In 1855, James Irvin of Bellefonte, Pennsylvania, donated 200 acres of land in order to create the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s first college of agricultural science, then named the Farmers’ High School of Pennsylvania. The original goal of the school was to apply scientific principles to farming. In 1862, with the passage of the Morrill Land-Grant Act, the school became Pennsylvania’s only land-grant institution which required subjects that included agriculture, mechanical arts, scientific and classical studies. At that time, the name of the school changed to the Agricultural College of Pennsylvania. The name changed again in 1875 when the school became Pennsylvania State College.

Initially, the school operated on tuition and sale of lands provided for them under the legislative action. In 1860, the state legislature appropriated $50,000 for the construction of their first building, Old Main, but no further support was provided for maintenance of the school.

It was not until the 1880s, however, that Penn State expanded its curriculum to meet the requirements of the Morrill Act. After that time, the school offered a wide range of engineering, science and liberal arts programs. This led to rapid expansion of the school and extended its mission. In the 1930s, Penn State added a serious of branch campuses in order to provide more opportunities for students who wished to advance their education but were unable to relocate to the main campus due to the Great Depression. The school became Pennsylvania State University in the 1970s.

Penn State Accreditation Details

Penn State is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Accreditation indicates that the university meets all quality standards set forth by the accrediting agency and demonstrates sound financial stability, resilience and the ability to sustain challenges. Programs throughout Penn State are accredited by the following institutions or agencies:

  • ABET
  • Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Diabetics
  • Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing
  • Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications
  • American Academy of Forensic Sciences
  • American Bar Association
  • American Occupational Therapy Association, Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education
  • American Physical Therapy Association, Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education
  • American Psychological Association, Commission on Accreditation
  • American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology
  • Association for Clinical Pastoral Education, Inc., Accreditation Commission
  • Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
  • Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Management Education
  • Commission on Collegiate Nursing Accreditation
  • Commission on English Language Program Accreditation
  • Council on Education for Public Health
  • Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology
  • Liaison Committee on Medical Education
  • National Association of Schools of Art and Design, Commission on Accreditation
  • National Association of Schools of Music, Commission on Accreditation
  • National Association of Schools of Theatre, Commission on Accreditation
  • National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education
  • Society of American Foresters

Penn State Application Requirements

Applicants who have earned no credit beyond high school graduation are considered first-year students at Penn State. Students must complete an application and submit a self-reported academic record as well as official SAT or ACT scores. There is a writing component that is part of the application. Some programs have additional application requirements so students are encouraged to speak to an advisor before completing their application.

Students who have completed 18 or more credit hours beyond high school graduation are considered transfer students. Students must complete an online application and provide official high school or GED transcripts if they have fewer than 18 credit hours. Students must also provide official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended. Students who have completed more than one semester of college coursework do not have to provide official ACT or SAT scores.

Students who are over the age of 24 and have been out of school for four years or more are considered adult learners. Those who served in the military or are assuming adult roles, such as parenting, a spouse or a full-time employee may also be considered adult learners. Anyone who fits the criteria of an adult learner who has completed 18 or more credits at an accredited college or university is considered a transfer student and should follow those steps to apply.

Graduate students must hold a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited college or university or a tertiary degree that is deemed equal to a four-year degree in order to apply. Students must provide official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended. Each program has their own admissions requirements, so students are encouraged to speak to an admissions counselor before applying.

Penn State Tuition and Financial Aid

Undergraduate tuition at Penn State is $17,416 per year or $726 per credit hour. Graduate tuition ranges from $785 per credit hour to $1,060 per credit hour depending on the program chosen.

Financial aid is available through the Office of Student Aid. In order to qualify for any financial assistance, students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Financial aid is available in the form of scholarships, grants, work-study and loans. Because of limited funding, Penn State is unable to meet financial needs for all students and expect the students along with family to cover the cost of tuition. Loans are the largest percentage of student aid at Penn State.

Penn State Degree Program(s) Available

Master of Education in Special Education Emphasis on ABA

Penn State offers a Master of Special Education degree program with an emphasis on Applied Behavior Analysis. The program is designed for those who wish to gain in-depth knowledge of ABA and who may want to become a Certified Behavior Analyst. The program includes an 18-credit courses sequence that prepares students to sit for the BCBA certification examination. Students develop the skills and knowledge to develop, implement and evaluate programs that promote positive behavior changes in special needs individuals. Courses required for the program include:

  • Applied Behavior Analysis for Special Education: Basic Principles I & II
  • Applied Behavior Analysis for Special Education: Extended Applications I & II
  • Ethical Considerations for Special Populations

Students must also complete a practicum in ABA in order to complete the degree program. Tuition for the program is $853 per credit hour. The program has the same mission as those who seek the degree and that is to help make life better for children with special needs. The program includes five online courses as well as one face-to-face course. The face-to-face course takes place each August on the Penn State University Park campus in partnership with the National Autism Conference.

Penn State offers a wide range of programs that are available in traditional on campus settings as well as in online formats that allow working adults to achieve their higher education goals while still meeting their obligations.

Related resource:

Top 15 Best Applied Behavior Analysis Online Programs