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201 Old Main
University Park, PA 16802-1503
p. 814-865-4700
w. www.psu.edu/

Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus

Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus Rating: 4.5/5 (275 votes)

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Introduction

Pennsylvania State University, colloquially known as Penn State, is a public research university that awards associate, bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, and professional degrees and offers continuing education programs. Penn State’s main campus is located in the city of University Park; nineteen branch campuses are spread throughout the state. There is also a medical school in Hershey, a law school in Dickinson, a school of graduate and professional studies in Malvern, and the Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport.

The university’s mission is one “that improves the lives of the people of Pennsylvania, the nation, and the world through integrated, high-quality programs in teaching, research, and service.”

History

Although the school was not officially established until 1863, the idea of it was born in the 1850’s. Like many land grant universities, the school began as an agricultural college. A local iron worker donated 200 acres of farmland to the new institution, and the first president conceived a broad education based on his own European education.

Over the decades, the school grew as an agricultural research institution while developing a respected scientific research community. The United States’ involvement in the space race, along with national concerns for the quality of education, among other hot topics, have guided it to develop leading educational and research programs. The school received full university status in 1953.

Academics

The university’s strongest academic programs are in the technical and scientific fields, primarily life sciences, engineering, agriculture, and the earth sciences. These are also some of the tougher disciplines on campus. Other quality programs include geography, chemistry, mathematics, and business. Some of the more popular lectures can have class sizes of 300 or more. Overall, Penn State offers more than 225 programs of study for undergraduates. All undergraduates are required to take a certain allotment of “diversity-focused” courses that teach minority and cultural awareness.

The University Park Campus is comprised of several different schools and colleges:

  • College of Agricultural Sciences
  • College of Arts and Architecture
  • Smeal College of Business
  • College of Communications
  • College of Earth and Mineral Sciences
  • College of Education
  • College of Engineering
  • College of Health and Human Development
  • School of Information Sciences and Technology
  • College of the Liberal Arts
  • College of Medicine
  • College of Nursing
  • Eberly College of Science
  • School of Law
  • Schreyer Honors College
  • The Graduate School
  • Pennsylvania College of Technology
  • Division of Undergraduate Studies

Bachelor’s degrees are awarded in a number of different disciplines, including of accounting, administration of justice, agriculture, a wide range of the sciences and humanities, classics and ancient Mediterranean studies, creative writing, business, engineering, education, forensic science, hotel restaurant and institutional management, information sciences and technology, mathematics, music, nursing, plastics engineering technology, psychology, Russian, statistics, theatre, and women’s studies.

Graduate programs at the University Park campus also cover a wide range of fields, including acoustics, apply statistics, as your biology, counselor education, educational leadership, fuel science, health policy and administration, industrial engineering, mathematics, music, nursing, plant pathology, world sociology, teacher certification, wildlife and fisheries science, and youth and family education. There are graduate minor programs in gerontology, high-performance computing, language acquisition, linguistics, literary theory, criticism and aesthetics, medieval studies, religious studies, science, technology, and society, and social thought.

Graduate programs are also offered at the Erie campus, the Harrisburg campus, the School of Graduate and Professional Studies campus, and the College of Medicine. A few graduate programs, primarily in education, are also available through the online world campus. The law school is a partnership with the Dickinson school of Law.

Most Popular Fields of Study

Unique Programs

The meteorology program is home to AccuWeather, a system used to make accurate weather forecasts. In fact, the system’s designer is an alum. Other unique academic programs include Industrial Health and Safety and a focus on electrical engineering.

One beneficial offering is the L.E.A.P. (Learning Edge Academic Program). This intensive program immerses freshmen in the lifestyle of a large university, but teams them with like-minded students who have similar interests. Students study and attend class together and, in some cases, even live together. They also have access to career counselors to determine exactly how their degree can be put to use.

Admissions

An impressive eighty percent of undergraduates ranked in the top quarter of their high school class. For first year admissions, applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalent. The average entrant has a high school GPA of 3.51 to 3.90, a SAT score of 1180 to 1340, and an ACT score of 26 to 30. High school GPA accounts for two-thirds of an applicant’s results, while all other factors contribute to the other third. While these are all factors in determining admission, each student is considered on his or her own individual merit and how he or she might contribute to the greater university community.

It is strongly recommended that applicants for the fall semester have complete applications filed by November 30 of the prior year. In addition to the application form and fee, students must provide high school transcripts and test scores. Programs such as architecture, music, theatre, visual arts, pre-medicine, the joint science BS/MBA, and the golf management program have special additional requirements. Applications can be submitted online.

Graduate students should consult the individual program for instructions for applications. Students applying to the Dickinson school of Law or the College of Medicine at Hershey should consult those schools specifically for information about the requirements. Applicants may only apply to one graduate program/campus at a time. Nondegree admission is available.

Financial Aid

Financial aid is available with a combination of grants, scholarships, loans, and work-study programs. For all undergraduates, the FAFSA should be submitted as early as possible. The Office of Student Aid offers university-wide scholarships, for which students are automatically considered when the apply for admission. Scholarships that are based in particular fields must be applied for through the department that offers them. Athletes are especially welcomed in the scholarship programs, which offers over 500 different athletic scholarships in various NCAA sports.

Over seventy percent of students with financial aid received loans. The Office of Student Aid can facilitate application for the appropriate loan program for each student, including Perkins Loans, Stafford Loans, and the PLUS loan for parents of undergraduates.

Student Financial Aid Details

Ranks 1381st for the average student loan amount.
Secrets to getting the best scholarships and financial aid in Pennsylvania.

Students

Dormitory living is a requirement for all first year students. While the university is fairly well known for its academics, it also has quite a reputation for parties and celebrations on campus. Greeks make up a significant portion of the student body, and offer regular partying options. The student union, aptly named The Hub, is open 24 hours for students who are looking for some kind of entertainment besides partying.

The university’s location among some of the country’s most beautiful countryside offers students various options for outdoor activity. Skiing, hiking, and sailing are favorite pastimes. Local events include the arts, as well as symphonies, rock concerts, and ballet.

In addition to the numerous classroom, dormitory, and administration buildings, the campus features a theatre, two auditoriums, an art museum, and several other galleries. There are a number of research institutes on campus.

The library offers electronic catalogs and online databases, in additional to physical volumes stored on site. There are a number of smaller libraries devoted to particular programs. Special collections include rare books and manuscripts, the university archives, and the historical collection and labor archives.

Student Enrollment Demographics

Student Graduation Demographics

Athletics

The athletic department fields twenty-nine varsity teams in NCAA Division I, with baseball, basketball, cross-country, diving, fencing, football, golf, gymnastics, lacrosse, soccer, swimming, tennis, track & field, volleyball, and wrestling for men and basketball, cross-country, diving, fencing, field hockey, golf, gymnastics, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, track & field, and volleyball for women. National titles have been captured in field hockey, fencing, and volleyball.

The Nittany Lions have almost a cult following. Tailgate parties—both pregame and postgame—prevail on game day. Some of the University’s biggest rivals include Michigan and Ohio, and tickets for those games are highly coveted. Recent renovations to the University stadium have made it much friendlier and more comfortable.

Sports facilities include Beaver Stadium, which has capacity of 107,282 seats, a multipurpose building, golf courses, baseball and softball fields, a tennis center, and a center for basketball. (The Jordan Center also hosts entertainment and other activities.) The University has a sports museum with 10,000 square feet.

Traditions

The Nittany Lion mascot dates back to the early 1900s, when the term “nittany” (which means ‘mountain’ in a native American language) was applied to a local wildcat. The campus is home to the Nittany Lion Shrine, a likeness of the lion carved into limestone, where students gather for spirit events. For visitors to the university and the local community, the Nittany Lion Inn offers visitors a spirited and historic location with all the comforts of the northeast.

Information Summary

Ranks 12th in Pennsylvania and 104th overall
See the entire top 2,000 colleges and universities list

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Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus 2 Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus football :: Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus paul posluszny :: Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus College Building :: Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus Applied Science Building :: Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus Old Main :: Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus Beaver Stadium Penn State :: Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus

Campus Crime Statistics

Ranks 0th in Pennsylvania and 389th overall on StateUniversity.com‘s Safe School Index
  Incidents per 100 Students
Aggravated assault 9 0.02
Murder & Non-Negligent Manslaughter N/A N/A
Rape 30 0.07
Robbery 3 0.01
Arson 12 0.03
Burglary 130 0.28
Larceny N/A N/A
Vehicle theft 4 0.01
Arrest 373 0.82

Demographics – Main Campus and Surrounding Areas

Reported area around or near University Park, PA 16802-1503
Surrounding communitySmall city (inside urban area, pop. under 100,000)
Total Population9,172 (9,172 urban / N/A rural)
Households16 (1.31 people per house)
Median Household IncomeN/A
Families3 (2.00 people per family)

Carnegie Foundation Classification

Research Universities (very high research activity)
UndergraduateProfessions plus arts & sciences, high graduate coexistence
GraduateComprehensive doctoral (no medical/veterinary)
Undergraduate PopulationFull-time four-year, more selective, lower transfer-in
EnrollmentHigh undergraduate
Size & SettingLarge four-year, primarily residential

General Characteristics

Title IV EligibilityParticipates in Title IV federal financial aid programs
Highest offeringDoctoral degree
Calendar SystemSemester
Years of college work requiredN/A
Variable Tuition
Religious AffiliationN/A
Congressional District4205

Special Learning Opportunities

Distance LearningN/A
ROTC — Army / Navy / Air Force  —   /   / 
Study Abroad
Weekend College
Teacher Certification

Student Tuition Costs and Fees


Ranks 385th for total cost of attendance
  In District In State Out of State
Effective as of 2014-09-19
FT Undergraduate Tuition $16,090 $16,090 $28,664
FT Undergraduate Required Fees $902 $902 $902
PT Undergraduate per Credit Hour $670 $670 $1,194
FT Graduate Tuition $18,270 $18,270 $31,246
FT Graduate Required Fees $902 $902 $902
PT Graduate per Credit Hour $761 $761 $1,302
Total Cost of Attendance — On-Campus $33,592 $33,592 $46,166
Total Cost of Attendance — Off-Campus w/out Family $33,592 $33,592 $46,166
Total Cost of Attendance — Off-Campus with Family $22,792 $22,792 $35,366

Student Tuition Costs for Professional Fields

  In State Out of State
Effective as of 2014-09-19
Law Degree — Tuition $41,088 $41,088
Law Degree — Required Fees $952 $952

Student Tuition Cost History and Trends

Prior year cost comparison
  In District In State Out of State
Published Tuition & Fees $15,984 $16,444 $15,984 $16,444 $28,066 $28,746
  Cost (regardless of residency)
Effective as of 2014-09-19
Books & Supplies $1,536 $1,568
On-Campus – Room & Board $9,432 $9,702
On-Campus – Other Expenses $4,050 $4,140
Off-Campus w/out Family – Room & Board $9,432 $9,702
Off-Campus w/out Family – Other Expenses $4,050 $4,140
Off-Campus with Family – Room & Board $3,906 $4,104

Admission Details

Effective as of 2014-09-19
Application Fee RequiredN/A
Undergraduate Application Fee$50
Graduate Application Fee$65
First Professional Application FeeN/A
Applicants 47,552 (24,107 male / 23,445 female)
Admitted 25,772 (12,576 male / 13,196 female)
Admission rate 54%
First-time Enrollment 7,649 (3,932 male / 3,717 female)
FT Enrollment 7,605 (3,918 male / 3,687 female)
PT Enrollment 44 (14 male / 30 female)
Total Enrollment46,615

Admission Criteria

 = Required,   = Recommended,   = Neither required nor recommended
Open Admissions
Secondary School GPA / Rank / Record  /   / 
College Prep. Completion
RecommendationsN/A
Formal competency demoN/A
Admission test scores
TOEFL
Other testsN/A

Admission Credits Accepted

Dual Credit
Life Experience
Advanced Placement (AP)

Athletics - Association Memberships

Sports / Athletic Conference Memberships NCAA
NCAA Football Conference Big Ten Conference
NCAA Basketball Conference Big Ten Conference
NCAA Baseball Conference Big Ten Conference
NCAA Track & Field Conference Big Ten Conference

ACT Test Admission

166th for 75pctl scores
Applicants submitting ACT results 14%
Verbal scores (25/75 %ile) 24 / 30
Math scores (25/75 %ile) 25 / 30
Cumulative scores (25/75 %ile) 25 / 29

SAT Test Admission

201st for 75pctl scores
Applicants submitting SAT results 78%
Verbal scores (25/75 %ile) 530 / 630
Math scores (25/75 %ile) 560 / 670
Cumulative scores (25/75 %ile) 1090 / 1300

Student Services

Remedial Services
Academic / Career Counseling
PT Cost-defraying Employment
Career Placement
On-Campus Day Care
Library Facility

Student Living

First-time Room / Board Required
Dorm Capacity13,631
Meals per WeekN/A
Room Fee$5,190
Board Fee$4,900

Student Completion / Graduation Demographics

 
Total 990 494 545 662 12 8,892 279 12,076
Accounting 48 9 17 50 1 342 9 477
Acoustics 3 1 1 9 14
Acting 1 1 12 1 16
Actuarial Science 10 4 35 1 51
Adult and Continuing Education Administration 2 13 1 16
Adult and Continuing Education and Teaching 1 1
Advertising 12 7 17 11 270 5 325
Aerospace, Aeronautical and Astronautical/Space Engineering 7 3 6 15 81 2 115
African-American/Black Studies 1 1 1 3
Agribusiness/Agricultural Business Operations 1 2 3 4 36 2 50
Agricultural Business and Management, Other 1 5 6
Agricultural Engineering 4 1 2 40 1 49
Agricultural Mechanization, General 1 15 1 18
Agricultural Teacher Education 1 16 1 18
Agriculture, General 2 31 34
Agronomy and Crop Science 1 1 1 1 4
Animal Physiology
Animal Sciences, General 3 4 82 3 92
Anthropology 1 5 4 1 35 2 49
Archeology 10 2 12
Architectural Engineering 9 2 5 9 119 8 152
Architecture 3 3 3 1 33 1 46
Art History, Criticism and Conservation 2 1 1 21 27
Art Teacher Education 1 24 25
Art/Art Studies, General 1 2 1 60 2 68
Asian Studies/Civilization 2 1 1 1 9 16
Astronomy 1 7 8
Athletic Training/Trainer 1 1 18 20
Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology, General 3 2 3 62 2 73
Biochemistry 13 1 4 15 60 2 96
Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering 1 1 5 41 2 51
Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Other 2 33 14 13 1 140 6 215
Biological and Physical Sciences 5 7 6 38 86 3 146
Biology Technician/Biotechnology Laboratory Technician 19 5 10 1 35
Biology/Biological Sciences, General 7 10 11 30 177 3 248
Biomedical Sciences, General 1 1
Biotechnology 10 1 5 1 17
Business Administration and Management, General 34 9 8 11 67 2 132
Business, Management, Marketing, and Related Support Services, Other 1 2 16 1 20
Business/Commerce, General 2 2
Business/Managerial Economics 2 1 2 5 11 2 23
Cell/Cellular and Molecular Biology 1 1
Chemical Engineering 19 3 1 15 104 6 152
Chemistry, General 5 2 1 1 35 44
Chinese Language and Literature 1 1 3
Civil Engineering, General 21 3 7 6 169 3 212
Classics and Classical Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics, General 20 20
College Student Counseling and Personnel Services 1 1 1 5 8
Communication Sciences and Disorders, General 4 2 15 2 149 4 178
Communication, Journalism, and Related Programs, Other 8 14 4 4 113 147
Community Organization and Advocacy
Comparative Literature 1 10 11
Computer Engineering, General 5 2 6 27 2 42
Computer Science 10 1 7 18
Computer and Information Sciences, General 5 2 7 58 2 74
Conducting 1 3 4
Counselor Education/School Counseling and Guidance Services 2 2 2 1 18 25
Criminal Justice/Law Enforcement Administration 3 33 31 10 205 6 294
Criminal Justice/Safety Studies 3 3
Curriculum and Instruction 3 2 30 1 36
Design and Applied Arts, Other 2 3
Dietitian Assistant
Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts, General 2 14 17
East Asian Studies 1
Ecology 5 5
Economics, General 85 6 8 22 179 6 309
Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research, Other 1 7 8
Educational Evaluation and Research 1 1
Educational Leadership and Administration, General 9 5 2 23 1 41
Educational Psychology 3 1 2 6
Educational/Instructional Technology 1 6 7
Electrical and Electronics Engineering 41 4 4 12 128 5 194
Elementary Education and Teaching 3 5 8 3 246 4 272
Engineering Mechanics 1 1
Engineering Science 5 2 1 3 39 51
Engineering, General 1 3 14 2 20
Engineering, Other 5 3 5 41 1 55
English Language and Literature, General 2 8 7 5 94 5 129
Entomology 1 1 2
Environmental Studies 3 2 2 27 1 35
Environmental/Environmental Health Engineering 5 2 28 36
Family Practice Nurse/Nursing 2 2
Film/Cinema/Video Studies 1 3 3 1 53 61
Finance, General 61 4 17 19 249 7 362
Food Science 5 2 2 3 36 1 49
Foreign Language Teacher Education 6 4 54 2 66
Forensic Science and Technology 3 6 25 36
Forest Management/Forest Resources Management 1 4 5
Forest Sciences and Biology 1 13 1 15
Forest Technology/Technician 1 3 4
French Language and Literature 1 4 1 2 16 25
Genetics, General 1 1 2
Geography 3 3 3 61 2 73
Geological and Earth Sciences/Geosciences, Other 5 29 34
Geology/Earth Science, General 9 2 4 9 113 3 143
German Language and Literature 1 1 12 14
Graphic Design 1 1 1 11 14
Health/Health Care Administration/Management 2 14 7 10 75 2 111
Higher Education/Higher Education Administration 1 2 10 1 15
History, General 5 3 1 1 117 4 132
Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, Firefighting and Related Protective Services, Other 2 2 3 3 71 2 83
Horticultural Science 1 1 16 1 19
Hospitality Administration/Management, Other 15 10 13 15 141 5 204
Human Development and Family Studies, General 7 9 4 110 5 138
Human Nutrition 4 4 5 8 100 3 124
Human Resources Management and Services, Other 6 6
Immunology 1 1 2
Industrial Engineering 70 2 10 16 109 4 211
Information Science/Studies 40 13 32 41 1 346 11 488
Information Technology
International Relations and Affairs 11 13 14 11 124 4 182
International/Global Studies 12 3 5 14 35
Italian Language and Literature 10 11
Japanese Language and Literature 3 2 1 1 7 1 16
Jewish/Judaic Studies 2 2
Journalism 6 24 21 6 1 197 6 270
Journalism, Other 1 31 2 35
Keyboard Instruments
Kinesiology and Exercise Science 4 6 14 8 1 274 7 323
Labor and Industrial Relations 6 3 3 3 48 1 66
Landscape Architecture 1 1 1 40 43
Landscaping and Groundskeeping 1 1 1 28 33
Latin American Studies 1 1 2
Liberal Arts and Sciences/Liberal Studies 1 1 11 13
Management Information Systems, General 2 4 1 3 22 1 33
Management Sciences and Quantitative Methods, Other
Marketing/Marketing Management, General 21 13 12 15 224 8 297
Materials Engineering 3 1 6 10
Materials Science 10 1 1 2 32 1 47
Mathematics, General 36 4 2 11 78 6 137
Mechanical Engineering 20 1 12 11 287 8 346
Medical Microbiology and Bacteriology 1 1 1 3 11 17
Medieval and Renaissance Studies 3 3
Mining and Mineral Engineering 1 1 2 9 13
Music History, Literature, and Theory
Music Performance, General 2 2 5 9
Music Teacher Education 1 21 23
Music Theory and Composition 4 4
Music, General 1 1 2 28 36
Musicology and Ethnomusicology 4 4
Natural Resource Economics 1 1 1 3
Natural Resources and Conservation, Other 1 1 48 51
Natural Resources/Conservation, General 1 3 36 2 42
Nuclear Engineering 2 3 5 5 75 5 97
Nursing Administration
Organizational Behavior Studies 13 11 7 6 1 101 1 144
Parks, Recreation and Leisure Facilities Management, General 1 4 4 1 137 5 156
Pathology/Experimental Pathology 1 1 2
Petroleum Engineering 40 4 5 4 40 3 99
Philosophy 3 3 2 3 41 2 56
Physics, General 3 1 4 1 36 2 49
Plant Pathology/Phytopathology 1 1
Plant Protection and Integrated Pest Management 3 3
Political Science and Government, General 4 14 12 5 1 131 4 174
Pre-Medicine/Pre-Medical Studies 2 2 3 30 37
Pre-Veterinary Studies 1 1 35 1 39
Programs for Foreign Lawyers 44 1 1 46
Psychology, General 20 40 30 24 2 318 7 448
Public Health, General
Registered Nursing, Nursing Administration, Nursing Research and Clinical Nursing, Other 1 1
Registered Nursing/Registered Nurse 1 2 2 7 129 7 151
Rehabilitation and Therapeutic Professions, Other 5 7 1 1 55 1 70
Religion/Religious Studies 5 1 8
Russian Language and Literature 2 6 8
School Psychology 4 4
Science, Technology and Society 1 1
Secondary Education and Teaching 1 2 1 118 2 126
Social Sciences, Other 1 1 2
Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education 3 1 4
Sociology 3 7 7 2 44 65
Soil Science and Agronomy, General 2 2
Spanish Language and Literature 2 2 7 2 54 2 71
Special Education and Teaching, General 34 2 36
Speech Communication and Rhetoric 5 17 9 3 128 7 173
Statistics, General 14 1 1 29 45
Substance Abuse/Addiction Counseling 1 1
Teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language/ESL Language Instructor 11 2 5 18
Technical Theatre/Theatre Design and Technology 13 13
Toxicology 2 2 16 20
Turf and Turfgrass Management 1 1 25 3 30
Veterinary Microbiology and Immunobiology 2 2 6 22 1 34
Visual and Performing Arts, General 2 7 3 38 3 54
Voice and Opera 1 1 2
Web Page, Digital/Multimedia and Information Resources Design
Women's Studies 1 5 6
Youth Services/Administration

Faculty Compensation / Salaries

Ranks 314th for the average full-time faculty salary.
Effective as of 2014-09-20
Tenure system N/A
Average FT Salary $94,170 ($104,497 male / $71,556 female)
Number of FT Faculty 2,629 (1,592 male / 1,037 female)
Number of PT Faculty 3,457
FT Faculty Ratio 0.8 : 1
Total Benefits $85,152,000
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Elisabeth Bailey+

Elisabeth Bailey is a freelance writer and editor with particular interests in academics, food,and sustainability . She is also the author of A Taste of the Maritimes: Local, Seasonal Recipes the Whole Year Round and writes regularly for Canadian Farmers’ Almanac and the National Wildlife Federation. Elisabeth and her family live and enjoy great local food in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.

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