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Classification of Students



To define the different classifications for admission to the Graduate School.


Academic Goal

To ensure that The Graduate School offers a variety of educational opportunities that enables students to meet their varying academic goals as they pursue their graduate studies.



All prospective and current graduate students.

A graduate student may be admitted as a degree student, a certificate student, or a nondegree student, depending upon the student's course of study and credential sought.

Policy Statement

  1. A degree student is pursuing a graduate degree at Penn State and has been formally admitted for graduate studies in a particular graduate program.
  2. A certificate student is engaged in a program of study leading to a postbaccalaureate or graduate credit certificate.
  3. A nondegree student may take graduate courses, but is not enrolled in a graduate degree program. (See GCAC-304 Nondegree Admission).
    1. Certification students (e.g., students pursuing post-baccalaureate teacher certification by the Pennsylvania Department of Education) are classified as nondegree students. Certification students have the same University privileges and responsibilities as graduate degree students.


Students who wish to change their classification should consult the Office of Graduate Enrollment Services.

Revision History

Last Graduate Bulletin update: August 2016

This page was generated on June 16, 2024 at 6:06 PM local time. This may not be the most recent version of this page. Check the Penn State Graduate School website for updates.