L-6: MINORS - ENTRANCE AND CERTIFICATION
Senate Policy: 59-00, Requirements for the Minor
The University Faculty Senate amended Policy 59-00 on October 19, 2010, to read: “Requirements for a minor may be completed at any campus location offering the specified courses for the minor.” In effect, this makes it possible for Penn State students to meet the requirements of many of the University’s minors regardless of their campus of residence. The Senate vote recognizes several important Penn State curricular principles:
- University courses may be offered at any Penn State location at which the dean or chancellor certifies the availability of qualified faculty and necessary facilities. This “a-course-is-a course” policy contributes to the development of professional faculty disciplinary communities and curricular integrity, as well as to Penn State’s commitment to its organizational and academic structure as a single university dispersed across the Commonwealth.
- The University distinguishes between majors and minors. Senate Policy 83-80 was amended August 31, 2010 to make explicit each college’s authority to require that up to 24 credits of coursework in a major “be taken at the location or in the college or program where the degree is earned.” The amendment recognizes the significant depth and disciplinary mastery associated with majors, the obligation of deans and chancellors to certify the quality of faculty and of majors at their campuses, and the role of regular faculty and student learning community interaction in a student’s chosen area of specialization.
Minors do not certify comparable levels of domain mastery. Senate Policy 59-00 defines a minor as “an academic program of at least 18 credits that supplements a major.” The breadth of minors at Penn State, some located in a single domain and others interdisciplinary and/or intercollege, speaks to the University’s understanding of these programs as curricular complements. Although some minors can and do exceed complementary status, minors are designed to provide familiarity with domains and practices that can enhance a student’s major programmatic studies rather than produce the level of domain mastery certified by the completion of a major.
Declaring a minor does not guarantee enrollment in those courses, the future availability of those courses, or completion of the minor.
The amended 59-00 also states that, “Students may not change from a campus that offers their major to a campus that does not offer their major for the purpose of completing a minor.” The intent is not to prevent a student from enrolling for a course necessary for a minor at a campus other than their campus-of-residence. Such enrollments have always been possible. Rather, the stipulation recognizes the major as the University’s fundamental educational commitment and the minor as a secondary complement.
- Students wishing to declare a minor must use eLion unless the minor has a Faculty Senate-approved entrance requirement, such as an audition or portfolio review, or carries restrictions necessitated by explicit articulation or licensing requirements. Under these circumstances, eLion will generate an automatic message referring the student to the unit with administrative oversight. Upon approval, the unit will enter the student into the minor on ISIS screen ARUSAN.
If the student has declared a minor, but then terminates degree enrollment, the minor declaration becomes void. The student must submit a new eLion minor declaration after receiving degree status through the reenrollment process.
- Intent to pursue a minor may be declared after the student has achieved at least fifth semester classification and has been accepted into his/her major, but prior to the end of the late drop period of the student's final semester. A student may not declare a minor that is the same as his/her major (e.g., a student majoring in History may not also declare a History minor). In those instances where a minor requires an entry fee or entrance requirement, the student must declare before the end of the regular add/drop period of their final semester. The fee will be applied to the student's semester bill at the time the intent is submitted.
- The academic authority for undergraduate minors is established in a college or colleges through the AAPP P-1 and P-3 processes. Although a student's ability to complete a Penn State minor exists independent of the campus at which he or she is registered, the authority to approve course substitutions for a minor, and to certify completion of a minor, remains with the college awarded P-1 or P-3 authorization for that minor.
- Circumstances can arise in which there are multiple versions of a minor (for example, there have on occasion been several concurrent versions of minors such as psychology, math, English, etc.); a student may complete only one version of that minor.
- During the seventh week of the student's final semester, the University Registrar will distribute the list of minor candidates and their degree audits to the office of the appropriate associate dean or designee.
- The associate dean or designee will certify completion of minor requirements on each student record by adding an approval indicator on ISIS screen path ARUGB.
- The Office of the University Registrar will prepare a minor certificate for each approved student. The certificate will include the signatures of the President of the Board of Trustees, the President of the University, and the Executive Vice President and Provost of the University. The minor certificate will be issued to the graduate along with the diploma as long as the minor was approved on ISIS screen path ARUGB by the end of the 13th week of classes of the semester commencing in graduation.
- The Registrar is responsible for recording on the student's academic record the successful completion of the minor program at the time the baccalaureate degree is conferred.
- A minor may be awarded retroactively through the following process: The associate dean or designee certifies that a student has met the requirements for the minor at the time of graduation and forwards this information to the University Registrar in writing. The Registrar adds the appropriate notation to the student's transcript. The certificate for the minor is produced and mailed to the student.
The following conditions apply to the retroactive awarding of minors:
- The minor must have been in existence at the time the student graduated.
- Awarding of a retroactive minor is limited to five years after the student's graduation.
- If a fee is assessed for the minor, it must be paid to the Bursar before the minor is approved by the associate dean or designee. Fees are assessed at the rate in effect at the time the minor is retroactively awarded.
- Any minor that has an entrance requirement (e.g., portfolio, audition, or plan of study) may not be awarded retroactively.
Senate Policy: 59-00, Requirements for the Minor
Approved: ACUI (4-7-83)
Revised: ACAS (6-10-88)
Revised: ACAS (9-8-89)
Revised: ACUE (11-2-95)
Revised: ACUE (9-26-96)
Revised: ACUE (1-21-99)
Revised: ACUE (3-2-00)
Revised: ACUE and editorial (1-8-04)
Revised: Editorial (4-9-07)
Revised: ACUE and editorial (6-4-09)
Revised: ACUE and editorial (2-3-11)
Revised: ACUE (5-5-11)
Revised: ACUE (7-7-11)
Revised: Editorial (8-17-11)
Revised: ACUE (11-3-11)
The University may make changes in policies, procedures,
educational offerings, and requirements at any time. Please consult a Penn
State academic adviser for more detailed information. Penn State is an affirmative
action, equal opportunity university.