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Degree Admission

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Admission to the Graduate School at Penn State to pursue a graduate degree requires that prospective students select a specific graduate program (field of study) and graduate degree (e.g., Ph.D., M.S., M.Ed., M.B.A., etc.), and submit all application materials required for that graduate degree program, in addition to the University-wide requirements of the Graduate School.  

An applicant may apply to only one graduate degree program and campus at a time. If more than one degree application is submitted, only the most recently submitted application will be reviewed. The Graduate School will not consider concurrent applications for admission to more than one graduate degree program and does not act upon an application without a program's recommendation to offer admission. Individuals who already hold a doctorate are discouraged from applying for a second doctoral degree (see GCAC-307 Concurrent or Second Doctorates).

To apply to a graduate degree program at Penn State, review the instructions on the respective program's website. A list of degree program websites may be found in the Graduate Bulletin

Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) Certification

Individuals applying for Level I Instructional, Supervisory, Educational Specialist, and Administrative certification issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Education upon the recommendation of the University must apply using the degree application and choose "Pennsylvania Educators Level I Certification" as the degree selection. Additional information regarding certification may be found at The Penn State College of Education or by calling (814) 865-0488.

Postbaccalaureate/Graduate Certificate Admission

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Individuals must apply using the Graduate School online application. The Graduate School reviews the application for academic admissibility and the certificate program determines acceptance into its program. An admission letter from the Graduate School does not guarantee admission into a certificate program.

A certificate student’s status will be classified as nondegree unless the student is currently enrolled in a degree program, in which case, the degree status will remain as is. An applicant who is also applying for admission to a degree program must complete both a Graduate School online application for the degree and a Graduate School online application for the Postbaccalaureate/Graduate Certificate.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to read the admission requirements for the certificate program before applying. Some certificate programs may require transcripts, reference letters, GRE scores, statement of purpose, etc. 

Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) Certification can be found under the Degree enrollment type.

Nondegree Admission

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Applicants who do not intend to pursue a graduate degree or postbaccalaureate/graduate certificate at this time, but want to take graduate-level courses for personal enrichment, professional development, or later want to apply for degree status, may seek admission as a nondegree student. Nondegree students are not eligible to receive fellowships or graduate assistantships. Preference for courses is given to degree students. Programs may control access to some courses.

Admission as a nondegree student does not guarantee admission to a graduate degree or certificate program. A new application and a new application fee are required for a graduate nondegree student who later wishes to apply for a graduate degree or postbaccalaureate/graduate certificate program. Applicants choosing to enter Penn State as a graduate nondegree student must be aware that no more than 15 credits of course work accumulated in nondegree status may count toward a graduate degree.

In general, nondegree applicants are not required to submit transcripts; however, under certain circumstances and depending on the chosen campus location, nondegree applicants may be asked to submit transcripts.