The vice dean of the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania resigned Thursday, one day after he was placed on administrative leave pending an investigation about his false claim to have a doctoral degree.

Penn announced the resignation of Doug E. Lynch, who has been a top official in the education program since 2004.

Lynch has claimed on his resume that he received the degree from Columbia University. A faculty website repeatedly referred to him as Dr. Lynch.

Columbia confirmed he is enrolled in a doctoral program, but has not received his degree.

A university spokeswoman said on Wednesday that Lynch, 47, was unaware he didn't have the degree.

"He mistakenly believed that it was complete," spokeswoman Kat Stein said Wednesday afternoon.

Andrew Porter, dean of the graduate school, first became aware of the issue on March 2, he told graduate education school staff in an email on Thursday.

"At that time, the matter was reviewed at all relevant levels of the university and sanctions were imposed," Porter wrote in an email obtained by the Inquirer.

The university maintained that stance on Wednesday when the Inquirer began asking questions. But shortly after the Inquirer placed a call to President Amy Gutmann's office, the university abruptly announced that Lynch was placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation.

Porter wrote in his email: "Yesterday when it appeared possible that there might be more to be known, Doug was placed on administrative leave to allow time for further investigation."

Experts and some Penn staff were incredulous of Lynch's claim that he didn't know he had a degree.