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GCAC-210

Integrated Undergraduate-Graduate (IUG) Degree Programs

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Purpose

to define integrated undergraduate-graduate (IUG) degree programs and describe procedures and guidelines for establishing an IUG program.

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Academic Goal

to ensure that integrated undergraduate-graduate (IUG) degree programs provide added value to students.

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Scope

all graduate programs.

Integrated undergraduate-graduate degrees programs offer select students the opportunity to seamlessly complete a baccalaureate and master’s degree through an integrated program of study. For appropriate students, an IUG offers the opportunity to complete advanced studies before initiating their career at reduced cost and in less time than sequential bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

Participation in newly established and continuing IUG programs is appropriate for some, but not all, students who formally meet the minimum standards for admission to such a program. In particular, minimal performance in the master's degree portion of an IUG program serves no purpose, and marginally prepared students undertake such a program at great risk of failure. Integrated undergraduate-graduate degree programs should therefore address very clearly, in their program-specific guidelines, the issues of admission and appropriateness of the program to individual students.

Integrated undergraduate-graduate degree programs also should be specific about the mechanisms for evaluating students for admission and for monitoring and mentoring their progress in the program. Although there are many advantages to IUG programs, care must be taken to properly develop and coordinate the plans of students to ensure proper admissions procedures, an adequate level of rigor, efficient sequencing of courses, and expedient completion of the integrated program of study.

Policy Statement

  1. An integrated undergraduate-graduate (IUG) degree program combines a Penn State baccalaureate degree with a master's degree as a continuous program of study, and provides several advantages for qualifying students:
    1. It permits coherent planning of studies through the master's degree, with advising informed by not only the requirements of the baccalaureate program, but also the longer-range goals of the master's degree.
    2. For most students, the total time required to reach completion of the master's degree will be shortened versus the total time if each degree were completed separately.
    3. The student will have earlier contact with the rigors of graduate study and with graduate faculty.
    4. The resources of the Graduate School are accessible to these students.
    5. While still undergraduates, students with IUG status benefit from their association with graduate students whose level of work and whose intensity of interest and commitment parallel their own.
  2. Students must apply to and meet admission requirements of the Graduate School, as well as the graduate program in which they intend to receive their master's degree. Before applying to the Graduate School, students must:
    1. Have completed entrance to their undergraduate major.
    2. Have completed no less than 60 credits.
    3. Be admitted no later than the end of the second week of the semester preceding the semester of expected conferral of the undergraduate degree.
  3. Transfer students must have completed at least 15 credits at Penn State to enroll in an IUG.
  4. In consultation with an adviser, students must prepare a plan of study appropriate to the integrated program in which they intend to participate.
    1. The plan should cover the entire time period of the integrated program, and it should be reviewed periodically with an adviser.
    2. Students must present their plan of study to the head of the graduate program or the appropriate committee overseeing the integrated program prior to being admitted to the program.
  5. IUG programs should be designed so that students complete the undergraduate degree requirements within the typical time to degree for that undergraduate major. For most undergraduate degrees, this is four years; some undergraduate majors require a longer time to degree.
    1. Exceptions to the expectation that the undergraduate degree be completed and conferred within the typical time to degree for that undergraduate major may be evaluated and approved through the Graduate Council curricular review process only when there are valid pedagogical reasons.
    2. Students should be advised to fulfill basic undergraduate requirements first so that if, for some reason, they cannot continue in the integrated program they will be able to receive their undergraduate degree without a significant loss of time.
    3. In the semester in which the undergraduate degree requirements will be completed, IUG students must apply to graduate, and the undergraduate degree should be conferred at the next appropriate Commencement.
  6. As many as 12 of the credits required for the master's degree may be applied to both undergraduate and graduate degree program requirements (“double-counted”).
    1. Course work counted toward both undergraduate and graduate degree requirements cannot be independent study (596/896 Individual Studies or other independent study course).
    2. A minimum of 50 percent of the courses proposed to count for both degrees must be at the 500 or 800 level.
  7. Culminating / capstone experiences.
    1. If a thesis or culminating/capstone experience is recognized as meeting requirements for the undergraduate degree, it cannot be used to meet requirements for the graduate degree.
    2. The graduate thesis or other graduate culminating/capstone experience (including any associated credits and/or deliverables) may not be double counted towards any other graduate degree requirement.

Process

  1. Proposals to create IUG degree programs should include a draft version of a student handbook that will provide guidance for prospective students.
  2. Proposals to create new IUG programs must include evidence of an appropriate level of student interest. This can be accomplished in a number of ways, including (but not limited to):
    1. Survey of existing undergraduate students meeting the recommended admission criteria.
    2. Evidence from Schreyer Honors College custom IUGs.
  3. Proposals to create new IUG programs must provide clear evidence (supported by the appropriate academic administrators) that:
    1. Course sequencing in the IUG supports student success (e.g., progress through the IUG cannot depend on a series of independent study courses).
    2. A specific faculty member is identified who is responsible for providing both general advice to ensure IUG students follow all relevant University Faculty Senate and Graduate Council policies, as well as providing academic advice to ensure IUG students meet their personal educational goals (in addition to any research adviser(s) for students in graduate research degree programs).

Procedure

P1 - Graduate Curricular Proposal Requirements

Forms

insert_drive_file Integrated Undergraduate/Graduate Semester Report (PDF)

insert_drive_file IUG/Joint Degree Career Swap Form (PDF)|(DOC)

insert_drive_file Request for an Undergraduate Student to Take 500- or 800-Level Courses (PDF)|(DOC)

Further Information

Integrated Undergraduate-Graduate (IUG) Degree Programs - FAQs

Revision History

  • Approved by Graduate Council, March 18, 2020. Effective date: Fall 2020 (8/17/2020).
    • Policy Statements 2 and 3: Revised timing and requirements for admission to an IUG.
    • Policy Statement 4.b.: Removed requirement to submit plan of study in person.
    • Policy Statement 5, 5.a., and 5.c.: Added requirement that IUG programs be designed so students complete undergraduate degree requirements within typical time to degree for major and requirement that when undergraduate degree requirements are completed, students must apply to graduate.
    • Policy Statement 6.a.: Clarified that independent study courses cannot be double-counted for both degrees.
    • Process 3 and 4: Requires proposals to create new IUGs to include evidence of student interest, evidence that course sequencing promotes student success, and identification of a faculty member to serve as an adviser to IUG students.
  • Revised by Graduate Council, December 12, 2012.
  • Approved by Graduate Council, May 8, 1996.
    • New policy.
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