The University, through its Graduate School, offers nearly 200 graduate programs leading to more than 300 advanced academic and professional degrees. More than 12,000 students are enrolled in graduate programs at the University Park campus, Penn State Erie, Penn State Harrisburg, the College of Medicine (Hershey), and the Penn State Great Valley School of Graduate Professional Studies, as well as in certain professional degree programs that are offered off-campus and online via the World Campus.
More than half of the enrollment, including most of the doctoral students, is at the University Park campus. In recent years, more than 2,900 graduate degrees have been conferred annually, with approximately 23 percent being doctoral degrees. The Graduate School has more than 3,000 graduate faculty.
The Graduate Faculty
Graduate Faculty members ordinarily are University faculty members with the most advanced degree in their fields who are assigned responsibilities in graduate education and research.
Criteria and Responsibilities
Those nominated for Graduate Faculty membership should be qualified to teach graduate courses, advise graduate students at master's and doctoral levels, and conduct research and scholarly activity leading to refereed or other professional competitive publications or to comparable artistic, clinical, literary, or technical achievements appropriate to particular fields. Graduate Faculty members may direct dissertation research, chair or serve otherwise on doctoral committees, teach 500- and 800-level courses, and perform other such academic duties as may be authorized by the dean of the Graduate School.
Appointment to the Graduate Faculty
Faculty holding the highest degrees in their fields who are appointed to tenured or tenure-track positions in academic departments offering the highest degrees in the field (Ph.D., D.Ed., D.M.A., M.D., J.D., or Master of Architecture, Landscape Architecture, or Fine Arts) are granted membership in the Graduate Faculty by the dean of the Graduate School upon the recommendation of the department head and the concurrence of the college dean. This membership is restricted to those faculty who are assigned significant responsibilities in graduate education and research. It is the responsibility of the deans of the academic colleges to notify the Graduate School of faculty who meet these criteria for membership.
All other candidates for Graduate Faculty membership must be approved in accordance with established procedures of the Graduate Council. Adjunct, affiliate, part-time, or fixed-term faculty, and tenured or tenure-track faculty who hold the highest degrees in their fields but are appointed to departments not offering the highest degrees in their fields, must be recommended by the chair of the graduate program to which the candidate will contribute and approved by the corresponding college evaluation committee, college dean, and the dean of the Graduate School. The chair must provide documentation of the candidate's ability and experience in graduate teaching, research, and supervising graduate students; proposed duties as a member of the Graduate Faculty; professional credentials; and doctoral and master's projects supervised by the nominee, if applicable.
College Evaluation Committees
The dean of each University Park college or school, as well as the respective deans or chancellors of the College of Medicine, Penn State Harrisburg, Penn State Erie, and Penn State Great Valley School of Graduate Professional Studies, each send to the Graduate School, for the dean's concurrence, the names of faculty on the college evaluation committee. A committee consists of no less than a chairperson and two members, all of whom must be members of the Graduate Faculty, and whose terms of service are staggered to ensure continuity.