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A meeting with health administrators at Mount Nittany

Academic Planning Spring 2021

A message from Associate Dean Shea

As students begin academic planning for Spring 2021, HHD continues to seek to provide as many options as we can for students, whether they wish to be remote or want to take some in-person courses. It's important for students to consider and discuss how your plans will affect your academic progress, financial aid, cocurricular opportunities, and other plans. Penn State updated information on Spring academic plans recently on the web site . For those students seeking to explore all their options, I'll emphasize some of the possibilities:

  • If any HHD World Campus courses are not filled, University Park students will be able to register for them beginning one week before classes start.
  • HHD is encouraging all of its academic programs to continue providing flexibility in degree requirements to students, if possible.  For example, if a student is unable to complete a degree requirement available only through an in-person class, departments may be able to offer alternatives (course substitutions, independent study, waivers of major requirements, etc.), so students can make degree progress. Accreditation and other requirements can limit a program's ability to provide flexibility to students. Students can contact their department adviser and program leader to discuss these options.
  • Four HHD departments (BBH, HDFS, HPA, and RPTM) have degree options online through the World Campus. Students in these 4 departments may want to discuss a temporary change of campus to the WC to be able to take a full semester online asynchronously.
  • Several Penn State campuses offer the HHD 4 year degree programs. Students who want to be closer to home or to medical facilities they know can also discuss a temporary change of campus or multiple campus registration and can consider the following campuses (courses and options will vary by campus):
    • BBH: Harrisburg, Greater Allegheny, New Kensington, Lehigh Valley
    • HDFS: Altoona, Harrisburg, Brandywine, DuBois, Fayette, Mont Alto, Scranton, Shenango, York
    • HM: Berks
    • HPA: Harrisburg, Hazleton, Lehigh Valley, Mont Alto, Schuylkill
    • KINES: Berks, Altoona, Harrisburg
    • RPTM: Abington, Greater Allegheny

Students planning multiple campus registrations should register first at their home campus, and then can add classes from other campuses one week prior to classes starting. 

The challenges that the pandemic has provided for all of us--students and their families, faculty, advisers, staff--are huge. I want HHD students to know that we are all working as hard as we can here in Happy Valley to provide the high quality educational experience you expect. If you have any questions, suggestions, ideas or information that you think can help us do that, please drop me an email at


Early Request Procedures for Multi-Campus Registration at Commonwealth Campuses, World Campus or University Park Colleges and Departments.

Given the impacts of Covid-19, Penn State understands our students may have unique circumstances impacting their ability to build a complete spring schedule that may justify their early participation in multi-campus registration. Students with special circumstances, as confirmed by their academic adviser, may request an early exception for multi-campus registration between December 1, 2020 and January 12, 2021 (except during break from December 24 through January 3) for the Spring 2021 semester. Special circumstances must be documented by the student’s academic adviser in Starfish and might include: 

  • International students living in their home countries who need access to synchronous remote courses offered in the morning or evening (EST) or to asynchronous courses to ensure their progress to degree or spring graduation. 
  • Adult or traditional-aged students whose employment or family situations limit their ability to critical courses needed to ensure their progress to degree or spring graduation. 

Students interested in this should first talk with their academic adviser

Trying to schedule a meeting with your assigned academic adviser?
You can view their availability and schedule an appointment through their Starfish calendar. For directions on how to schedule an advising appointment, please visit
PreHealth Advising
All students at Penn State can seek specialized advising on the health professions at the Health Professions Advising Center. The center provides advising on preparation for medical or PA school, interviewing, personal statements, medical missions, and gap years. 

Students considering medical, dental, podiatry, and physician assistant professions must attend a Med Prep or PA Prep group advising session prior to meeting one-on-one with PreHealth Advising
Victim & Survivor Support & Advocacy
Movement restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic have increased domestic abuse concerns worldwide. If you are concerned about the safety of yourself or someone else, there is help. Offices are open and available to provide support. If you are in immediate danger, please call 911.
Virtual CAPS ChatOnline scheduling for Fall 2020
 CAPS Chat provides informal, drop-in consultation for students with counselors from Penn State Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). Sessions are free and no appointment is necessary. Students are seen on a first-come, first-served basis and meetings are no longer than 30 minutes.
Simply follow online scheduling instructions on the CAPS Chat webpage  to schedule your meeting during designated CAPS Chat hours.
University Health Services (UHS), a unit of Student Affairs, now offers telemedicine
UHS is proud to offer telemedicine visits through Zoom. This allows you to communicate with a health care provider without having to leave home. Some care will still require you to be seen in the building, but many things can be managed without having to step outside! To see if your medical needs are amenable to telemedicine, call 814-863-0774.
EPPIC (English for Professional Purposes Intercultural Center)
A place for international students at Penn State to practice and improve their communication skills. Check out their upcoming Fall 2020 Workshops
Speak UP is an advanced English speaking group designed for international undergraduate students, graduate students, postdocs, and fellows.  Speak UP aims to provide a supportive space in which to discuss and practice ‘real-life’ academic communication at Penn State. Participants practice with new knowledge and build social relationships with international and American peers through group discussion, role-plays, and games. To register for Speak UP, please visit EPPIC at our website.
The Collegiate Recovery Community at Penn State
Remote recovery-support meetings during the fall 2020 semester for individuals at University Park who are dealing with addictions from alcohol or other drugs. Meetings will be held via Zoom. If meetings are permitted to resume in-person, an announcement will be made; the most up-to-date information will be available online.

The Alcoholics Anonymous Friday’s First group meets from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Fridays. The meetings are open to anyone with a desire to stop drinking.
Zoom link:
Meeting ID:  915-502-895

The Alcoholics Anonymous Sober Sundays group meets from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Sundays. The meetings are open to anyone with a desire to stop drinking.
Zoom link:
Meeting ID: 956-5719-4298

The Friday Lunchtime Serenity Al-Anon Family group meets from noon to 1 p.m. on Fridays. The meeting provides support for relatives and friends of people with alcoholism/addiction.
Zoom link:
Meeting ID: 606-250-171

The SMART Recovery Group meets on Mondays online from 4 to 5 p.m., starting on Sept. 14.
SMART Recovery stands for Self-Management and Recovery Training and is designed to help people recover from abusive and addictive behaviors.  For more information, contact Lori Strayer
Zoom link:
Meeting ID: 938-0756-0577
To learn more about recovery support at Penn State, contact the Penn State Collegiate Recovery Community at 814-863-0140 or