Course Registration and Procedures
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 program/department.
- Graduate courses at Penn are 5000+ level (500+ level from Spring 2022 and older). No student may enroll in courses under 5000 to count towards their graduate level degree (exception: accelerated master’s prior to matriculation into the master’s in some cases for 4000/5000+ cross listed courses).
- All course listings can be found in the University Catalog and students use Path@Penn to register for classes. Students should always check with their program for course approvals before registering for courses (both within Engineering and outside).
- All students are required to be continuously enrolled (for Fall and Spring semesters), except under the following circumstances:
- A student takes a leave of absence (LOA) from their degree program
- 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Students who do not register each semester by the course selection deadline, and do not request a LOA, will be withdrawn from Engineering and the University for zero enrollment and student inactivity. Students withdrawn for inactivity will need to apply to the program again. Re-admission is not guaranteed.
- Master’s- Maximum enrollment for a master’s program is 4 Course Units or 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 9990 (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.
Course Selection "Drop/Add" deadline
Please note the difference between the drop period (for undergraduates) and the course selection date (for graduate students). Graduate students may add, drop, or swap courses prior to the ‘Course Selection’ also called drop/add deadline. Tuition will automatically be refunded for a dropped course if the course is dropped prior to the ‘Course Selection’ deadline. Graduate students will not have registration access in Path@Penn after the course selection deadline. This date is listed on the University’s Three-Year Academic calendar and the Engineering Graduate Calendar. Multiple reminders will be sent as well from Graduate Engineering Academic Office.
Accelerated Master’s still enrolled in their undergraduate degree 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 can request a course withdraw in Path Forms (on this page) after they have spoken to their program/department. Please note a “W” will appear on the transcript and the student is financially responsible for the course.
(Accelerated Master’s are held to the undergraduate deadlines for their graduate level courses.)
Auditing a Class
Graduate students may enroll in a course as an auditor while registering for courses in Path@Penn. Auditors pay the regular tuition charges and receive no credit towards their degree for the course. Assignments and exams are not typically required if properly registered and the instructor is notified. 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 and the course selection (drop/add) deadline has passed, please talk with the Graduate Engineering Academic Office.
Again, audited courses cannot count towards the degree. Accelerated Master’s are held to the undergraduate rules and are not allowed to audit courses.
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 Path ‘Grade Type Change form.’ 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’ and 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.)