Submatriculation Option

Submatriculation for Anthropology MA Degree

Submatriculation is an option available to Penn undergraduates, in which a student who applies and is accepted into the program can receive their BA and MA degrees simultaneously. The College of the School of Arts and Science has full details about this program. See Effective fall 2022, Penn released updated policies and guidelines for the submatriculation program, including admissions, degree requirements, course enrollment, and costs and financial aid. 


  • Students must take at least one graduate level (5000+)* course in Anthropology before applying to submatriculate. Undergraduate students must receive permission from the instructor before registering for a graduate level course.

  • Few students are accepted into the program. In order to be eligible to apply for submatriculation, students must complete Block I and Block II of their undergraduate major requirements (or Cluster I and Cluster II, depending on the terminology of their major) and have a GPA of 3.5 of higher within their major.

  • Successful applicants are students who have a demonstrated record of excellence in coursework, research, and writing.

Submatriculation Program:

  • Undergraduate students accepted into the submatriculation program will be held to the same academic standards as graduate students.

  • Submatriculants are expected to finish both degrees within 5 years. Coursework should be completed in 4 years, and students can register for up to two full semesters of Master's Thesis Status, which maintains full-time status at the graduate student level in the final year.

  • A limit of 4 credit units at the graduate level can be double counted for both the BA and the MA degrees. These cannot include independent study courses.

  • Completion of both the BA and MA degrees requires 36 credit units at minimum.

  • Graduate courses taken prior to admission into the submatriculation program must be approved by the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies before being applied toward a master's degree.

  • Some anthropology courses have both an undergraduate course number and a graduate course number. In such instances, students must be enrolled in the graduate course section in order for the course to count towards the master's degree. The course number in which the student is enrolled cannot be changed from the undergraduate level to the graduate level after the end of that term's Course Selection Period. 

  • Students will not be able to retroactively apply courses towards the master's degree after the semester they were taken. This means that all submatriculating students must submit an updated submatriculant form to the College every semester in which they enroll in a course for the master's degree. The College will send reminders to submatriculant students asking for this information shortly after the end of the Course Selection Period each semester. 

  • Continuing for a PhD: If you are likely to pursue a PhD, where appropriate, we strongly encourage you to apply directly for the doctoral program rather than pursuing a submatriculated master's. Most PhD programs require a minimum of 12 courses beyond a master's program, giving you advanced standing for 8 graduate courses you completed in a masters. However, some schools and programs may have different rules governing coursework taken in a submatriculation program. Additionally, some doctoral research funding agencies may actually disqualify you from receiving certain kinds of support based on your advanced standing status.

  • Submatriculants are required to complete two of the four core graduate seminar courses; ANTH 6000, ANTH 6010, ANTH 6020, ANTH 6030; and must pass the Comprehensive Exam for both selected courses. Additional graduate level coursework can be selected by the student in advisement with the advisor.

  • Deadline for submission of MA thesis for MA degree: 1 month before deposit date the MA thesis must be sent to the advisor, 2nd reader, and Graduate Chair for tabling in the department. After the tabling period, the student deposits the thesis with corrections to the Graduate Division.


  • Applicants must be approved by the Undergraduate Chair and the Graduate Chair, in consultation with the Graduate Group, for admission.

  • Submatriculation applications are due on the graduate admissions deadline, December 15, during the applicant’s junior year. The application should be discussed with the Graduate Chair and Undergraduate Chair as soon as possible prior to this deadline. An application consists of a Statement of Purpose, a recommendation letter from a faculty member who would serve as advisor (submitted separately), and a completed Application for Submatriculation (

  • Students who become interested in submatriculation during their sophomore year should meet with the Undergraduate Coordinator and Undergraduate Chair to discuss their plan for completing their major’s foundational requirements.

If you would like more information on how to begin the process of applying to the submatriculation program contact the Graduate Coordinator at


*All Penn courses were assigned new 4-digit numbers in spring 2022. Courses numbered 5000 and higher are considered graduate level. Prior to this transition, courses numbered 400 and higher satisfied this requirement.