Carnegie Units

Carnegie units (defined by the Carnegie Foundation) are secondary-school units, each of which represents one year of work in a subject. At Penn State, these units are used to determine admissibility to the University (at the associate and baccalaureate levels), to particular colleges, and to some college-level courses.


The Undergraduate Admissions website provides high school course requirements for admission to associate and baccalaureate programs.

Compensating for an Admissions Carnegie Unit Deficiency

High school graduates who do not have the required Carnegie units for admission may be considered for admission to the Division of Undergraduate Studies with Conditions. Under this circumstance, students must take college-level course work to remediate this deficiency and qualify for degree status. Contact a DUS adviser for approved course substitutions.

The University may make changes in policies, procedures, educational offerings, and requirements at any time. Please consult a Penn State academic adviser for more detailed information.

Last Update: May 2016

Reference(s): Senate Statement of Basic Academic Admissions Policies, Senate Policy 05-81