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University Employee Credit Status



To define credit load limits and academic status for University employees enrolled in graduate courses.


Academic Goal

To allow for the completion of graduate course work by a University employee while assuring success in both their academic and professional endeavors.



All University employees enrolled in graduate courses.

Policy Statement

  1. University staff employees who want to take graduate courses must first be admitted to the Graduate School as a degree student, a certificate student, or a nondegree student. (See GCAC-302 Classification of Students).
  2. A full-time employee of the University may schedule up to 16 credits per academic year, either for credit or audit.
  3. No academic employee above the rank of instructor or research assistant or equivalent may receive from the University a master’s degree or doctoral degree in any graduate program where the faculty member has membership, teaches courses, serves on master’s or doctoral committees, or has other supervisory responsibilities that might give rise to conflicts of interest. The faculty member must inform their department head of their intention to pursue a graduate degree at Penn State.
  4. Full-time University employees enrolled in a Ph.D. program:
    1. may meet Ph.D. degree residence requirements by registering for 6 credits per semester and by obtaining certification from the department head as being principally engaged in activities directly relating to their degree objectives.
    2. who is post-Comprehensive Examination may not register for SUBJ 601 (i.e., full-time thesis or dissertation preparation), but may register for SUBJ 611 (part-time thesis or dissertation preparation).

Revision History

  • Approved by Graduate Council, November 13, 2019. Effective immediately.
    • Revised to remove references to an eight-week summer session, which no longer exists.
  • Adapted from Graduate Bulletin: June 2018.
  • Updated 4/15/2012.
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