Course Substitution Process

If a course they took abroad did not transfer as a desired Penn State course number, the student is expected to complete the course substitution process. This is not facilitated by the Education Abroad office but requires student action and permission from your college dean’s office.


A student is expected to satisfy all University degree requirements (such as General Education, First-Year Seminar and Engagement, United States Cultures and International Cultures, Writing Across the Curriculum) that were in effect when the student first scheduled a class after his/her admission or most recent re-enrollment as a degree candidate. Requirements for a program (such as major, minor, option, honors) are those in effect at the time of the student's admission or most recent re-enrollment into that program.

A student wishing permission to deviate in any way from program requirements must have permission from the appropriate college dean.

Guidelines for Considering Courses

  1. The course to be substituted should be in the same area as the required course or in a closely related area.
  2. Substitution of a course for a previously failed required course is seldom granted.
  3. Failure to schedule a required course is not sufficient reason for granting permission for a course substitution

Student Action

  1. When working on your academic plans, discuss the possibility of a substitution with an adviser. Ideally, permission for a substitution should be obtained before you enroll in the course you wish to substitute.
  2. Schedule the course to be substituted. After scheduling it, obtain pertinent forms and directions in the appropriate college dean's office to request the substitution. A course must be scheduled or completed before the substitution can be officially approved and entered on your degree audit.
  3. When a substitution is approved, check your degree audit to verify that the substitution has been made.

For more information or help completing the course substitution process, please see your academic advisor or coordinator.

Penn State Handbook – Course Substitution Process
References(s): Senate Policy 82-60