Penn State Graduate School Penn State Penn State Graduate School

Requirements for Graduate Admission

Academic Eligibility Requirements

For admission to the Graduate School, an applicant must hold a degree from an officially recognized degree-granting institution in the country in which it operates.  Degree must be a:

  1. Baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or
  2. Tertiary (postsecondary) degree that is deemed comparable to a four-year bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution.

Determination of Eligibility

The Graduate School confirms eligibility for admission of all graduate degree applicants, while programs select and recommend applicants for offers of admission. Final approval of admission to all graduate degree programs lies with the Graduate School.

Official Transcript Requirement

Applicants will be required to arrange for official transcripts/documents (for institutions outside the U.S. documents may include marksheets, record of courses, degree/study certificate, original diploma, etc) to be sent from all post-secondary institutions attended and official English translation if the language of instruction is not English).

Graduate School Review of Official Transcripts

The Graduate School will review all official documents to finalize the offer of admission. An offer of admission will be revoked if official transcripts/documents are not received by the Graduate School within specified deadline(s), or if official transcripts/documents differ in any substantive way from the copies uploaded by the applicant prior to the offer of admission. However, for applicants whose degree conferral is in progress at the time of uploading copies of transcripts/documents, the deadline specified for receipt of official transcripts/documents will allow for the passage of the reported date of degree conferral, and that conferral must be confirmed on the official transcripts/documents received by the Graduate School, in order for the offer of admission to be finalized. 

Transcript Falsification

If at any time, including after an applicant has enrolled in the Graduate School and commenced coursework, it is discovered that false information, omissions, and/or misstatements are made in an application – including but not limited to the uploading of copies of transcripts that differ in any substantive way from the official transcripts/ documents – admission, registration, and credit(s) for course work completed may be voided, and information relating to the false information, omissions, and/or misstatements may be distributed to other academic institutions, governmental agencies, and/or other third parties.

English Proficiency

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.

Acceptable Test Scores

The minimum acceptable score for the TOEFL is 550 for the paper-based test, or a total score of 80 with a 19 on the speaking section for the internet-based test (iBT). Applicants with iBT speaking scores between 15 and 18 may be considered for provisional admission, 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. The minimum acceptable composite score for the IELTS is 6.5. Graduate programs may have more stringent requirements.

Exemptions from English Proficiency Testing

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.

Please note that specific graduate programs may require all international applicants to submit a TOEFL or IELTS score, regardless of their academic background and country of origin.

Application Deadlines

The Graduate School does not have a deadline for processing applications. (Exception: International applicants must submit materials at least four months before the beginning of the semester for which they are applying.) Applicants should ascertain application deadlines by contacting the individual graduate program. Applications should be submitted as early as possible.

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