Course Registration Procedures

Registration Overview

In order to register for courses correctly, graduate students should understand the degree requirements of the program for which they are enrolled. Each program has its own curriculum, registration procedures, and requirements. All specific questions regarding these items should be directed to the graduate student’s advisor or their program/department. Students use Penn In Touch (PIT) to register for most classes. For some courses, the student’s program will register the student for the class. All course listings can be found in the University Catalog. Students should always check with their program for course approvals before registering for courses (both in Engineering and outside of Engineering).


All students are required to be continuously enrolled, except under the following circumstances:

  1. A student takes a leave of absence (LOA) from their degree program
  2. Student withdraws from the University and is no longer a student

Students who do not register each semester by the course selection deadline, and do not request a LOA, will be withdrawn from Engineering and the University for zero enrollment after the course selection deadline for that term.



Course Unit Registration Requirement

  • Master’s- Maximum enrollment for a master’s program is 4 CU’s. A petition and satisfactory GPA (3.70 minimum) is required for more than 4 CU’s after completion of one semester full-time at the graduate level. Tuition is charged per course at the master’s level.
  • PhD- PhD students will register for four course units to fulfill their course requirements until they have reached full research. Only three units of 999 (Dissertation/Research) are required to maintain full time status. Tuition is charged at a flat rate per semester for full-time PhD students.

International students on F-1 visa’s must maintain full-time status at a minimum of 3 CU’s per semester. International students who wish to drop below 3 CU’s (2.99 CU’s and below) are required to request a Reduced Course Load (RCL) with the International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) Office. Full information on RCL can be found here and questions can be directed to a student’s individual ISSS advisor.



Auditing a Class

Graduate students who wish to enroll in a course without letter grade, must register as an auditor. Auditors pay the regular tuition charges, but receive no credit for the course. Assignments and exams are not required if properly registered and the instructor is notified.   Audited courses cannot count towards the degree.  Once the course is completed, a grade of “AUD” will appear on the transcript. If a student wishes to audit the course after they have registered for it as a traditional letter grade registration, please talk with Alyse and Tori in Grad RAS.
(Accelerated Master’s/Submatriculants are held to the undergraduate rules and are not allowed to audit courses.)



Course Selection “Drop/Add” deadline

Graduate students may add or drop courses during prior to the ‘Course Selection’ also called drop/add deadline. Tuition will automatically be refunded for a dropped course only if the course is dropped prior to the end of the ‘Course Selection’ deadline.  This date can be found on the University’s Three-Year Academic calendar and the Engineering Graduate Calendar; multiple reminders will be sent as well from Graduate RAS. Please note the difference between the drop period (for undergraduates) and the course selection date (for graduate students). Graduate students will not have registration access in Penn In Touch after this date.  Reminders will be distributed via email from the RAS Graduate Office.
(Accelerated Master’s/Submatriculants are held to the undergraduate drop and add (course selection) deadlines for their graduate level courses.)


Withdraw from a Course

Graduate students may withdraw from a course(s) after the course selection period is over, but no later than the final day of class. The course withdraw deadline is listed on the Engineering Graduate Calendar for each term. No exceptions for a withdraw will be considered after the final day of classes. Students should submit a Petition to Withdraw from a Course, found on this page after they have spoken to their advisor and coordinator of their program/department. Please note a “W” will appear on the transcript and the student is financially responsible for the course.

(Accelerated Master’s/Submatriculants are held to the undergraduate deadlines for their graduate level courses.)




Course Pass/Fail

The course Pass/Fail option is NOT permitted for graduate students.


Exception: Spring 2020, Fall 2020, and Spring 2021.

  • Students must opt in by deadline given for the term using the Grade Type Change form (not through Penn in Touch). Opting in, or back out of, pass/fail after the published date for the term is prohibited.
  • A passing letter grade, ‘D’ or higher, is converted to ‘P’ for pass in the registration system and will show on the student’s transcript as ‘P.’
  • ‘P’ is not calculated into the cumulative average. However, a grade of ‘F’ is entered as a 0.0 and does affect the grade point average.
  • Instructors are not informed who is enrolled in pass/fail.
  • EAS 897, EAS 896, EAS 895, 597 and 599’s should not be taken as the pass/fail option.
  • Master’s students are encouraged to not take any more than 4 CU’s pass/fail for a single degree, 6 CU’s for a dual degree, between the three terms pass/fail was allowed (Spring 2020, Fall 2020, and Spring 2021). PhD students must talk with their department.



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