester that will also double-count towards the graduate degree.
- This form must be approved by the head of the graduate program, and the authorized medical or law school representative.
- The completed, signed form must be submitted to the Graduate School Office of Fellowships and Awards.
- Upon approval of the Joint Degree Graduate Assistantship Eligibility Form by the Graduate School, the student must work with the unit providing the graduate assistantship appointment to complete a “Terms of Offer and General Conditions of a Graduate Assistantship Appointment” form.
- Once this form is complete, the unit sponsoring the assistantship must process it through the appropriate University business system, and must forward a copy of the form to the Graduate School Office of Fellowships and Awards.
- A student seeking an assistantship with fewer than the required number of 400-, 500-, 600- and/or 800-level credits that can be applied to the graduate degree must submit a Joint Degree Graduate Assistantship Eligibility Form in advance of the semester for which they are seeking the assistantship, listing the 700-level medical school courses or 900-level law school courses they are taking that semester which they intend and are approved to double-count towards the graduate degree.
- The Joint Degree Graduate Assistantship Eligibility Form must be signed by both the authorized medical or law school representative and the student’s graduate program head, indicating approval to double-count those medical or law school course(s) towards the graduate degree.
- The signed Joint Degree Graduate Assistantship Eligibility Form must be submitted to the Graduate School Office of Fellowships and Awards.
- Forms must be received by July 15 for an assistantship intended in the respective upcoming fall semester; December 15 for the spring semester; and April 15 for the summer semester.
- Once the semester report form is approved, the sponsoring unit must complete a GA “Terms of Offer and General Conditions of a Graduate Assistantship Appointment” form and the graduate assistantship will be established via Workday.
- The student will receive a monthly stipend and insurance subsidy, and the prevailing GA-rate tuition will be credited against the prevailing medical or law school degree tuition charge.
- Approval for graduate assistantships under this policy are only valid for the semester requested; students who would like to use double-counted courses in a future semester to meet the respective assistantship credit minimum requirement must reapply.
- This process does not take the place of a Semester Report Form. To ensure that all credits are appropriately counted towards their degrees, students will need to submit a Semester Report Form to Graduate Enrollment Services at the end of each semester of their joint degree program.
Cross References / Other Policies
Effective date: August 24, 2017