Schreyer Honors College (SHC)at Penn State

Integrated Undergraduate/Graduate Programs

There are two types of Integrated Undergraduate/Graduate (IUG) programs at penn State. The first type includes programs approved by the University for all qualified students. A current list of these programs is available on the University Faculty Senate website. If you are interested in any of these programs and if you are in the appropriate undergraduate degree program, please contact your honors adviser for more information. While application for these programs is not handled through the Schreyer Honors College, you should contact once your application is accepted so we can make the appropriate notation in your SHC records.

The second type of IUG, available only to Schreyer Scholars, permits students to propose a "custom" combination of bachelor's and master's degree programs. The information below summarizes the expectations and application process.

IUG Program

The Schreyer Honors College provides ambitious, research-oriented students the opportunity to pursue simultaneous undergraduate and graduate degrees in programs that have a master’s degree curriculum. In addition to having outstanding academic records, an established research record, and well-defined academic and career plans which include graduate study, these extraordinary students have made unusually accelerated progress in the major. Neither the fixed time periods traditionally associated with the undergraduate degrees, nor many graduate and professional degrees, nor the sharp break between undergraduate and graduate study, serve any significant purpose for these students.

IUG status permits Scholars to take on the rigors and research challenges of graduate study at Penn State, coordinating and combining them with their baccalaureate studies. Because some credits earned as an undergraduate may be applied to both degree programs, the time required for completion of integrated undergraduate/graduate studies is normally less than that required to complete separate degree programs. The actual time required is determined by the individual student’s objectives and needs. The acceleration of work in the major must not be at the expense of the richest possible undergraduate experience; therefore, the student is required to demonstrate a balance between the accelerated specialization and a sound general education.

The advantages of Integrated Undergraduate/Graduate status are several:

  • It permits coherent planning of studies through the graduate degree, with advising informed by not only the requirements of the baccalaureate program, but also the longer-range goals of the graduate degree.
  • It permits and promotes higher levels of research accomplishment.
  • While still undergraduates, students with IUG status benefit from their association with graduate students whose level of work and whose intensity of interest and commitment parallel or even surpass their own.
  • The student will have earlier contact with the rigors of graduate study (in some cases substituting graduate work for undergraduate requirements) and with graduate faculty. The resources of the Graduate School are accessible to IUG students.
  • For most students, the total time required to reach completion of the higher degree will be shortened.

Note: Schreyer Honors College cannot extend the Academic Excellence Scholarship for the fifth year of study if a student is planning to complete an Integrated Undergraduate/Graduate (IUG) degree. Exceptions may be made with evidence of high financial need. If you have demonstrated high financial need, please contact Dr. Mitch Kirsch, Associate Dean of Student Affairs.

An IUG Scholar should be of the highest quality. His/her records should indicate:

  • An outstanding GPA
  • Ambition in honors pursuit (e.g., number of honors credits, breadth of honors study, unusual depth of honors study)
  • Ambition in research
  • Balance of accelerated specialization and enriched general education
  • Favorable comparison with other applicants for graduate study and with other Schreyer Scholars in the department

An IUG application should underscore the educational advantages to be derived from IUG status:

  • It should clearly communicate why an IUG is an appropriate plan of study for the applicant
  • It should communicate a sense of purpose beyond acceleration to a professional certificate
  • It may include advantages derived beyond the major

Students considering the IUG program should not be co-opted into decisions that are contrary to their own best interests:

  • Is the student aware of alternative graduate institutions and career paths?
  • If students plan to pursue doctoral work, are they encouraged to seek admission to other institutions?
Before Starting

Schreyer Scholars seeking to apply for graduate studies through the IUG program should:

  • Research the department's academic requirements for admission to the graduate program
  • Discuss the IUG program with their honors adviser

In all cases, prospective IUG applicants must meet with the college of their desired graduate program to determine if there is an IUG program in effect in that college for their desired major. Then the student must meet with the Associate Dean of the SHC before submitting the materials described in these guidelines. Please note, if the desired college already has an IUG program in existence, these application procedures do not apply to the student. Please contact the SHC Academic Team for expedited procedures.

The SHC has no control over the graduate-level entrance requirements or the curriculum of any graduate degree program. Students accepted through the IUG process into a graduate degree program are subject to that program's entire curriculum and examination processes, including but not limited to qualifying examinations. IUG applicants must also apply to the Graduate School by completing the online Graduate School application.

When to Apply

Application materials may be filed during the Scholar's fourth, fifth or sixth semester of study. IUG applications submitted in the fall or spring semesters must be completed by 5:00 PM on the fifth Friday of the semester. Application materials completed after this date will be considered at the beginning of the following semester. There is no summer review of IUG applications. Applications from Scholars after their seventh semester of study will only be considered if the student has at least two semesters of undergraduate courses remaining and will require SHC Associate Dean approval prior to applying.

How to Apply

The SHC application packet for the IUG program consists of the following materials:

Support Letters from Faculty and Administrators Addressed to "IUG Review Committee"

All support letters should comment incisively on the suitability of the candidate for the IUG program. A minimum of two letters is required.

  • A letter of nomination from the honors adviser
  • A letter of nomination from the prospective research mentor for the master's program. This letter must address the details of the proposed area of research focus and the student's ability to conduct that work.
  • A letter of confirmation from the head of the graduate program explicitly stating that appropriate departmental graduate admissions processes have been applied and that the student has been granted entry into the departmental graduate program pending approval of admission to the Graduate School.
A Personal Statement

The personal statement should complement support letters when addressing the criteria provided under Criteria for Evaluation and the evaluation elements described in the Evaluation Procedure below. The statement should also demonstrate the student's mature scholarly ability, communication skills, and potential for success in graduate school in the chosen field.

The personal statement should be divided into four categories and be responsive to the following required elements:

  • Include your name, your undergraduate major(s), your current cumulative grade point average, and your intended master's degree program.
  • Summarize important aspects of your academic experiences to-date that ultimately led you to consider the IUG program.
  • Describe your long-term goals and how an IUG complements those goals.
  • Identify your research area that will constitute the focus of the graduate degree.
A Plan of Study

The IUG Plan of Study shows a list of courses leading to the graduate degree, undergraduate degree, and those that are counted on both transcripts.

The honors adviser must approve the undergraduate plan of study. The professor in charge of the graduate program must approve the graduate plan of study.

As many as twelve of the academic credits earned by the IUG Scholar may be applied to both undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Fifty percent or more of the courses proposed to count for both degrees must be at the 500 level. Thesis credits may not be double-counted. Undergraduate honors requirements must be met by courses listed on your undergraduate transcript; 500-level courses used to meet those honors requirements and graduate requirements must be among those double-counted.

When an IUG Scholar completes both the undergraduate and graduate degrees simultaneously, where both degrees are in the same program, and where the program head approves, the master's thesis may be submitted in lieu of the undergraduate honors thesis. Otherwise, two separate theses are required.

Transcript/Degree Audit
Both a transcript and a degree audit must be printed from LionPath to be submitted as part of the application.
Resumé or Curriculum Vitae
The student must prepare a resumé or curriculum vitae to be submitted as part of the application.
Applications Materials Checklist
  • Graduate Department Support Letter
  • Honors Adviser Support Letter
  • Research Mentor Support Letter
  • Personal Statement
  • Transcript and Degree Audit
  • Plan of Study (approved by honors adviser)
  • Copy of Graduate School Application
  • Admission Decision Form from graduate department

All application materials must be submitted to the administrative assistant in the Associate Dean's Office in the Schreyer Honors College by the fifth Friday of the semester. Please hand deliver materials to C-10 Atherton Hall or send by campus mail to 10 Schreyer Honors College.

Evaluation Procedure
  • The Faculty Advisory Committee of the SHC evaluates each application. The committee evaluates the application looking for:
    • A plan of study consistent with the requirements and spirit of the program
    • Strong recommendations that comment incisively on the aforementioned criteria and research aptitude of the applicant
  • Applicants are notified of the action of the Faculty Advisory Committee approximately one month after the submission deadline for that semester.
  • If the application is approved by the SHC, it is then sent to the Graduate School for approval.
  • When an applicant has been approved for IUG status at all three levels (program department/college, SHC, and Graduate School), that Scholar will receive a letter of notification from the Director of Graduate Enrollment Services.
  • An appropriate notation of participation in the IUG program will be made on the IUG Scholar's transcript.
Important Things To Know and Do
  • In their graduate program year — typically the fifth year — IUG Scholars in some programs may be eligible for National Science Foundation awards and other research grants through the University Fellowships Office. Every IUG Scholar should make an appointment with the Director of the Undergraduate Fellowships Office as soon as the IUG is approved to discuss possible awards and fellowships.
  • Each semester, an IUG Scholar must complete the IUG Semester Report and submit it to the Graduate School by February 15 for Spring semester, June 15 for Summer semester, and October 15 for Fall semester. It must be signed by the student, graduate program head, undergraduate program adviser or honors adviser, college Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education and the Graduate School/GES (114 Kern Building). This form is required by the Graduate School in order to properly process courses taken by an undergraduate student so they can be counted toward the graduate degree or toward both the graduate and undergraduate degrees. Failure to submit these Semester Reports will result in no graduate level transcript.
  • A student may retain IUG status for as long as he or she remains in the Schreyer Honors College. If Schreyer Honors College status or IUG status is terminated, the provision allowing courses to count for both graduate and undergraduate programs ceases to apply, even for courses already completed.
  • Undergraduate tuition rates will apply as long as the IUG Scholar is an undergraduate (i.e. the baccalaureate degree has not been conferred), unless the student receives financial support, for example an assistantship, requiring the payment of graduate tuition.

IUG Forms


Questions about the IUG program should be referred to:

SHC Academic Team
(814) 865-4257

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