First Year Seminar Policy and Substitution Procedures

First Year Seminar Policy and Substitution Procedures

  1. All baccalaureate degree candidates will include a first-year seminar (FYS) as part of their first 27 credits scheduled in residence at Penn State. Students are encouraged to complete this requirement in their first two periods of enrollment.
  2. The following students are exempt from the FYS requirement: provisional and nondegree (regular and conditional) students who have completed 18 or more credits in that status, advanced standing admits (18 or more transfer credits), admits with 18 or more credits in another status at Penn State (e.g., associate degree), and associate degree candidates.
  3. Students enrolled in baccalaureate degree programs at Penn State Altoona who do not meet any of the criteria in #2 above will be required to take and pass SC 400, Consequences of Science (1 cr.), before being approved for graduation.
  4. If a student feels that he or she have not been correctly identified as exempt from the first-year seminar requirement and believe that he or she meets one or more of the criteria for exemption listed in #2 above, the student can appeal his or her status in writing to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. This appeal must be filed with the Associate Dean at least one month prior to the beginning of the semester in which the student plans to graduate. The Associate Dean may consult with the Registrar and the student’s advisor before making a determination.
  5. If a student, who did not take the FYS as part of their first 27 scheduled credits, wishes to take a course as a substitute for the FYS, the student must file an appeal in writing with the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs. This appeal must be filed with the Associate Dean at least one month prior to the beginning of the semester in which the student plans to graduate, and before taking the course proposed as a substitution. No retroactive substitutions will be allowed.

    The appeal should include the following:

    • A statement of how the proposed substituting course meets the spirit of the requirements for the first-year seminar.
    • A letter of support from the student’s advisor.
    • A letter from the instructor of the proposed course, which indicates how the course requirements will meet the spirit of the requirements for the first-year seminar.
    The Associate Dean may consult with the Division Head and Program Coordinator for the student’s major. The decision of the Associate Dean is final.
  6. No waivers of the First-Year Seminar requirement should be granted by program coordinators. Students requesting waivers should be provided a copy of this document (or a link to the website containing this document).
  7. Each summer, the Associate Dean's Administrative Assistant will request data from the Registrar’s Office. These data will include a list of all students in their 6th semester or higher who are not exempt and have not taken a first-year seminar. A letter indicating the need to complete this requirement, along with the policy and procedure statement will be sent to all of these students. A list of students who have not completed with their major and semester standing will be provided to the Division Heads and the Registrar.