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Residency Requirement - Professional Doctoral Degrees



To describe residency requirements for all professional doctorate degrees awarded by Penn State.


Academic Goal

To ensure that for a period of time during their studies, all professional doctoral students are immersed in the scholarly life of their disciplinary community.



All students enrolled in any program of study leading to a professional doctoral degree.

Completion of a doctoral degree requires demonstrated mastery of a body of knowledge, a set of skills, and evidence of embodying essential professional attributes. Only the most rudimentary of these can be learned or demonstrated through coursework or remote study. Doctoral degree programs must therefore ensure that students are inculcated with the full scope of knowledge, skills and professional attributes specific to their discipline by participating in a period of concentrated study and dedicated time spent engaging in academic pursuits in the scholarly, research-intensive environment of the University in the close company of faculty members and other doctoral trainees.
Professional Doctoral Degree Program
An integrated program of study combined with understanding of research literature to support application of knowledge to practice at the highest level, culminating in a project, portfolio, or performance that demonstrates expertise in professional practice. Students successfully completing a professional doctoral degree program are awarded the appropriate doctoral degree; professional doctoral degrees at Penn State include D.Ed., D.M.A., D.N.P., and Dr.P.H.
Research Doctoral Degree Program
An integrated program of study combined with investigation of a significant problem, question, or issue in the discipline, culminating in the completion of an original scholarly contribution (in the form of a dissertation) that expands the frontiers of knowledge. Students successfully completing a research doctoral degree program are awarded Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree.

Policy Statement

  1. All professional doctoral programs must contain a period of residence to ensure the acquisition of the full scope of knowledge, skills and professional attributes specific to their discipline.
    1. Typically, residence is satisfied by students being registered full-time and engaged in academic work at the Penn State campus offering the doctoral degree in the student’s graduate major program.
    2. Graduate Council must approve a non-standard residency requirement for a professional doctoral degree (as part of the degree program proposal).

Further Information

See GCAC-213 Residency and Related Policies for Off-Campus Degree Programs for more information on the philosophy of residency.

Revision History

Adapted from the Graduate Bulletin: June 2018

This page was generated on October 24, 2020 at 5:01 PM Eastern Time.