A baccalaureate degree is an award signifying a rank or level of educational attainment. Particular types of baccalaureate degrees identify educational programs having common objectives and requirements. Degree programs may provide academic, preprofessional, or professional experiences and preparation. Majors lead to one of the following baccalaureate degrees: Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bachelor of Architecture (five–year program), Bachelor of Architectural Engineering (five-year program), Bachelor of Landscape Architecture (5-year program), Bachelor of Humanities, Bachelor of Music, Bachelor of Musical Arts, or Bachelor of Philosophy.

Each student must select a major within a baccalaureate degree type. If options are offered within a major, a student selects one. The student may also elect to enroll in a minor to supplement the major. Alternatively, the student may seek to enroll in multiple majors within the same type of baccalaureate degree or to enroll in a concurrent or sequential degree program (see Policies and Rules, 60-00). A baccalaureate program of study shall consist of no less than 120 credits. Students may elect to take courses beyond the minimum requirements of a degree program.


001-399 – General courses accepted in fulfillment of requirements for the bachelor’s degree.

400-499 – Advanced undergraduate courses open to graduate students and to juniors and seniors (students with fifth- to eighth-semester standing) and, with the special permission of the head of the department or the chairperson of the program sponsoring the course, to qualified students in earlier semesters. Courses at the 400 level are generally distinguished from courses at the 001-399 level by an increased depth, by a more mature approach, and by a greater and more independent effort on the part of the student. Where, however, the goals of the course also include breadth, rather than solely depth, the total comprehension that the course demands should set it apart from lower-level courses. (Senate Agenda Appendix D: 5/1/79)

500-699; 800-899 – Graduate level courses.

Courses in the series 500-699 and 800-899 are restricted to students registered in the Graduate School, senior undergraduate students with an average of at least 3.50, and certain other students with averages of at least 3.00 who have been granted special permission to enroll through the Office of Graduate Student Programs.

The numbers 600 (on campus) and 610 (off-campus) are available for credit in thesis research in all graduate major programs. The numbers 601 and 611 do not denote conventional courses but are used for noncredit special registration for thesis preparation by a Ph.D. candidate. (Note that 596 course numbers may not be used for thesis research work.) Registration under these numbers will maintain status as a full-time (601) or part-time (611) student.

The number 602 is reserved for Supervised Experience in College Teaching.

The number 603 is reserved for Foreign Academic Experience (1-12 credits). Foreign study and/or research approved by the graduate program for students enrolled in a foreign university constituting progress toward the degree.

700-799 – Courses restricted to medical students in the medical curriculum at the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. (Senate Record Appendix C: 11/13/79)

900-999 – Courses restricted to law students at the Dickinson School of Law. (Senate Agenda Appendix B: 4/2/98)


(Approved by SCCA 12/10/2013)


The effective flow of communication between academic units is essential for maintaining a University-wide curriculum that meets the needs of its many stakeholders. The importance of this task is further heightened by Penn State’s “one campus, many locations” approach, which results in the geographical (and sometime philosophical) separation of academic stakeholders within a specified disciplinary community. The purpose of consultation, therefore, is to ensure that all units affected by a proposed change in curriculum have an opportunity to voice concerns and/or suggest improvements. Units affected by curriculum changes are generally those that have a history of offering the course (being changed) or similar courses within the same academic discipline. Units may also be also be affected by changes/additions in course prerequisite requirements or the addition/deletion of required courses within a changing degree program.

The spirit of consultation must be one of collegiality, whereby the faculty work together to maintain the quality of the curriculum for the institution as a whole. Care should be taken to assure that consultation is broad enough to enable input from all affected units, but not overly broad as to produce a flood of unneeded requests. Such overly broad requests for consultation act to weaken the entire system by producing noise that can drown out instances in which consultation is vital. Therefore, a thoughtful, targeted approach to consultation is the best strategy. The guidelines below serve to suggest possible avenues for this consultation and are to be included into the University Faculty Senate’s Guide to Curricular Procedures.

Suggested Consultation Guidelines
A. For courses where a change is requested

  • Consult all campuses/departments where that course has been taught in the last five years. Previous offerings of the course are provided by the CSCS.
  • Consult all departments or programs affected by a change of prerequisites in the proposed course. This includes all campuses where the course has also been taught.
  • If the change involves altering the course name such that overlap may occur with similarly named courses outside the proposed course’s disciplinary community, consult the affected departments or programs. For example, suppose a course is proposed with the word “Engineering” in the title that will be taught by a non-engineering department or program. The College of Engineering should be consulted. This is not to imply that programs have ownership of certain words. Rather, caution should be exercised (and consultation sought) when courses contain words or terms that lie outside the course’s home disciplinary community.
  • If the course change involves altering the content of the course such that there is risk of significant content duplication with another course, the affected department or program should be consulted.
  • Consult any department or program that requires or lists the altered course in their program/degree requirements.
  • Campus or subject librarians should be consulted to ensure appropriate resources are available to support teaching and research related to course changes.

B. For new courses (Add)

  • Consult all campuses that have a similar department or program and/or are eligible to teach a certain course. For example, if course XYZ 456 is being proposed, then other campuses that teach 400-level XYZ courses should be consulted.
  • For lower-level courses (and specifically general education courses), care should be taken to consult with all of the campuses that have the faculty resources to teach the proposed course. Such courses potentially have a much broader consultation list than specialized, upper-level courses.
  • Consult all departments or programs affected by the addition of NEW prerequisites. For example if course XYZ 456 requires CHEM 112, then the chemistry department should be consulted. This consultation should include every campus that expresses interest in teaching XYZ 456. This is especially important if a proposed course will significantly increase enrollments of a course listed as a prerequisite.
  • For new courses with course titles that may resemble courses outside the proposed course’s disciplinary community, consultation should include departments/programs that also use those course titles. For example, suppose a course is proposed with the word “Engineering” in the title that will be taught by a non-engineering department or program. The College of Engineering should be consulted. This is not to imply that programs have ownership of certain words. Rather, caution should be exercised when courses contain words or terms that lie outside the course’s home disciplinary community.
  • If a new course is proposed such that the content of the course is at risk of significantly duplicating content offered by another course, the affected department or program should be consulted.
  • Campus or subject librarians should be consulted to ensure appropriate resources are available to support teaching and research related to new courses.

C. For course drops

  • Consult any campus that has taught this course in the last 5 years.
  • Consult any department or program that requires or lists the course in their program requirements.

D. For Degree Program adds and changes

  • For program changes (and particularly adds), Administrative Council on Undergraduate Education (ACUE) consultation alone is not sufficient. Although Associate Deans at various departments and campuses are certainly stakeholders, consultation should be conducted at the unit (program or departmental) level at all affected campuses.
  • Consult any campuses that offer the same degree or discipline-similar majors.
  • Consult program representatives regarding any additions to required courses that lie outside of the department or program. This is especially important for small-enrolling, upper-level classes that may experience a significant change in enrollment due to the course addition on the proposed program.
  • Campus or subject librarians should be consulted to ensure appropriate resources are available to support teaching and research related to curriculum additions and changes.

E. For a Program Minor change or add

  • Consult any campuses that offer the same minor.
  • Consult program representatives regarding any additions to required courses that lie outside of the department or program. This is especially important for small-enrolling, upper-level classes that may experience a significant change in enrollment due to the course addition in the proposed program.
  • Consult all departments affected by the addition of new prerequisites.
  • Consult with departments/campuses which offer majors that commonly populate the minor. For example, the Engineering Leadership Development minor is largely populated by students in engineering majors; all of those engineering majors should be consulted. This is especially important for “specialization” minors rather than minors with broad appeal (e.g., Psychology, Spanish).
  • Campus or subject librarians should be consulted to ensure appropriate resources are available to support teaching and research related to program additions and changes.


Evidence of Consultation
Formal consultation should be requested and acknowledged in writing. For courses, this consultation should take place through the CSCS system. For program proposals, an email correspondence is usually sufficient to request, receive, and address any feedback from the consulted parties. Any concerns or suggestions made by the consulted party should be addressed by the proposer. This is not to say that the proposer must acquiesce to concerns or suggestions made by the consulted party. However, in the spirit of collegiality, an effort must be made to address those suggestions and concerns either through improved justification or changes to the proposal. Consultation correspondence (including the request, the reply, and any follow-up communication) should be included with the course proposal.


SCCA will conduct an expedited review for proposals with the following circumstances:

  1. Limited changes in name or number (without substantive change in course content)
  2. Prerequisite changes affecting only courses within a department
  3. Updated course descriptions of a limited nature
  4. Course drops affecting only majors in the department



  1. Changes in requirements for a major in response to a name and/or number change with no substantive content change.
  2. Changes in requirements for a major in response to another curricular change where there is some actual change in content. (Example: A program changes the content of an introductory course, so all other majors requiring the content of the old course may have to reevaluate the prerequisites.)
  3. Addition or deletion of a course to a selections list for a major due to changes previously approved. These proposals should include a letter of consultation from the relevant department.
  4. Addition or deletion of a course to a supporting course list. These courses are not published in the program description but are entered into the Degree Audit.



A major is a plan of study in a field of concentration within a type of baccalaureate degree. Colleges and other degree-granting units may have common requirements for all of their majors. Each major may have requirements identified in Prescribed, Additional, and Supporting Courses and Related Areas categories. Elective credits are not considered part of the major. (SR:1/23/90, Appendix IV)

Electives: Credits reserved for the student’s unrestricted choice of any baccalaureate degree course. (Agenda Appendix G, 7/1/75)

Common Requirements for the Major (All Options): At least one-fourth of the total required course credits for the major.

Prescribed Courses: Specific courses which must be taken with no choice allowed.

Additional Courses: Lists of courses from which the student must choose a specified number.

Supporting Courses and Related Areas: Areas from which the student is required to develop supplemental knowledge or competencies but in which considerable choice is permitted.


A minor is a specialization of at least 18 credits that supplements a major. A minor may consist of course work in a single area or from several discipline areas with at least 6 credits at the 400 level.


An offering unit refers to any department, program, school, college, division, or interdepartmental or intercollege unit that offers courses and/or majors, options, or minors.


An option is a specialization within a major that involves at least one-third of the course work credits required for the major, but need not be more than 18 credits. All options within a major must have in common at least one-fourth of the required course work credits in the major. A student can only be enrolled in an option within his/her own major. (Senate Record: Appendix IV, 1/23/90)


Collaborative Learning–Although student-based competencies in collaborative learning will vary considerably depending on the purpose of that collaboration and the educational level of the students, underlying nearly all collaborative learning activities is a distinctive set of assumptions about what teaching is, what learning is, and what the nature of knowledge is. Perhaps the most pivotal of these is the assumption that knowledge is created through interaction, not transferred directly from teacher to students by “telling them what you know.” The teacher’s role in collaborative learning is to create a context in which learners can make the material their own through a process of hands-on group discovery. Effective collaborative learning does not result from using a single type of activity but is a distinctive approach to teaching that places the teacher in the position of a guide to the discovery process and where the synthesis of individual effort results in collective achievement (or understanding) greater than the sum of the parts. The literature includes many different types of examples that are often discipline based and may include but not be limited to group synthesis of laboratory experiments, team model-building exercises, or small-scale research projects.

Communication is the process of exchanging information and ideas. An active process, it involves encoding, transmitting, and decoding intended messages. There are many means of communicating and many different language systems. Speech and language are only a portion of communication. Other aspects of communication may enhance or even eclipse the linguistic code. These aspects are paralinguistic, non linguistic, and metalinguistic. Paralinguistic mechanisms signal attitude or emotion and include intonation, stress, rate of delivery, and pause or hesitation. Non linguistic clues include gestures, body posture, facial expression, eye contact, head and body movement, and physical distance or proxemics. Metalinguistic cues signal the status of communication based on our intuitions about the acceptability of utterances. In other words, metalinguistic skills enable us to talk about language, analyze it, think about it, separate it from context, and judge it.

Critical Thinking is a term used to refer to those kinds of mental activity that are clear, precise, and purposeful. It is typically associated with solving complex real world problems, generating multiple (or creative) solutions to a problem, drawing inferences, synthesizing and integrating information, distinguishing between fact and opinion, or estimating potential outcomes, but it can also refer to the process of evaluating the quality of one’s own thinking. However, the precise collection of which critical thinking elements should be stressed in a particular class may vary depending on the nature of the subject matter at hand. In nearly all cases acquiring critical thinking competence requires that students be provided with opportunities to identify and challenge the assumptions of meaningful problems in a discipline as well as to explore alternative hypotheses or ways of thinking and acting.

Dialog means providing clear provision for student activity, including opportunities for feedback from the instructor(s), recitation leaders, and/or peers. This involves activities that communicate effectively and invite reaction. These could include individual projects, group assignments, oral conversations, written submissions, and the manner of creative expressions such as poetry or dance. It does not include methods that focus on the mere transmission and memorization of information.

Information Literacy–The University Library has defined information literacy as being comprised of four interconnected components: 1) knowledge or information sources, the organization of information, and the nature of knowing the attributes of scholarly knowledge; 2) skills in finding, evaluating, using and effectively communicating information; 3) generalization of knowledge and skills to various applied settings with a positive disposition toward the use of new and extant information sources and information technologies; and 4 social context for the use of information, equability of access to information and the dissemination of knowledge

Intercultural Competence means that a student understands a variety of significant cultural experiences and/or achievements of individuals who are identified by ethnicity, race, religion, gender, physical/mental disability, or sexual orientation; the cultural history of various social groups within a society; the interrelations between dominant and non-dominant cultures, either in the United States or elsewhere, and the dynamics of difference.

International Competence means that the student appreciates the diversity that exists among persons who share a particular social identity; sees nations and cultures not in isolation, but in relation to each other; is able to interact successfully with representatives of other nations; is aware of the pluralism and diversity within international cultures; is able to locate and evaluate information about other parts and peoples of the world; and has consideration for different cultural values, traditions, beliefs and customs.

Other Forms Of Self-Expression include all forms of the arts.

Social Behavioral, Community And Scholarly Conduct means all activities (whether personal, professional, or academic) that are related to judgments about values and proper behavior. Content can be related to a wide range of so-called normative or value questions found across many cultures and throughout the university. Examples include: What values are inherent in scientific inquiry? Is technology a friend or foe of culture and human development? What guidelines should accompany the use of animals in research? What standards of conduct are expected in a particular discipline? In a particular profession? Are certain actions (examples are in alphabetic order, abortion, affirmative action, euthanasia, high taxation, etc.) morally defensible? What moral obligations do students bring to education? What obligation must faculty shoulder? The discussion of SOCIAL BEHAVIORAL, COMMUNITY AND SCHOLARLY CONDUCT must be related to one or more areas of normative inquiry and dialogue, namely: 1. How should people act? (questions of moral duty); 2. What counts as good character? ( questions of moral value); and 3. What counts as the good life, as important to pursue? (questions of non moral value) It is the purpose of the “dialogue pertaining to social behavior, community and scholarly conduct” to alert students to issues of values and human conduct, to generate thoughtful reflection on a variety of viewpoints, and to develop skills of responsible scholarship and citizenship. It is not intended to provide final answers, present narrow moral perspectives, or foster any other dogmatic approaches to ethics.

While the core competencies, activities, and strategies for enhanced learning are best implemented in small classes, some Penn State faculty members have been successful in implementing some of them in larger classes. Information on how to implement Core Competencies, Activities, and Strategies for Enhanced Learning in larger classes can be obtained from such resources as the Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence.

Speaking means clear, concise and effective oral communication of arguments, concepts , emotions, feelings, ideas, problems and their solutions. Speaking as a core competencies, activities, and strategies for enhanced learning in General Education, within the linguistic environment in which communicative exchanges are occurring, consists of the ability to express orally one’s thoughts, as well as reactions and responses to others’ thoughts, in a manner (1) that allows for accurate interpretation by others, (2) that acknowledges and draws on such evidence and external sources of information as may be required by the situation, and (3) that is clear, concise, focused, relevant to the point or issue under consideration, grammatically acceptable, syntactically appropriate, comfortably audible, and free of distracting vocal or other paralinguistic mannerisms.

Teamwork means collaboration among students to produce a product for the quality of which team members have joint responsibility. Teamwork projects have clearly identified and separately evaluated responsibilities for each team member as well as a specified and valuable outcome. Team members are assessed on the quality of the product, the quality of their contributions to the team effort as well as the quality of the completion of their individually assigned tasks.

Writing–Writing competence involves the mastery of a process as much as a product and requires practice and feedback; it is highly related to competence in a field. Most fields have their own discourse conventions and habits, both in writing and speaking. Thus, the precise nature of those assignments that will foster writing competence may vary depending on the field or subject matter at hand and may not always require that students write a “term paper.” For example, in some disciplines such as mathematics, having students show all of their work (and receive feedback) when solving problems is highly appropriate. In other words, writing competence of this sort goes beyond mere sentence structure and spelling corrections and is intimately linked to good problem solving and clear thinking. Further, in this context students may need to learn that writing competence is not necessarily an individual activity done in isolation but often involves working with others as is the case for collaborative writing and thinking about others (e.g., the audience).