Appendix O



Equivalence of Courses Across the University


Implementation: Upon approval by the President


It has come to the attention of the Intra-University Relations Committee that several degree-granting units of the University have been refusing to accept certain courses taken at other locations towards their majors.  They have been requiring students to retake them in order to count them towards graduation requirements.  These requirements are contrary to both the spirit and the letter of University policies; therefore IRC is submitting this Advisory/Consultative Report requesting the University to enforce existing policies with respect to course equivalence across the University.


Penn State functions as a single university with multiple, jointly accredited campuses.   In order to maintain joint accreditation, we must truly function as a single institution.  This practice of not accepting credits contradicts, undermines, and effectively invalidates the President’s ability to claim that we are a single university geographically distributed.  The Senate has taken the issue of course uniformity very seriously, passing Senate Policy 42-10 in March 2016. This policy states, “courses offered within Penn State must include a minimum of 80% of the core content and learning objectives described in the most current course proposal as approved by the Faculty Senate.”  Furthermore, Policy P-11 of the Academic Administrative Policies and Procedures Manual states, “A course offered at multiple locations should carry a common course number at all locations and will meet degree requirements at all locations.”

The Senate recognizes that there is an exception to Policy P-11, often described as the “90 credit rule” found in Senate Policy 83-80 – Limitations on Source and Time for Credit Acquisition.  This policy states “As a degree-completion requirement, the college dean or campus chancellor and program faculty may require up to 24 credits of course work in the major to be taken at the location or in the college or program where the degree is earned.  Particular courses within the 24 credits are not to be specified, except for a senior seminar or capstone course required for the given major.”


  1. We recommend that all units accept for credit towards graduation requirements all courses completed at other units and campuses of the University, except for senior seminars and capstone courses, as long as the student has met the 24-credit requirement at the degree-granting unit for work in the major
  1. We recommend that the senior administration enforce AAPPM Policy P-11 and Senate Policy 83-80 across all units and locations of the University.


  • Aurand, Harold
  • Babu, Jogesh
  • Boyle, James
  • Brown, Claudia
  • Cusumano, Joseph
  • Egolf, Roger, Chair
  • Funk, Raymond
  • Harte, Federico
  • Healy, Michael
  • Lasher, William
  • Lopez, Hector
  • McMillan, Steven
  • Novikov, Alexei
  • Petrilla, Rosemarie, ice Chair
  • Rowland, Nicholas
  • Ruggiero, Francesca
  • Schmiedekamp, Ann
  • Shurgalla,Richard
  • Subramanian, Rajarajan
  • Thomas, Darryl
  • Wagner, Johanna
  • Welsh, Nancy
  • Wenner, William
  • Zomorodi, Naseem