Internet Explorer Detected

The Penn State Graduate School website is best experienced in Firefox or Google Chrome. It is highly recommended that you use an alternative browser.


Minor – Professional Doctorate



To define the requirements for a minor in a professional doctoral degree program.


Academic Goal

To allow professional doctoral students the option of pursuing a minor course of study in a field related to, but separate from, their graduate major program.



All students in professional doctoral degree programs.

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. A professional doctoral minor must require a minimum of 15 credits at the 400-, 500-, or 800-level. At least 50% of the credits must be at the 500- or 800-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 professional doctoral degree. 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. If the student received a master’s minor in the same field as being proposed for a doctoral minor, the 6 credits taken for the master’s minor cannot count toward the doctoral minor. However, credits earned in the master’s program over and above those applied to either the master’s minor or major may be applied to the doctoral minor.
  5. At least one Graduate Faculty member from the minor field must be on the candidate’s professional doctoral committee (see GCAC-702 Professional Doctoral Committee Composition - Professional Doctorate). 
  6. Students must be admitted to the minor prior to scheduling the comprehensive examination. 
  7. The culminating experience adviser, the professional doctoral committee, or the graduate major program may recommend a professional doctoral student to pursue a minor.
  8. A professional doctoral student seeking a minor must have the approval their major program head (in consultation with the culminating experience adviser, if assigned, and the professional doctoral committee, if appointed) and the graduate minor program head.
  9. 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 all requirements for the minor 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 - Professional Doctorate


insert_drive_file Request to Add Graduate Minor

Further Information

List of 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. 
  • Approved by Graduate Council, Nov. 11, 2020. Effective date: Fall 2021 (08/16/2021).
    • New policy.
This page was generated on April 21, 2024 at 5:27 AM local time. This may not be the most recent version of this page. Check the Penn State Graduate School website for updates.