Academics

Location
University Park, PA
Undergrads
37,917
Tuition (in-state)
$28,746 ($16,444)
Admission Difficulty
Average
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Reviews

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4 College Sophomore

Academics: My medical program is a very rigorous course load

3 College Freshman

Academics: I have enjoyed my professors and the workload has not been too difficult as of yet.

1 person found this useful Report
3 College Freshman

Academics: The registration prices for a new student is confusing - and there is not a lot of assist from staff. You do need to get most of your questions answered from other students.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Junior

Academics: I love the classes here. I've had a lot of instructors whom really have been able to teach people. Granted its their job but they do it in a sense that makes people want to learn and know more and understand more. The facilites are top of the line. The work load is alright, as a double major and a full time worker outside school it can get a bit much.

3 College Junior

Academics: I work and am a double major so it can get a little much sometimes. Thankfully I've been able to keep up while working for my keep. The professors teach very clearly most of the time and they are very clear when teaching.

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Rankings View more rankings . . .

  • 4th
    Best Course Variety
  • 12th
    Best Online Course Options
  • 26th
    Best Use of Teaching Assistants
  • 28th
    Best Technology in the Classroom
  • 30th
    Best Registration Process

Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

James Bunting
Hometown
Whitehall, PA
Major
Journalism
View all previous student authors

Penn State features a wide range of professors and class types. Most teachers are well trained in their field, but there are always exceptions to the rule. Just like most schools, graduate and international students serve as teaching assistants. Some can be easier to work with than others. It becomes pretty easy to learn which professors are student-friendly and which ones to avoid. Upperclassmen and Web sites like RateMyProfessors.com are good sources to guide you. The bottom line is that your effort will usually dictate your grade: If you put in the work, your grade will reflect it.

Class size also varies widely. It’s easy to get lost in the large auditorium classes, but these are unavoidable when you’re working on general requirements. As you progress in a major, though, you’ll find that classes become smaller, more discussion-oriented, and more personal. Penn State has a lot to offer academically, and this is especially true if you’re motivated to learn.

Facts & Statistics

Student-Faculty Ratio
17:1
Full-Time Instructional Faculty
2,502
Part-Time Instructional Faculty
416
Total FT Faculty
3,196
Faculty with Terminal Degree
77%
Average Faculty Salary
$87,356
Full-Time Retention Rate
92%
Part-Time Retention Rate
85%
Graduation Rate
86%
Programs/Majors Offered
185
Academic/Career Counseling?
Yes
Remedial Services?
Yes
Class Sizes
  • Fewer than 20 Students : 32%
  • 20 to 49 Students : 50%
  • 50 or More Students: 18%
Instructional Programs
Occupational: Yes
Academic: Yes
Continuing Professional: Yes
Recreational/Avocational: No
Adult Basic Remedial: No
Secondary (High School): No
Special Credit Opportunities
Advanced Placement (AP) Credits: Yes
Dual Credit: Yes
Life Experience Credits: Yes
Undergraduate Schools/Divisions
  • College of Agricultural Sciences
  • College of Arts and Architecture
  • College of Communications
  • College of Earth and Mineral Sciences
  • College of Education
  • College of Engineering
  • College of Health and Human Development
  • College of Information Sciences and Technology
  • College of the Liberal Arts
  • Eberly College of Science
  • Schreyer Honors College
  • Smeal College of Business
Degrees Awarded
  • Associate degree
  • Bachelor's degree
  • Certificate
  • Doctorate - Professional practice
  • Doctorate - Research/scholarship
  • Master's degree
  • Post-bachelor's certificate
Most Popular Majors
  • Accounting: 2%
  • Finance, General: 2%
  • Information Science/Studies: 2%
  • Psychology: 2%
Special Study Options
  • Study abroad
  • Teacher certification (below the postsecondary level)
  • Weekend/evening college
Best Places to Study
  • The Hub
  • The Library
  • Quiet coffee shops
Tips to Succeed
  • Always stay a step ahead when planning future housing.
  • Expand your circle of friends.
  • Penn State gives you 16 late-drop credits. Do not be afraid to use them.
  • Read The Daily Collegian for Penn State news.
  • Study from day one, not the day before the test.
Did You Know?
  • Thirty percent of classes have fewer than 20 students.
  • Penn State offers 149 baccalaureate degrees.

Student Polls

Who are the most notable alumni from this school?    Based on 38 responses

  • 31% Ben and Jerry
  • 18% Franco Harris - former NFL player
  • 9% Roosevelt Grier - actor, former NFL player
  • 9% Valerie Plame - former CIA officer
  • 6% Tom Verducci - Sports Illustrated writer
  • 6% Lisa Salters - ESPN reporter
  • 4% Charles Bierbauer - journalist, news anchor
  • 4% Jonathan Frakes - actor
  • 4% Ty Burrell
  • 4% Terry Pegula
  • 2% Margaret Carlson - columnist
  • 1% Julius Epstein
  • 0% Carmen Finestra - actress

How strongly do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements?    Based on 217 responses

Strongly disagree
Strongly agree
  • The academic advisers are helpful.
  • It is easy to get the classes you want.
  • Grading is generally consistent and fair.
  • There are a variety of interesting courses to take.
  • Students are encouraged to explore a wide range of courses and topics.
  • My Gen-Ed requirements are worthwhile and meaningful.
  • The workload is easy to manage.
  • There are plenty of good online course options.
  • Teaching assistants (TAs) are used effectively.
  • The course scheduling/registration process is efficient and student-friendly.
  • Classrooms/labs are up-to-date and incorporate new technologies effectively.

How strongly do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements regarding the professors at this school?    Based on 210 responses

Strongly disagree
Strongly agree
  • Professors are approachable and helpful when needed
  • Professors are engaging and easy to understand.
  • Professors are experts in their field.
  • Professors are passionate about the topics they teach.
  • Professors care about their students' success.
  • Professors put a lot of effort into teaching their classes.
  • Professors use teaching assistants (TAs) effectively.

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