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Establishing Competency in a Major


Establishing Competency in a Major in the College of the Liberal Arts When a student is awarded a degree, it means that the faculty and Dean of the college can certify that the student has achieved competence in a specific discipline. To receive this certification students must complete enough coursework for the faculty to evaluate competency. This policy outlines the requirements for establishing competency in a major from the College of the Liberal Arts.

  1. Students enrolled in, or hoping to enroll in, majors of the College of the Liberal Arts are expected to attend the University Park Campus once they have earned a total of 60 credits. (Faculty Senate policy 37-30) We believe that it is critical for students to be at University Park with enough time to develop mentoring relationships with their faculty advisors, to choose from a broad selection of classes in the major, and to interact with other students in that major. Students who do not transfer to University Park must choose a major at another location and change their college of enrollment to that location.
  2. No more than 91 credits earned while enrolled at another Penn State College or at another institution may be applied to degrees granted by the College of the Liberal Arts. (Faculty Senate policy 37-00).
  3. 24 of the credits related to the primary area of study stipulated under “requirements for the major” must be completed at University Park.
  4. Senior seminars or capstone courses required for the major must be completed at University Park. 
  5. All courses used to meet requirements for the major must be completed with at least a grade of C.
  6. Common-numbered courses (research –94, internship –95, independent study –96, special topics –97 and –98, and education abroad –99) may not automatically count toward the major. Students wishing to use these courses to meet major requirements should confirm their applicability with an adviser prior to enrolling in the courses.
  7. All course substitution requests, whether for a common-numbered course or any other course, must be accompanied by documentation indicating that the content and evaluated work is comparable to the required course category. In other words, the substitution must have similar or greater scope and depth than the course choices specified in the required category.
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