The M.S. degree student is responsible for consulting with the adviser before each registration period. Prior to the first registration, the student and adviser will discuss the choice of courses for that semester and subsequent semesters. Prior to the end of the first semester, the student and adviser shall develop a Graduate Academic Plan for approval by the student's committee. The Graduate Academic Plan (GAP) may be modified with approval of the committee during any registration or drop/add period. The plan will include alternative courses in case the student is unable to obtain his/her first choice. The minimum Graduate School requirements and specific departmental requirements follow:

Seminar Attendance -Students are expected to regularly attend Departmental seminars each semester of registration at University Park campus.

Admission deficiencies, if any, must be removed to the satisfaction of the student's committee.

  • A minimum of 30 graduate (400-, 500-, 600-level) credits is required, of which at least 20 credits must be earned at an established graduate campus of the University. Courses taken to overcome deficiencies are excluded.
  • At least 12 credits in 400- and 500-level courses that are appropriate to the student's field of interest.
  • At least 6 credits of 400- or 500-level courses (usually STAT) are required in courses that cover topics such as analysis-of-variance, correlation, regression, and design of experiments, and are approved by the student's committee.
  • Optionally, at least 6 credits of 400- or 500-level courses are taken in the minor or general studies area, according to the minor department. Seminar courses are excluded, except where specifically allowed by the minor department.
  • Research Integrity and Communication - One course "Research Integrity and Communications." (1 credit) is required in which presentation techniques are learned by the student. There may also be a student presentation experience as part of this course.
  • SARI - Penn State requires training related to research integrity. A portion of this training is incorporated into the course "Research Integrity and Communications."
  • Seminar/Colloquium - In addition, one seminar presentation is required at the departmental graduate seminar near the end of the student's degree. In extraordinary cases, the student's adviser, in consultation with the Graduate Program Coordinator, will determine the acceptability of any alternative to this seminar presentation.
  • The candidate is expected to routinely attend departmental Seminar each semester of registration at the University Park Campus.
  • A student holding a half-time assistantship is expected to perform duties that, on average, occupy approximately 20 hours per week and could include service as a teaching assistant in those semesters in which you receive a departmental assistantship. The time required to conduct high-quality research and complete a thesis that makes a significant contribution to the field, as a requirement for your degree, may take considerable additional hours per week, and will depend upon the nature of your dissertation topic.

  • A thesis directly relevant to the student's major field, of at least 6 credits and no more than 15 credits, is required (courses 600 and 610, thesis research). Only 6 of the 600-level thesis credits may carry a quality letter grade; additional 600-level thesis credits must carry an "R" grade for research.
  • At least 18 credits of the total M.S. program must consist of 500- or 600-level course series.
  • A final examination (defense of thesis) is required.