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Minor - Research Master's



To define the requirements for a minor in a research master’s degree program (M.A. or M.S.).


Academic Goal

To allow students pursuing a research master’s degree (M.A. or M.S.) to be properly recognized for a formal program of study in a field related to, but separate from their graduate major program.



All students in research master’s degree programs (M.A., M.S.).

Policy Statement

  1. A master’s minor must require a minimum of 6 credits at the 400-, 500-, or 800-level. At least 50% of the credits must be at the 500 level.
    1. All credits must be approved by the graduate major program and graduate minor program heads, who are responsible for ensuring that the student has completed the required number of credits in courses distinct from the student's primary academic and (if relevant) research focus regardless of the course abbreviation/prefix, appropriate to earn a distinct minor credential. 
    2. Credits required for a graduate minor program may be counted towards the student’s graduate major degree requirements. A graduate program’s policy restricting the double counting of credits must be approved through the Graduate Council curricular review process and be stated in the graduate program’s Graduate Bulletin listing. 
  2. A minor may be taken in one of the approved graduate degree programs offered at Penn State, or in one of the stand-alone graduate minors approved by Graduate Council.
  3. A student may not pursue more than three minors while completing their master’s degree program. If a student pursues more than one minor, each minor must have a separate group of courses to support it (i.e., none of the courses may be applied to more than one minor).
  4. The student’s adviser or the graduate major program may recommend a master’s student to pursue a minor.
  5. A master’s student seeking a minor must have the approval of their graduate major program head (in consultation with their adviser, if assigned) and the graduate minor program head.
  6. The graduate minor program head is responsible for advising students on courses to be taken in the minor field, approving those courses, and certifying that the minor requirements have been met.


Requests to add a graduate minor to a student's record must be approved by the student's Graduate Program Head and minor Graduate Program Head, and submitted to Graduate Enrollment Services.

While Graduate Enrollment Services maintains a record of the approved minor program of study, the responsibility for verifying the student meets these requirements for the minor lies with the graduate minor program head.  


P1 - Adding a Minor - Research Master's


insert_drive_file Request to Add Graduate Minor

Further Information

Graduate Council-Approved Stand-Alone Graduate Minors

Revision History

  • Approved by Graduate Council, March 15, 2023. Effective date: Fall 2023 (8/14/2023)
    • Policy revised extensively to align with other graduate minor policies. Major changes include designating responsibility for identifying the courses to earn the minor to the graduate major and minor program heads, clarifying allowance for double counting of credits between the major and minor programs, and clarifying approvals needed for a student to pursue a minor. 
  • Adapted from Graduate Bulletin: July 2018
This page was generated on September 24, 2023 at 7:33 AM local time. This may not be the most recent version of this page. Check the Penn State Graduate School website for updates.