Policies Governing Submatriculation

The minimum course requirement for the master's degree is 8 c.u., although some graduate programs may require more than this minimum. Courses earning credit for the master's degree must be at the graduate level as specified by the graduate program, usually at the 500-level and above.

A maximum of 4 c.u. at the graduate level may be counted toward both the B.A. and the master’s degree. Thus, the minimum number of combined course units for the two degrees is 36 (assuming a 12 c.u. undergraduate major). These four courses may be part of the Major Requirement or the electives of the undergraduate program, but may not include courses in independent study. Some graduate programs may permit fewer than four courses to be double counted.

Graduate courses taken prior to admission by submatriculation into a master’s program in the School of Arts and Sciences cannot be applied toward a master's degree, unless approved by the associate dean for graduate studies. Master’s programs from other schools at Penn may vary with regard to this restriction.

In most cases, students are expected to complete the two degrees within the prescribed four undergraduate years. Financial aid recipients may have the masters degree entirely covered by undergraduate financial aid. If studies are extended beyond the four years, students will need to consult with Student Financial Services and the relevant graduate school and department for further information regarding financial aid.


All coursework for a master's degree from the School of Arts and Sciences must be completed at Penn, except for graduate coursework completed on a Penn-sponsored study abroad program. No transfer or credit away courses will be accepted. Requirements for master’s programs offered by other schools at Penn may vary.

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