Concurrent Majors Program

Two programs—concurrent majors and sequential majors—allow a baccalaureate or associate degree candidate to earn degrees in more than one Penn State major. When completing concurrent majors, the student simultaneously completes all academic requirements for his/her majors and graduates with two (or more) degrees in the same semester.

Liberal Arts and Earth and Mineral Sciences and Liberal Arts and Engineering are concurrent majors that have been combined in established curriculums with specified entrance and graduation requirements. These programs (formerly dual degrees) are presented in the Undergraduate Degree Programs Bulletin. For additional information about these two programs, please schedule an appointment with Dr. Jamie Brenner.

Program Limitations

Entrance Requirements

The majors to be combined may be in the same or different Penn State colleges (e.g., two majors in the Eberly College of Science or one major in the College of the Liberal Arts combined with a major in the College of Communications). Students must meet the entrance requirements for each major. If a student is combining a major that is under administrative enrollment controls, the student must enter the controlled major first and then follow procedures listed in the Student Action section below to enter the additional major(s). Generally, it is not possible for the student to incorporate more than one major that is under administrative enrollment controls in a concurrent majors program.

Distinct Fields of Study

Because the majors must be in distinct fields of study, students generally may not combine a general major and a departmental major in the same college, e.g., majors in science and biology.

Additional limitations have been implemented by some colleges. Students should contact the appropriate advising center at University Park or another Penn State campus for specific information.

Levels of Study

Concurrent majors must be at the same level of study. Baccalaureate degree candidates may only combine baccalaureate majors; associate degree candidates may only combine associate majors.

Graduation Requirements

University, college, and major requirements in effect at the time of entrance to each degree program must be met. With approval from the departments and colleges involved, courses may be used to meet the requirements of more than one major. A student graduates from all of his/her concurrent majors in the same semester.

Academic Records

Degree Audit: At the time a student is admitted to each major, the major and program year are listed on his/her degree audit. Up to four majors can be listed (see section 2 of this sample degree audit). A separate degree audit is generated for each major.

Transcript: A student has one transcript, regardless of the number of his/her concurrent majors. At the time the student is admitted to each major, the major is listed on his/her transcript.

Diploma: Students receive a diploma for each degree earned.

Student Action

(Academic Administrative Policies and Procedures Manual, M-3)

  1. For the concurrent major (the additional major you are considering), meet with an academic adviser in the appropriate advising center. Discuss your rationale for combining majors. Obtain information on entrance requirements, retention standards, and degree and graduation requirements. After this initial exploration, if you still want to complete the concurrent major, ask the adviser to refer you to the appropriate departmental adviser.
  2. Print an application for approval of concurrent majors form, complete as much of it as you can, and take it with you to your meeting with the departmental adviser. Brainstorm possibilities for courses that can meet requirements for both majors, and discuss possibilities for course substitutions. Be sure to consider the kind of work that will be demanded in each course and determine the combination of courses that will be compatible in a semester-by-semester plan. On the form, list all the courses needed to complete the concurrent major, and obtain the adviser's signature.
  3. Meet with your assigned adviser(s) in your current major(s). Review your academic plan. On the form, list all the courses needed to complete your current major(s), and obtain the signature(s) of your adviser(s).
  4. Obtain approval and signatures from the department head(s) and appropriate dean(s) for your current major(s) and the concurrent major.
  5. Submit the completed form to the appropriate dean in the college offering the concurrent major.

Application Deadline and Approval Notification

When a request is approved, the dean who received the completed form reproduces the form and sends a copy to the student, the Registrar's office, and the appropriate dean in the student's other college(s) of enrollment.

The Registrar's office must receive the completed application form, including all approval signatures (step 5 above) by the end of the late drop period in the student's final semester.

Adviser Assignment

When a request is approved, the student is assigned an adviser for the additional major. The student is responsible for consulting with all of his/her assigned advisers to see that each major's requirements are met.

Cancellation of an Approved Concurrent Major

To cancel an approved concurrent major, the student must provide written notification to the appropriate dean for the cancelled major. When a dean receives this notification, he/she will notify the student's other college(s) and the Registrar's office.

Reviewed: July 2015
Last Update: December 2011

Reference(s): Senate Policy 60-00