Penn State Graduate School Penn State Penn State Graduate School

Admission Requirements for International Students

General Admissions Standards Policy GCAC-305

Purpose: to define the minimum requirements for international applicants to be admitted to a graduate degree program.

Academic Goal: to ensure all international students admitted to the Graduate School have adequate academic preparation and sufficient English language skills necessary to successfully complete their program.

Scope: all international applicants to the Graduate School.

Policy Statement

  1. International applicants must hold the equivalent of an American four-year baccalaureate degree.
    1. International applicants must submit official or attested university records, with certified translations if the records are not in English. Notarized copies are not sufficient.
  2. The language of instruction at Penn State is English. All international applicants must take and submit scores for the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or the IELTS (International English Language Testing System), with the exceptions noted below. Individual graduate programs of study may require higher scores for admission.
    1. TOEFL:
      1. Internet-based test (iBT) - a total score of 80 with a 19 on the speaking section for the internet-based test (iBT).
        1. Applicants with iBT speaking scores between 15 and 18 may be considered for provisional admission, with Graduate School approval, which requires completion of specified remedial English courses ESL 114G (American Oral English for Academic Purposes) and/or ESL 116G (ESL/Composition for Academic Disciplines) and attainment of a grade of B or higher within the first semester of enrollment.
      2. Paper-based test (taken prior to July 2017) – the minimum acceptable score is 550.
      3. Paper-based test (taken July 2017 or later) – a combined total of the 3 sections evaluated must be 60 or greater.
    2. IELTS: The minimum acceptable composite score for the IELTS Academic Test is 6.5.
    3. International applicants are exempt from the TOEFL/IELTS requirement who have received a baccalaureate or a graduate degree from a college/university/institution in any of the following: Australia, Belize, British Caribbean and British West Indies, Canada (except Quebec), England, Guyana, Republic of Ireland, Liberia, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Scotland, the United States, and Wales.
    4. Specific graduate programs may require all international applicants to submit a TOEFL or IELTS score, regardless of their academic background and country of origin.

Revision History

Last Graduate Bulletin update: August 2016
Adapted from Graduate Bulletin: June 2018

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