This page is designed to help you navigate important processes and procedures in the College of the Liberal Arts. Use this information as a reference, but always schedule an appointment with your academic adviser prior to acting on these procedures.
Information for students whose grade-point average is currently—or is in danger of falling—below 2.00.
Change of Campus
For students looking to change their Penn State campus.
Undergraduate degree-seeking students admitted to the University as a first-year student may begin at one of twenty Penn State campuses. All of these campuses generally provide the foundation courses required of first- and second-year students.
Permanent change of campus to University Park
- Meet with a campus representative to review criteria for changing prior to submitting a change-of-campus request.
- Initiate the change-of-campus process by using the Update Campus application found in LionPATH.
Change of campus from University Park to another Penn State Campus
A University Park Liberal Arts student who wishes to relocate to another Penn State location temporarily (one semester only) or permanently, must:
- Meet with their academic adviser.
- Make an appointment with their academic adviser.
- Initiate the change-of-campus process by using the Update Campus application found in LionPATH.
Credit by Examination
Penn State students may earn credit for a course to fulfill degree requirements by earning a grade of “C” or higher on a comprehensive examination made available through the academic unit that offers the course. This examination is a substitute for completing the usual requirements of a course. Credit by examination is at the discretion of the student’s department. Please contact the department for which you want to earn the credit to learn more.
Credit by Portfolio
Credit by portfolio is for students who feel they have gained knowledge equivalent to what they would learn in a specific course and wish to earn credit through the submission of a portfolio.
Declaring or Changing a Major
For students declaring a major for the first time, adding majors, or changing majors.
The College of the Liberal Arts requires students to gain entrance into a major at the beginning of either the student’s third or fourth semester and no later than prior to the beginning of the fifth-semester classification. A student who fails to gain entrance to a major prior to the fifth-semester classification may be required to disenroll from the college at the discretion of the dean. (policy 54-56.1)
In order to declare a major, students must meet the following criteria:
- 29.1 credits completed
- 2.00 cumulative grade-point average
- 2.00 grade-point average in courses completed toward the major
In addition to the above criteria, students interested in Economics (B.A. and B.S.) must fulfill the following additional requirements prior to declaring this major:
- ECON 102 completed with a grade of “C” or better
- ECON 104 completed with a grade of “C” or better
In addition to the above criteria, students interested in Political Science (B.S.) must fulfill the following additional requirements prior to declaring this major:
- MATH 110 or MATH 140 completed with a grade of “C” or better
- PLSC 309 completed with a grade of “B” or better
In addition to the above criteria, students interested in Psychology (B.A. and B.S.) must fulfill the following additional requirements prior to declaring this major:
- PSYCH 100 completed with a grade of “C” or better
- STAT 200/PSYCH 200 completed with a grade of “C” or better
- 3 credits of GQ (not including STAT 200) completed with a grade of “C” or better
- 3 credits of GS (not including PSYCH 100) completed with a grade of “C” or better
In addition to the above criteria, students interested in Social Data Analytics (B.S.) must fulfill the following additional requirements prior to declaring this major:
- MATH 140, MATH 141, and CMPSC 131 and CMPSC 132 completed with a “C” or better
- PLSC 309 completed with a “B” or better
These criteria can generally be met in the first year of study. To begin the declaration/change of major process a student must meet with an academic adviser in that department to review the requirements. You can then update your major using the “Update Academics” feature in LionPATH.
Declaring or Canceling a Concurrent Major
For students who want to declare or cancel an additional major.
Adding a Concurrent Major
- A student requests concurrent major(s) through student self-service. (For Sequential Majors, see #4 below.
- The deadline for filing for a concurrent degree is the end of the late drop period of a student’s final semester.
- Administrative approval from each college involved is required and will be indicated in the system of record.
- Approval for a sequential major is granted through the approval for re-enrollment in that major.
- The student will be assigned to an academic adviser in each major.
- The student is responsible for creating a workable plan, approved by all academic advisers involved to ensure requirements for all majors are met. Course substitutions should also be included in this plan.
- Students must fulfill all of the General Education requirements for at least one major listed on their record as well as all General Education courses listed as major or option requirements for their other degree(s).
- Students enrolled in two or more bachelor of arts degrees must fulfill all of the bachelor of arts requirements for at least one major listed on their record.
- For a sequential major, the student and academic adviser should develop a list of courses required to complete the new major and show how the courses from the first major will be used.
Canceling a Concurrent Major
- Students wishing to cancel an approved concurrent major are responsible for removing the major from their record through student self-service or through the department of the cancelled major. Prior to cancellation, students should consult with their academic adviser in order to understand any potential consequences.
- The deadline for canceling a concurrent degree is the end of the late drop period of a student’s final semester.
- When a student cancels an approved concurrent major, the dean of the college will notify the other concurrent college(s) and the Registrar’s office.
Declaring or Changing a Minor
Students wishing to declare a minor must use the “Update Academics” feature in LionPATH. Intent to pursue a minor may be declared after you have achieved at least third-semester classification (29.1 credits) or have been accepted into your major, but prior to the end of the late drop deadline of your final semester. View a list of current minors at the University.
Exceptions to Degree Requirements
For students seeking permission to deviate in any way from academic program requirements. This may include students who did not complete their first-year seminar requirement.
Per Senate Policy 82-60, you are expected to satisfy all University degree requirements that were in effect when you first scheduled a class after your admission or most recent re-enrollment as a degree candidate. Requirements for a program, such as major, minor, option, honors, etc., are those in effect at the time of your admission or most recent re-enrollment into that program.
If you wish to deviate in any way from program requirements, you must have permission from the college’s dean. Permission should be obtained prior to enrollment in the course being proposed for substitution. Meet with your academic adviser to discuss your request and to learn how to get permission. If your academic adviser believes that the request is appropriate and meets the intent of the requirement, they will submit an electronic course substitution request. An email will be sent to both you and your academic adviser once a decision has been made.
Guidelines for Considering Course Substitution
- The course to be substituted should be in the same area as the required course or in a closely related area.
- Substitution of a course for a previously failed required course is seldom granted.
- Failure to schedule a required course is not sufficient reason for granting permission for a course substitution. *
First-Year Seminar Substitution Process
Students in the College of the Liberal Arts who do not complete a first-year seminar in their first year at Penn State must meet with their academic adviser to propose a course substitute to fulfill the degree requirement.
- Must be successfully completed with a final grade
- Must be a small class (fewer than fifty students)
- Cannot be a large lecture with a small breakouts
To have a course reviewed for substitution, you must meet with your academic adviser and detail how the course satisfies at least three of the active learning elements below.
- Active use of writing, speaking, and other forms of self-expression
- Opportunity for information gathering, synthesis, and analysis in solving problems
- Engagement in collaborative learning and teamwork
- Application of intercultural and international competence
- Dialogue pertaining to social behavior, community, and scholarly conduct
Grade forgiveness permits a student to repeat a course in which they received a grade of “D” or “F”. If a grade forgiveness request is approved, the original course still will appear on the student’s official transcript, but will not earn credit or count toward the student’s term or cumulative grade-point average. Students can access the Grade Forgiveness Request form online in LionPATH by clicking on the Academic Records button on the right side, and then clicking on the Grade Forgiveness button on the left side.
Leaving the University
Students should carefully consider all the consequences to leaving Penn State before they complete the process. There are ramifications for financial aid, loan repayments, and health insurance. Consult with your academic adviser if you are considering leaving the University.
Major/Minor Combination Restrictions
Students cannot have the following combinations:
- You cannot earn a minor in the same area for which you are majoring.
- A B.A. in English and a Creative Writing minor are not allowed.
- You cannot double major in any combination with these three: Political Science, International Politics, and Social Data Analytics.
- Adding a Global Security minor to an International Politics major with the National Security option is not allowed.
- You cannot minor in Political Science with an International Politics or Social Data Analytics major.
- A B.A. in Russian with an EEST minor is only allowed if Russia is not the language.
A student petition is a formal request for a waiver of a Faculty Senate Policy. Completed submissions should be submitted to Liberal Arts Student Records via email at email@example.com. Our staff will look over the petition and make sure that all of the necessary documentation is included. Our college representative will review and make a recommendation before the petition is forwarded to the Senate office to be reviewed by the Senate Subcommittee on Academic Standards. Students can expect a decision within four to six weeks from the Faculty Senate Office. An email will be sent to the Penn State email address on file.
Students who wish to return to Penn State as an undergraduate student after missing at least one fall or spring semester may submit a request to do so. The process for returning is based on a student’s status when they were last enrolled.
Transfer Credits for Graduating Students
In order to be included on the College of the Liberal Arts graduation list and program, all credits from courses taken at institutions other than Penn State (transfer credits) must be taken prior to the semester of graduation. In addition, the credits must appear on the student’s Penn State record prior to the first day of the month preceding the month of graduation. For spring graduation, transfer credits must post to the student’s record by no later than April 1. The deadline is July 1 for summer graduation and November 1 for fall graduation. For more information, please consult your academic adviser.
Walking at Commencement
Due to the large number of graduating students each spring, we are unable to accommodate “walkers” at spring commencement ceremonies. We will be at capacity restrictions in the Bryce Jordan Center with our graduates, so only our students who are officially set to graduate will be permitted to participate in the ceremony.