Policies Governing Graduation

In order to graduate from the College of Arts and Sciences, students must meet degree requirements and comply with the following conditions by the dates indicated in the timeline for their expected month of graduation.

Degree Requirements Credits needed  by Major

Students must maintain a 2.0 overall grade point average, and a 2.0 average (or better, depending on the department) in major courses.

College students are expected to be enrolled on a full-time basis. Bills are not normally adjusted when a student takes less than a full load of courses.

Seniors who need fewer than 3 c.u. in their final semester to complete their degree requirements may consider declaring part-time status. Students who are considering part-time status must first meet with their major advisor and then with an assistant dean for advising in the College. These advisors will verify that the student needs fewer than 3 c.u. to graduate and will then make the adjustment. Simply registering for one or two courses is NOT sufficient to become part-time; the student must follow the above procedure in order to make the tuition adjustment.

Part-time status must be declared before the first day of the term in question. Students are advised to complete this process by the end of the preceding semester (that is, usually by December of the fall semester).

Some students may have special issues related to part-time status:

  • Athletes must wait until their previous semester’s grades are posted (normally, in early January) before they can officially declare part-time status.
  • Students with financial aid should check with the Student Financial Services office, since changing their enrollment status may change their aid status.
  • International students who wish to inquire about part-time status in their final semester must speak with advisors in the College Office and the International Student and Scholar Services office.

Each department, program or individualized major advisor will certify students as having met the requirements for the respective majors and minors.

Seniors should consult with an advisor in the department in which they wish to minor, to confirm that the minor has been certified on the Academic Planning Worksheet and posted to the student’s transcript.

Because the value of the Penn experience lies not only in courses taken but also in participation in the life of the University community both in and outside the classroom, at least four semesters of full-time study must be completed in Philadelphia while enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania. Students must also be registered for their last two semesters at the University, including registration through its approved programs for study abroad.

Students who wish to complete their final courses at another institution by means of credit away must speak with an advisor in the College Office. These students must request a leave of absence as part of this process. Those who propose to take as many as 4 or 5 c.u. of credit at another institution may be required to submit a petition to the Committee on Undergraduate Academic Standing, to waive the residency requirement (students should understand that any petition may be denied). Those who need 3 c.u. or fewer may not be required to submit a petition. In all cases, any courses proposed for Penn credit must be approved by the relevant department through XCAT.

No student may graduate with a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania without having completed at Penn at least one-half of the total number of required course units. Students must also complete at Penn at least one-half of the courses required for their major (though some major programs may require more than this number).

Any courses taken on a pass/fail basis that are later certified by the department or program as being part of a major or minor will be uncovered upon graduation.

An Application for Graduation must be submitted early in the semester of expected graduation. Seniors must adhere to a graduation schedule prepared each year by the College Office. A late fee will be charged for failure to apply for graduation by the date specified. Check the application timeline for MayAugust or December graduation.

All courses taken for credit at the University of Pennsylvania before a student receives an undergraduate degree are recorded on the student's undergraduate transcript. At the date of graduation, the transcript is closed, i.e., no changes may be made thereafter.

Students can view and request official copies of their undergraduate transcript on Penn InTouch.

In order to graduate, students must pay all of their bills. That is, all financial obligations, library books, fees, etc. must be cleared and resolved before graduation.

It is possible that students who are waiting for a decision from the Committee on Undergraduate Academic Standing on a petition submitted regarding graduation requirements may not be cleared in time for graduation. It is, therefore, important to submit any necessary petitions as early as possible.