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Recent Actions of Graduate Council

POLICY CHANGE - EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY
GCAC-501 Credit Load
Approved by Graduate Council, March 13, 2024
Effective date: March 13, 2024

  • Policy Statement 2: Revised to replace minimum number of credits required for full-time status (i.e., at least 9credits) with reference to University administrative policy N-5.

POLICY CHANGE - EFFECTIVE TBD
GCAC-642 Culminating Experience - Reseach Masters
Approved by Graduate Council, November 15, 2023
Effective date: TBD

  • Policy revised extensively to clarify standards for the three approved types of culminating experience for a research master's degree. Major changes include indicating that programs may set their own culminating experience requirements (e.g., committees, additional readers, defenses, presentations) but must specify these requirements in their student handbooks, requiring that three members of the Graduate Faculty approve theses and scholarly papers, and specifying that candidates enrolled in a dual-title master's program must integrate the concepts from the dual-title into their culminating experience work product.

POLICY CHANGE - EFFECTIVE TBD
GCAC-305 - Admission Requirements for International Students
Approved by Graduate Council, October 18, 2023
Effective date: TBD

  • Policy Statement #2 reorganized and revised to expand allowable scores for provisional admission.

POLICY CHANGE - EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY
GCAC-630 Admission - Research Master's
Approved by Graduate Council, October 18, 2023
Effective date: October 18, 2023

  • Minor updates for consistency with other graduate minor policies.

POLICY CHANGE - EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY
GCAC-631 Degree Requirements - Research Master's
Approved by Graduate Council, October 18, 2023
Effective date: October 18, 2023

  • Minor updates for consistency with other graduate minor policies.

POLICY CHANGE - EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY
GCAC-632 Time Limitation - Research Master's
Approved by Graduate Council, October 18, 2023
Effective date: October 18, 2023

  • Minor updates for consistency with other graduate minor policies.

POLICY CHANGE - EFFECTIVE FALL 2023
GCAC-611 Minor - Research Doctorate
Approved by Graduate Council, March 15, 2023
Effective date: Fall 2023 (August 14, 2023).

  • Minor updates for consistency with other graduate minor policies.

POLICY CHANGE - EFFECTIVE FALL 2023
GCAC-641 Minor - Research Master's
Approved by Graduate Council, March 15, 2023
Effective date: Fall 2023 (August 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.

POLICY CHANGE - EFFECTIVE FALL 2023
GCAC-709 Minor - Professional Doctorate
Approved by Graduate Council, March 15, 2023
Effective date: Fall 2023 (August 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. 

POLICY CHANGE - EFFECTIVE FALL 2023
GCAC-741 Minor - Professional Master's
Approved by Graduate Council, March 15, 2023
Effective date: Fall 2023 (August 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. 

POLICY CHANGE - EFFECTIVE SUMMER 2023
GCAC-606 Comprehensive Examination - Research Doctorate
Approved by Graduate Council, January 18, 2023
Effective date: Summer 2023 (May 8, 2023).

  • Process Statement 6: Revised so that allowable delivery modes for the exam are determined by the graduate program with appeal process through the college/school. Minor editorial changes throughout.

POLICY CHANGE - EFFECTIVE SUMMER 2023
GCAC-608 Final Oral Examination - Research Doctorate
Approved by Graduate Council, January 18, 2023
Effective date: Summer 2023 (May 8, 2023).

  • Process Statement 6: Revised so that allowable delivery modes for the exam are determined by the graduate program with appeal process through the college/school. Minor editorial changes throughout.

POLICY CHANGE - EFFECTIVE FALL 2022
GCAC-208 Dual-Title Graduate Degree Programs
Approved by Graduate Council, March 16, 2022
Effective date: Fall 2022 (August 15, 2022).

  • Revisions include clarifying the allowance for double counting of credits between the dual-title and major programs and requiring a minimum of one graduate course in the dual-title under its own course abbreviation that is required for all students. Further editorial revisions throughout.


POLICY CHANGE - EFFECTIVE FALL 2022
GCAC-209 Concurrent Degrees
Approved by Graduate Council, March 16, 2022
Effective date: Fall 2022 (August 15, 2022).

  • Revisions include reducing the minimum GPA requirement for students to enter a concurrent degree from 3.5 to 3.2, extending the deadline to be admitted from 75% of credits required for the home degree to 80%, and establishing a limit of 8 years for completion of both degrees. Further editorial revisions throughout.


POLICY CHANGE - EFFECTIVE FALL 2022
GCAC-210 Integrated Undergraduate-Graduate (IUG) Degree Programs
Approved by Graduate Council, May 4, 2022
Effective date: Fall 2022 (August 15, 2022).

  • Revised Policy Statement 6 to change the allowance for double-counted credits from “up to 12 credits” to “40% of the required credits” for the master’s degree with a maximum 15 credits double-counted. 


POLICY CHANGE - EFFECTIVE FALL 2022
GCAC-606 Comprehensive Examination - Research Doctorate
Approved by Graduate Council, May 4, 2022
Effective date: Fall 2022 (August 15, 2022).

  • Revised Policy Statement 6 to clarify members who must be physically present at the examination, change the request for remote participation by additional members to a notification, and encourage use of audio-visual technology for remote participation.


POLICY CHANGE - EFFECTIVE FALL 2022
GCAC-608 Final Oral Examination - Research Doctorate
Approved by Graduate Council, May 4, 2022
Effective date: Fall 2022 (August 15, 2022).

  • Revised to Policy Statement 5 to clarify members who must be physically present at the examination, change the request for remote participation by additional members to a notification, and encourage use of audio-visual technology for remote participation.


POLICY CHANGE - EFFECTIVE FALL 2022
GCAC-611 Minor - Research Doctorate
Approved by Graduate Council, May 4, 2022
Effective date: Fall 2022 (August 15, 2022).

  • Policy Statement 1.a.: Revised to clarify that graduate major and minor program heads are responsible for determining courses that count toward the minor.
  • Policy Statement 1.b.: Added a statement to specify that credits used toward a graduate minor may also be counted towards the student’s graduate major requirements with restrictions on this double-counting of credits approved through the Graduate Council curricular review process.
  • Policy Statement 3: Revised to clarify that student’s may pursue no more than three minors while completing their Ph.D. program. Students may have pursued other minor as part of other graduate program before or after completion of the Ph.D. program.
  • Policy Statement 6: Moved statement from Process to Policy and revised to require admission to the minor prior to scheduling the comprehensive examination.

POLICY CHANGE - EFFECTIVE SUMMER 2022
GCAC-101 Graduate Faculty Membership
Approved by Graduate Council, April 13, 2022
Effective date: Summer 2022 (5/9/2022).

  • Revisions include expanding college Graduate Faculty Evaluation Committees (GFNEC) to allow non-tenure-line members; designating GFNEC responsibility to develop specific criteria for nomination to the Graduate Faculty and Approval to Teach graduate courses; streamlining process for nomination to tenure-line and non-tenure-line processes; allowance for non-Graduate Faculty members to teach up to 1 year at program head discretion if meeting the criteria set by the GFNEC; extending continuing Approval to Teach periods from 3 years to 4 years; and establishing a reporting process for nominations that were not advanced.

POLICY CHANGE - EFFECTIVE FALL 2021
GCAC-404 Satisfactory Scholarship
Approved by Graduate Council, Oct. 20, 2021
Effective date: Fall 2021 (11/17/2021).

  • Provisions added to include students enrolled in graduate credit certificate programs, Pennsylvania Department of Education certification programs, and non-degree graduate students.

NEW POLICY - EFFECTIVE FALL 2021
GCAC-700 Degree Requirements – Professional Doctorate
Approved by Graduate Council, May 5, 2021
Effective date: Fall 2021 (08/16/2021).


POLICY CHANGE - EFFECTIVE FALL 2021
GCAC-213 Residency and Related Policies for Off-Campus Degree Programs
Approved by Graduate Council, April 14, 2021
Effective date: Fall 2021 (08/16/2021).

  • Revised to ensure that all four degree types were addressed in the policy in a consistent way. Recommendations from the Ad Hoc Committee on Professional Doctoral Policies were incorporated. The essential elements of residency were updated.

NEW POLICY - EFFECTIVE FALL 2021
GCAC-730 Admission – Professional Master's
Approved by Graduate Council, March 17, 2021
Effective date: Fall 2021 (08/16/2021).


NEW POLICY - EFFECTIVE FALL 2021
GCAC-731 Degree Requirements – Professional Master's
Approved by Graduate Council, March 17, 2021
Effective date: Fall 2021 (08/16/2021).


NEW POLICY - EFFECTIVE FALL 2021
GCAC-732 Time Limitation – Professional Master's
Approved by Graduate Council, March 17, 2021
Effective date: Fall 2021 (08/16/2021).


NEW POLICY - EFFECTIVE FALL 2021
GCAC-741 Master's Minor – Professional Master's
Approved by Graduate Council, March 17, 2021
Effective date: Fall 2021 (08/16/2021).


NEW POLICY - EFFECTIVE FALL 2021
GCAC-742 Culminating Experience – Professional Master's
Approved by Graduate Council, March 17, 2021
Effective date: Fall 2021 (08/16/2021).


POLICY CHANGE - EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY
GCAC-604 Qualifying Examination - Research Doctorate
Approved by Graduate Council, February 17, 2021
Effective date: Feb. 17, 2021

  • Policy Statement 2.a.iii.2: Added a requirement that graduate programs must determine a timeline for retakes.
  • Process 1.: Moved from the Policy Statement to the Process section.
  • Process 1.c.iv.: Moved from the Procedure to the Process section.
  • Process 2 and 3: Moved from the Policy Statement to the Process section.
  • Process 3, 3.a., and 3.b.: Revised to add that the student’s adviser must receive the report on the Qualifying Examination and to clarify the timeline for reporting the examination results.

NEW POLICY - EFFECTIVE FALL 2021
GCAC-702 Professional Doctoral Committee Composition – Professional Doctorate
Approved by Graduate Council, Feb. 17, 2021
Effective date: Fall 2021 (08/16/2021).


NEW POLICY - EFFECTIVE FALL 2021
GCAC-704 Qualifying Examination – Professional Doctorate
Approved by Graduate Council, Feb. 17, 2021
Effective date: Fall 2021 (08/16/2021).

New policy.


NEW POLICY - EFFECTIVE FALL 2021
GCAC-701 Residency Requirement - Professional Doctorate
Approved by Graduate Council, Jan. 20, 2021
Effective date: Fall 2021 (08/16/2021).

New policy.


POLICY CHANGE - EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY
GCAC-606 Comprehensive Examination - Research Doctorate
Approved by Graduate Council, Dec. 16, 2020
Effective date: Dec. 16, 2020

Added a requirement for a timeline under which retakes must be completed to Policy Statement 5.a.iii.2.


POLICY CHANGE - EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY
GCAC-608 Final Oral Examination - Research Doctorate
Approved by Graduate Council, Dec. 16, 2020
Effective date: Dec. 16, 2020

Added a requirement for a timeline under which retakes must be completed to Policy Statement 5.a.iii.2.


POLICY CHANGE - EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY
GCAC-610 Time Limitation - Research Doctorate
Approved by Graduate Council, Dec. 16, 2020
Effective date: Dec. 16, 2020

Revised to clarify that approved leaves of absence are not counted towards the time limitation. Removed reference to extensions. A Procedures document will be added with details on how to request extensions.


NEW POLICY - EFFECTIVE FALL 2021
GCAC-706 Comprehensive Examination – Professional Doctorate
Approved by Graduate Council, Dec. 16, 2020
Effective date: Fall 2021 (08/16/2021).

New policy.


NEW POLICY - EFFECTIVE FALL 2021
GCAC-707 Professional Doctoral Culminating Experience – Professional Doctorate
Approved by Graduate Council, Dec. 16, 2020
Effective date: Fall 2021 (08/16/2021).

New policy.


NEW POLICY - EFFECTIVE FALL 2021
GCAC-708 Time Limitation – Professional Doctorate
Approved by Graduate Council, Dec. 16, 2020
Effective date: Fall 2021 (08/16/2021).

New policy.


POLICY CHANGE - EFFECTIVE FALL 2021
GCAC-309 Transfer Credit
Approved by Graduate Council, Nov. 11, 2020
Effective date: Fall 2021 (08/16/2021).

  • Provisions specific to the D.Ed. and D.M.A. were removed as a result of approval of professional doctoral degree policies GCAC-700-GCAC-709.

POLICY CHANGE - EFFECTIVE FALL 2021
GCAC-514 Continuity of Registration and Resume Study
Approved by Graduate Council, Nov. 11, 2020
Effective date: Fall 2021 (08/16/2021).

  • Policy Statement 1.a. was revised as a result of approval of professional doctoral degree policies GCAC-700-GCAC-709.

NEW POLICY - EFFECTIVE FALL 2021
GCAC-703 Professional Doctoral Committee Responsibilities – Professional Doctorate
Approved by Graduate Council, Nov. 11, 2020
Effective date: Fall 2021 (08/16/2021).

New policy.


NEW POLICY - EFFECTIVE FALL 2021
GCAC-705 English Competence – Professional Doctorate
Approved by Graduate Council, Nov. 11, 2020
Effective date: Fall 2021 (08/16/2021).

New policy.


NEW POLICY - EFFECTIVE FALL 2021
GCAC-709 Professional Doctoral Minor – Professional Doctorate
Approved by Graduate Council, Nov. 11, 2020
Effective date: Fall 2021 (08/16/2021).

New policy.


POLICY CHANGE - EFFECTIVE FALL 2020
GCAC-606 Comprehensive Examination - Research Doctorate
Approved by Graduate Council, May 6, 2020
Effective date: Fall 2020 (08/17/2020).

This policy was revised extensively.


POLICY CHANGE - EFFECTIVE FALL 2020
GCAC-607 Dissertation - Research Doctorate
Approved by Graduate Council, May 6, 2020
Effective date: Fall 2020 (08/17/2020).

This policy was revised extensively.


POLICY CHANGE - EFFECTIVE FALL 2020
GCAC-608 Final Oral Examination - Research Doctorate
Approved by Graduate Council, May 6, 2020
Effective date: Fall 2020 (08/17/2020).

This policy was revised extensively.


POLICY CHANGE - EFFECTIVE FALL 2020
GCAC-210 Integrated Undergraduate-Graduate (IUG) Degree Programs
Approved by Graduate Council, March 18, 2020
Effective date: Fall 2020 (8/17/2020)

  • Policy Statements 2 and 3: Revised timing and requirements for admission to an IUG.
  • Policy Statement 4.b.: Revised requirement to submit plan of study in person.
  • Policy Statement 5, 5.a., and 5.c.: Added requirement that IUG programs be designed so students complete undergraduate degree requirements within typical time to degree for major and requirement that when undergraduate degree requirements are completed, students must apply to graduate.
  • Policy Statement 6.a.: Clarified that independent study courses cannot be double-counted for both degrees.
  • Process 3 and 4: Requires proposals to create new IUGs to include evidence of student interest, evidence that course sequencing promotes student success, and identification of a faculty member to serve as an adviser to IUG students.

POLICY CHANGE - EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY
GCAC-305 Admission Requirements for International Students
Approved by Graduate Council, Feb. 12, 2020
Effective date: Feb. 12, 2020

Policy Statement #1 was revised to match GCAC-301 Qualifications for Admission. Policy Statement #2 was revised to add more detail on exemptions from the TOEFL/IELTS requirement. A procedure document was added: Admission Requirements for International Students - Procedure.


POLICY CHANGE - EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY
GCAC-504 Visiting or Auditing a Course
Approved by Graduate Council, Nov. 13, 2019
Effective date: Nov. 13, 2019

Revised to remove statements that are no longer correct since the transition to LionPATH.


POLICY CHANGE - EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY
GCAC-510 University Employee Credit Status
Approved by Graduate Council, Nov. 13, 2019
Effective date: Nov. 13, 2019

Revised to remove references to an eight-week summer session, which no longer exists.


POLICY CHANGE - EFFECTIVE FALL 2019
GCAC-208 Dual-Title Graduate Degree Programs
Approved by Graduate Council, May 1, 2019
Effective date: Fall 2019 (8/12/2019)

This policy was revised as a result of revisions to GCAC-604, which gave dual-title graduate programs additional options concerning the timing of the Qualifying Examination.


POLICY CHANGE - EFFECTIVE FALL 2019
GCAC-604 Qualifying Examination - Research Doctorate
Approved by Graduate Council, May 1, 2019
Effective date: Fall 2019 (8/12/2019)

This policy was revised extensively.


POLICY CHANGE - EFFECTIVE FALL 2019
GCAC-603 Ph.D. Committee Responsibilities - Research Doctorate
Approved by Graduate Council, February 13, 2019
Effective date: Fall 2019 (8/12/2019)

This policy was revised extensively.


POLICY CHANGE - EFFECTIVE FALL 2019
GCAC-501 Credit Load
Approved by Graduate Council, January 16, 2019
Effective date: Fall 2019 (8/12/2019)

The maximum credit load per semester for students in a professional degree program was changed from 15 to 21 credits. The revisions also clarify that a college or school may set a lower credit limit for their unit. Research degree students (those students in M.A., M.S., or Ph.D. programs) are still limited to 15 credits per semester.


POLICY CHANGE - EFFECTIVE FALL 2019
GCAC-213 Residency and Related Policies for Off-Campus Degree Programs
Approved by Graduate Council, January 16, 2019
Effective date: Fall 2019 (8/12/2019)

The requirement for a 3-year report to Graduate Council for new off-site and online programs was eliminated. The requested information will now be submitted and reviewed as part of the Graduate School’s regular three-year graduate program review cycle.


POLICY CHANGE - EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY
GCAC-101 Graduate Faculty Membership

Revised to remove statements that conflict with Graduate Council Bylaws. Revisions clarify that all categories of members of the Graduate Faculty are eligible to be elected to Graduate Council as long as they meet the Qualifications listed in the Graduate Council Bylaws, Article I, Section C.


POLICY CHANGE - EFFECTIVE SPRING 2019
GCAC-605 English Competence - Research Doctorate
Approved by Graduate Council, October 17, 2018
Effective date: Spring 2019 (12/17/2018)

Minor revisions were made to clarify that (1) programs must describe their procedures for assessing English competence in their handbooks; (2) an oral component must be included in the assessment; (3) AEOCPT, TOEFL, and/or IELTS scores are not sufficient to assess English competence; and (4) programs must document the assessment of English competence when reporting the results of the Qualifying Examination.


POLICY CHANGE - EFFECTIVE FALL 2018
GCAC-602 Dissertation Committee Formation, Composition, and Review - Research Doctorate
Approved by Graduate Council, May 2, 2018

This policy was revised extensively. Note that the name change from "Candidacy Examination" to "Qualifying Examination" was approved as part of this policy change.


REVIEWED - EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY
GCAC-601 Residency Requirement - Research Doctorate
Reviewed by Graduate Council, May 2, 2018

This policy was reviewed by Graduate Council, but no substantive changes to the policy were made.


APPROVED - EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY
Guidelines for Research Master's (M.A. and M.S.) Degree Proposals
Approved by the Committee on Programs and Courses, Feb. 15, 2018

All new program and program change proposals submitted must include a description of how programs that include an M.A. or M.S. will meet these requirements. These guidelines have been added to the Graduate Program Proposal Procedures page.


APPROVED - EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY
Recommended Practices in Graduate Education
Approved by Graduate Council, Feb. 14, 2018

This document suggests examples of recommended practices in each of three core areas for all of the key participants in graduate student education. Programs are encouraged to use these suggestions as a starting point to develop a set of recommended practices that meets the needs of their students.


POLICY CHANGE - EFFECTIVE FALL 2017
GCAC-101 Graduate Faculty Membership
Approved by Graduate Council, May 3, 2017

The Graduate Faculty Membership policy was revised to include a new Category of membership, Category Q. In the Graduate Faculty Membership Policy, under Categories of Membership in the Graduate Faculty, a section for Category Q Membership was added (Section 1.b.). This section defines the expected duties and minimum qualifications of a Category Q member and states that only one member of a Ph.D. dissertation committee can be a Category Q member of the Graduate Faculty. The nomination forms for all categories of membership in the Graduate Faculty were updated.


POLICY CHANGE - EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY
GCAC-204 Graduate Course Definitions – 500- vs. 800-Level Courses
Approved by Graduate Council, March 15, 2017

The definitions of 500- and 800-level courses were revised to provide more detail about the distinction between the two categories.


POLICY CHANGE - EFFECTIVE FALL 2017
GCAC-642 Culminating Experience - Research Master's
Approved by Graduate Council, Dec. 14, 2016

The requirements for the culminating experience for the M.A. and M.S. were revised to add a third possibility: either a thesis based upon original research in the field; a scholarly paper or essay that is research-oriented; or a capstone course that includes a work product which demonstrates evidence of analytical thinking and synthesis of knowledge in the field of study. The transcript for all students graduating with an M.S. or M.A. degree will be notated to reflect the applicable culminating experience. Programs may offer one, two, or all three options, subject to approval of the Graduate Council Joint Curricular Committee.


NEW POLICY - EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY
GCAC-201 Scholarly and Professional Goals for All Graduate Degree Students
Approved by Graduate Council, April 13, 2016

These broad, overarching educational goals were endorsed by Graduate Council to provide a framework for graduate education policies across all of Penn State's graduate programs, for both research and professional degrees, and at all degree levels.


POLICY CHANGE - EFFECTIVE FALL 2016
GCAC-209 Concurrent Degrees
Approved by Graduate Council, Feb. 17, 2016

This policy was revised extensively.

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