Penn State, Big Ten announce new course sharing initiative

Penn State students can take courses at other Big Ten institutions at no additional cost

The Armillary Sphere outside Old Main on Penn State's University Park campus.  Credit: Patrick Mansell / Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State will expand course offerings for undergraduate students at all Penn State campuses this fall with the help of its fellow Big Ten institutions. Through a new program from the Big Ten Academic Alliance, Penn State undergraduates can take an online course from another participating Big Ten school each semester as part of their academic experience­­, with all tuition and fees for the course waived.

Together, Big Ten universities educate more than 600,000 students with almost 50,000 faculty. During the past spring, member universities kept those students on track for graduation, quickly moving tens of thousands of courses online and graduating many thousands of students on time, despite the global pandemic. As a result of these efforts, Penn State has worked with its Big Ten peers to create a new online course sharing initiative — the Big Ten Academic Alliance Online Course Sharing Program — designed to enhance the educational opportunities for students during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The following Big Ten institutions are forming the inaugural cohort of participating universities and will offer a range of online courses for the fall 2020 semester:

  • Indiana University
  • University of Maryland
  • Michigan State University
  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • The Ohio State University
  • Pennsylvania State University
  • Rutgers University-New Brunswick

“Big Ten universities compete on the field, but until this fight is won, we are united in the critical research to battle this virus — and united in the classroom,” said Lauren Robel, provost and executive vice president of Indiana University-Bloomington and chair of the Big Ten Academic Alliance board.

Courses are available on a wide variety of topics, such as Supply Chain Security & Risk Management, Design Thinking and Creativity, Inequality: Determinants and Policy Remedies, Insect Biology, Introduction to the Built Environment, and Intro to Sports Marketing & Management. 

“The Big Ten is home to world-class faculty members, and now Penn State students and their Big Ten peers can directly benefit from this collective strength,” said Rob Pangborn, vice president and dean for Undergraduate Education. “I hope our students will take advantage of this unique opportunity to learn from leading scholars across the Big Ten, whether they plan to return to campus or learn from home this fall.”

Penn State students can find more information about how to participate in the program at Students can view available courses at other participating Big Ten institutions at

About the Big Ten Academic Alliance

The Big Ten Academic Alliance is the nation’s preeminent model for effective collaboration among research universities. For more than half a century, these world-class institutions have advanced their academic missions, generated unique opportunities for students and faculty, and served the common good by sharing expertise, leveraging campus resources, and collaborating on innovative programs. Governed and funded by the provosts of the member universities, Big Ten Academic Alliance mandates are coordinated by a staff from its Champaign, Illinois, headquarters. 

Last Updated August 04, 2020