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Residency Requirement - Professional Doctorate



To define residency requirements for residential professional doctorate degrees awarded by Penn State.


Academic Goal

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



All students enrolled in a residential 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. While coursework is important, to ensure that students are inculcated with the full scope of knowledge, skills, and professional attributes specific to their discipline they must participate in a period of concentrated study and dedicated time spent engaging in the scholarly-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 resident 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. Ideally, residence is satisfied by students being registered full-time for at least one semester at the Penn State campus offering the doctoral degree in the student’s graduate major program.
    2. For part time students, residency can be met by:
      1. Attending a 5 day on-campus residency; or
      2. Attending multiple shorter on-campus residencies that combined add to a minimum of 5 days.
    3. In exceptional cases Graduate Council will consider other approaches to meet this Residency Requirement when accompanied by a clear and compelling justification through the Graduate Council curricular review process.

Further Information

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

Revision History

  • Approved by Graduate Council, Jan. 20, 2021. Effective date: Fall 2021 (08/16/2021).
    • New policy.
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