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GCAC-214 Collaborative Graduate Education Programs with Institutions Outside of the United States


Background and General Model-Specific Information

Integrated undergraduate-graduate (IUG) study provides several advantages for qualifying students: (1) It permits coherent planning of studies through the graduate degree, with advising informed not only by the requirements of the baccalaureate program, but also the longer-range goals of the graduate degree; (2) For most students, the total time required to reach completion of the higher degree will be shortened; (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; and (5) While still undergraduates, highly qualified students with IUG status benefit from their association with graduate students with similar levels of intensity of interest and commitment parallel their own.

Participation in IUG programs is appropriate for some, but not all students who formally meet the minimum standards for admission to the graduate program. In particular, minimal performance in the graduate degree portion of an IUG program serves no particular purpose, and marginally prepared students undertake such a program at great risk of failure. Consequently, only a small subset of undergraduates who have demonstrated the high level of academic achievement, maturity and commitment necessary to be successful, should be considered for the program, given the greater demands of an IUG. Such greater selectivity of IUGs is reflected in the small proportion of students who enroll each year in Penn State’s internal IUG programs (e.g., less than 3% of those undergraduate students enrolled in Penn State’s University Scholars Program, a population of students who are already highly selected, pursue an IUG).

Whereas all of the above information applies equally to students in a collaborative international IUG degree program (CI-IUGDP), additional benefits and challenges exist when a student is pursuing their undergraduate degree from an institution outside the U.S., as described earlier in this document.

Given the greater demands required of a student to be successful in a CI-IUGDP, such program proposals must articulate clearly the mechanisms for evaluating students for admission and for monitoring and mentoring their progress in the program. Although there are many advantages to CI-IUGDPs, 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 program of study. Proposals for CI-IUGDPs should include a draft version of the section of the Graduate Student Handbook related to the CI-IUGDP that will provide guidance for prospective students, as indicated below.

Course syllabi, with detailed information regarding course requirements and content, must be shared among institutions to form the collaborative plan of study and coordinate credit transfer.

Periodic Review of the CI-IUGDP Agreement

The CI-IUGDP agreement, signed by both institutions, should be reviewed periodically (e.g., annually) by representatives from both institutions. Any changes or modifications (beyond updating course information) must be approved by both institutions.

Revision History

Approved by The Graduate School, Aug. 29, 2018

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