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High School Course Requirements

For Admission to Baccalaureate Degree Programs:

The minimum high school units required for admission to baccalaureate degree programs are as follows:

English—Four units; these must include a composite of one unit each in composition and literature.

Foreign Language/Social Studies/Art/Humanities—Five units in any combination of foreign language, social studies, arts, and humanities are required. Two units of the same foreign language are required by the College of Communications and recommended for all other programs.

NOTE: Students who have graduated from high school in the year 2001 or later who have not completed the recommended two high school units of the same foreign language, or who have not completed one 3-4 semester credit foreign language course with a grade of C (2.0) or higher at the collegiate level, will need to schedule the appropriate foreign language course work at Penn State within their first two years of study.

Science—Three units of science are required; preparation in chemistry and physics is recommended for the Colleges of Engineering, Earth and Mineral Sciences, and Science (this includes University Park's Eberly College of Science, as well as Penn State Altoona, Abington, Berks, and Lehigh Valley); and Penn State Erie or Penn State Harrisburg's Science or Engineering/Engineering Technology programs.

Math—Three units of mathematics are required (four are recommended), including one-and-a-half units of algebra, one unit of plane geometry, and one-half unit of trigonometry, by the Colleges of Business, Earth and Mineral Sciences, Engineering, Information Sciences and Technology, and Science; Penn State Altoona and Penn State Abington's Business and Science programs; Penn State Berks and Penn State Lehigh Valley's Science programs; and Penn State Erie and Penn State Harrisburg's Business, Engineering/ Engineering Technology, and Science programs.

All other colleges, as well as the Division of Undergraduate Studies, require three units of mathematics (four are recommended) selected from any combination of algebra, geometry, and trigonometry.

For Admission to Associate Degree Programs:

The minimum high school units required for admission to associate degree programs are as follows:

English—Four units; these must include a composite of one unit each in composition and literature.

Foreign Language/Social Studies/Art/Humanities—Five units in any combination of foreign language, social studies, arts, and humanities are required. These units may include advanced placement courses in the arts.

Science—Two units of science are required. One unit each in biology and chemistry is recommended for admission to Medical Laboratory Technology and required for admission to Nursing. Applicants to the Physical Therapist Assistant program should have one unit in biology and one other science unit.

Math—Two units of mathematics are required. Types of courses vary according to degree program.

One unit of algebra and one unit in any combination of advanced algebra, plane geometry, solid geometry, or trigonometry is required for associate degree programs in Radiological Sciences, Information Sciences and Technology, Medical Laboratory Technology, Science, Surveying Technology, Telecommunications Technology, and all Engineering Technology programs.

Any combination of algebra, geometry, trigonometry, or general mathematics are required for the associate degree programs in Agricultural Business; Criminal Justice, Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Management; Human Development and Family Studies; Letters, Arts, and Sciences; and Occupational Therapy.

One unit of algebra and one additional unit of mathematics are required for the associate degree programs in Business Administration, Forest Technology, Manufacturing Technology, Nursing, Physical Therapist Assistant, and Wildlife Technology. For the second unit, plane geometry is recommended for Business Administration, Forest Technology, Wildlife Technology, and Manufacturing Technology.

Estimating First-year Student Eligibility for Baccalaureate Majors

The ranges in the chart represent the middle 50 percent of students offered admission for fall 2006--they are not cutoffs or averages.

Click here for updated charts.

Placing in the upper end of both ranges increases the likelihood of being offered your first choice of campus/major. Placing in the lower end of both ranges may require you to be more flexible in making your campus (and perhaps major) choices.

High School GPA* Middle 50% Range

Penn State University Park 3.46-3.87
All other campuses 2.80-3.34

Composite SAT** Middle 50% Range

Penn State University Park 1160-1340
All other campuses 930-1150

Composite ACT** Middle 50% Range

Penn State University Park 26-30
All other campuses 20-25

*High school GPA range is based on a 4.0 scale.
**Critical reading and math scores only; Penn State will incorporate scores from the writing portion of the new SAT and ACT for students applying in 2008 and entering in 2009.

Admission decisions are based on a variety of factors. The most important factor, the high school grade-point average (GPA), accounts for approximately two-thirds of the admission decision. The remaining one-third of the decision is based on other factors, which may include standardized test scores, class rank, personal statements, and activities lists.