Academic Options

Full- and Part-time Study

Domestic and U.S. citizens may enroll in any of these programs on a part-time or full-time basis. However, international students on student visas must enroll in a full-time program to maintain their visa status. Master’s degree students are considered full time when registered for three courses per semester.  Full-time registration is 3.0 CU’s or higher and part-time status is 2.99 CU’s and below.

Part-time students may take one or two courses each semester. Students must register for at least one course unit during the fall and spring semesters in order to remain continuously enrolled in their programs.
Ph.D. students who wish to register part-time must petition to do so in each semester that they are registered for less than three courses.  This action is important to ensure the correct tuition and fee charge.


Dual-degree Programs

(MBA/ MSE, MArch/ MSE, MCP/ MSE, MRP/ MSE, MD/ Ph.D., VMD/Ph.D., DPM/ Ph.D., DDS/ Ph.D.)
There is a growing interest in dual-degree graduate programs that provide students with the breadth of knowledge and the added flexibility needed to meet the demands of a complex and constantly-changing world. Please keep in mind that all of these programs entail separate applications and admission to the two schools, and financial aid must be carefully negotiated. Please note dual degrees are for on campus programs only.


Dual Master’s Degrees within Penn Engineering

Students interested in pursuing dual master degrees in Penn Engineering should submit an Application for the Dual Master’s Degree in Penn Engineering after completing the first semester with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Approval of the Program Directors from both departments is required.  Students must complete a minimum of sixteen (16) course units including up to four (4) course units that satisfy both degree requirements as indicated on the application. Please note dual degrees are only approved for on campus programs.


Transfer to Another Engineering Master’s Program

After completing at least one semester in the original program for which you were accepted and matriculated, Penn Engineering master’s students may request to be considered for a transfer to another Engineering Master’s Program by submitting the Transfer to Another Graduate Group form. As with the request to be considered for a dual degree, candidates are expected to have the appropriate background for the second master’s program. They will be evaluated by both their original program and the new program to which they wish to transfer. Please note program transfers are for on campus programs only.

Students wishing to transfer to the Master’s in Data Science program should apply here. For further questions, please send an email to:


Transfer of External Credit to Penn

Master’s Students are permitted to transfer up to two (2) courses from another university graduate program.
Ph.D. students that come to Penn Engineering with a master’s degree, can request to transfer up to nine (9) credits into their PhD program.

Students should submit a Graduate Transfer of Credit Petition along with an unofficial transcript with the course name(s) and grade(s) earned. Only courses with grades of B are higher will be approved. The course credit will be transferred in, not the course grade; credit transfers do not impact GPA. Courses taken under a certificate program or online are not allowed and they will not be reviewed or considered for transfer. Courses counted towards an undergraduate degree will not be considered for graduate credit unless in an approved submatriculation program. Transfer credit must be taken prior to matriculation at Penn as students cannot be enrolled in two schools at once. Courses are held to a time limit of five years.


Leave of Absence (LOA)

Students may request a Leave of Absence for up to two years, after which time, students must reapply for admission.  Time spent in the military service and medical cases do not count under the time limit. Reinstatement is dependent upon departmental and SEAS approval.  While on LOA and not registering for courses, students may still utilize the library and/or recreational facilities by requesting and paying a special service fee.
When students are ready to return after a leave of absence, they must submit a Request to Return from a Leave of Absence form.  The request must be submitted no later than thirty (30) days prior to the start of the semester the student wishes to return.

Please note Ph.D. students on dissertation status may only request a leave of absence for medical or military reasons.



Withdrawing from Engineering and the University may be granted by Petition for Action.  Reinstatement is dependent upon departmental and School approval.



For master’s programs within a department (BIOT, CGGT, DATS, EMBS, IPD, NANO, and SCMP), any petition requiring the program director’s signature and graduate group chair’s signature, is at the discretion of that program whether their governing department’s graduate group chair must sign in addition to the Program Director.


Curricular Practical Training (CPT) 

Graduate students in SEAS who meet the eligibility criteria (completed one academic year of full time course work from late August to May) but have not completed all the degree requirements may apply for academic credit for the purposes of F-1 curricular practical training (CPT).  Questions regarding CPT immigration status requirement should be directed to an advisor at ISSS. Full details and information can be found on the Curricular Practical Training webpage. Please note CPT is for on campus programs only.


Disability information

Any student who has a disability and wishes to self-identify with the Office of Student Disabilities Services (SDS) at the Weingarten Learning Resources Center, can complete the Self-Identification Form.  Submission of this form is the first step in the Self-Identification Process. Any student who is requesting accommodations will also need to submit documentation of the disability and schedule an in person meeting as part of the collaborative process in determining eligibility for accommodations. Students that have further questions may contact SDS directly.


Advanced Standing Credit

Incoming master’s students may receive advanced standing credit under the following conditions:

  • Applicants must complete and submit a Penn Engineering MicroMasters certificate (which includes the completion of all courses in the series) before the admissions deadline. MicroMasters certificates will not be accepted after matriculation.
  • The topic of the MicroMasters certificate must correspond to the master’s program in order to receive advanced standing credit (e.g., the Robotics MicroMasters certificate can only be used towards the Robotics MSE).
  • Student may receive a maximum of 3 CUs of advanced standing credit.
  • Students with advanced standing credits on their transcript are not eligible to apply for transfer credits.


Submatriculation into an Engineering Master’s Degree Program

For students completing their undergraduate degree and enrolled in a master’s degree as a submatriculant, please note undergraduate status supersedes graduate status. All courses will appear on the student’s undergraduate transcript while still enrolled as an undergraduate.  Undergraduate coursework should be completed in eight semesters. The graduate degree cannot be conferred until all coursework for the undergraduate degree is complete. Additionally, all coursework for the master’s degree must be completed at Penn – no transfer credit, advanced standing, study abroad, or study away courses will be accepted.  Full information on submatriculation can be found on the Engineering Undergraduate Submatriculation page.