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Frequently Asked Questions

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Here you will find answers to the common questions that prospective students ask.
If you don’t find an answer to your question, please contact us by utilizing the "Request Help" tab on the right margin of this page.

Please select a category that relates to your specific question, or scroll down to see all FAQ below

Application Fee
Application Status
Applying for Admission
Certificate Program
Changing Information to the Application after Submission

Electronic Theses and Dissertation (eTD)

Financial Aid
Football Tickets
Funding
Housing
Reference Questions
Supplemental Materials
Technical Problems
Test Scores
Transcripts/Records

Application Fee

The degree and certificate application fee is $65 U.S. The nondegree application is $30 U.S.

No, application fees are nonrefundable.

The Graduate School does not waive application fees. Your application will not be processed in the Office of Graduate Enrollment Services without receipt of the application fee.

Yes, you or another individual may pay the application fee by credit card via the Graduate School Payment Portal, or by check/money order using the Application Fee Form.

Fees are processed as soon as the payment is received.

IMPORTANT: The application fee is processed immediately; however, your application status may not be available during the first 24 hours (until the application uploads to Penn State’s Student System).

The Graduate School accepts Visa, Master Card, Discover Card, American Express credit cards and checks or money orders. Checks or money orders must be payable to “The Pennsylvania State University” in U.S. dollars, and must be drawn from a U.S. bank.

A debit card may be used only if it is processed as a credit card payment (without the PIN). Credit card gift cards are also acceptable.

No, wire transfers are not accepted.

Yes, you or another individual may pay the application fee by credit card via the Graduate School Payment Portal, or by check/money order using the Application Fee Form.

This may happen if you hit the credit card payment button more than once while waiting for the fee payment to be processed. Check your credit card statement for duplicate payments. Typically, one transaction is only a hold and will resolve within 7-10 business days. If both transactions still appear on your account, please contact L-GRADFEE@LISTS.PSU.EDU.

Yes, you may be charged multiple times if you hit the credit card payment button more than once while waiting for the fee payment to be processed. If you don’t see a refund within 7-10 business days, please contact L-GRADFEE@LISTS.PSU.EDU.

Yes, an application and a fee is required for each application submitted.

IMPORTANT: You may only apply to one degree program at a time. If you submit additional degree applications, only your most recently submitted degree application will be reviewed.

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Application Status

IMPORTANT: Although the application fee is processed immediately, your application status may not be available during the first 24 hours (until the application uploads to Penn State’s Student System).

You may check the status of your application, including receipt of references, documents and test scores, by logging into your existing account in the Graduate School application.  Once there, you will find a hyperlink labeled “status” that will allow you access this information.  You may also contact your intended plan of study.

Please contact your intended plan of study, as each plan has its own admission deadlines and processes.

The Graduate School reviews the application for academic admissibility when it is submitted; however, a recommendation for admission is made by the plan of study. Each plan has its own application review process and timeframe. Please contact your intended program/plan of study for more information.

You may check the status of your application, including receipt of references, documents and test scores, by logging into your existing account in the Graduate School application.  Once there, you will find a hyperlink labeled “status” that will allow you access this information.  You may also contact your intended program/plan of study.

You may check the status of your application, including receipt of references, documents and test scores, by logging into your existing account in the Graduate School application.  Once there, you will find a hyperlink labeled “status” that will allow you access this information.  You may also contact your intended plan of study.

You may check the status of your application, including receipt of references, documents and test scores, by logging into your existing account in the Graduate School application.  Once there, you will find a hyperlink labeled “status” that will allow you access this information.  You may also contact your intended plan of study.

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Applying for Admission

The academic calendar is maintained by the Office of the University Registrar.

Transfer students are subject to the same requirements for admission as regular students. They are required to submit Penn State’s Graduate School application, pay the application fee and submit official copies of their academic transcripts. In addition, students in a doctoral program at another institution would have to meet Penn State’s general requirements for doctoral degree which are residency, passing of a qualifying, comprehensive and final oral examination, and the writing of a satisfactory dissertation and its acceptance by the doctoral committee and the Graduate School.

You will need to complete a new graduate online application, pay the required application fee, and provide the required program documents. If you are reapplying to the same program, please contact your intended plan of study to determine if updated documents are necessary.

Acceptable Test Scores: Please note that graduate plans of requirements.

TOEFL

Internet-based test (iBT) - 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, 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.

Paper-based test (taken prior to July 2017) – the minimum acceptable score is 550.

Paper-based test (taken July 2017 or later) – a combined total of the 3 sections evaluated must be 60 or greater.

IELTS – The minimum acceptable composite score for the IELTS Academic Test is 6.5. 

International applicants are exempt from the TOEFL/IELTS requirement who have received a baccalaureate or a master's 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 plan of study may require all international applicants to submit a TOEFL or IELTS score, regardless of their academic background and country of origin.

The plan of study will recommend your acceptance to the Graduate School. After final review by the Graduate School, you will receive formal notification of your admission. Questions concerning your admission or denial should be directed to your intended program/plan of study.

The graduate plan of study is responsible for sending its own refusal notifications.

Because admission is granted jointly by the Graduate School and the academic plan of study, you may be contacted by either office. Each plan of study has its own procedures for evaluating applications. The plans of study recommend admission to the Graduate School and the Graduate School, in turn, monitors procedures and minimum requirements and makes the final decision on your admission.

Plans of study set and enforce deadlines. Please check with your intended plan of study. International applicants must submit materials at least four months prior to the semester they plan to enroll; however, the application deadline for some plans of study is much earlier than this. All applicants should consult their intended plans of study for specific requirements.

Please contact your intended plan of study with this information. Official scores must be sent directly to Penn State from the appropriate reporting agency (ETS, Pearson Vue, etc.).

Students taking the GRE, IELTS and TOEFL should use school code 2660 to send scores to Penn State.

Students wishing to send MAT scores should select "Penn State University" or use school code 2609.

Students taking the GMAT should use school code 2660 to send scores to Penn State, and if prompted select their plan of study and the plan of study location (example: Business Admin-Univ Park) 

You may check the status of your application, including receipt of references, documents and test scores, by logging into your existing account in the Graduate School application.  Once there, you will find a hyperlink labeled “status” that will allow you access this information.

Yes. The junior/senior GPA information is required for applications for Fall 2016 and forward. Instructions on how to calculate the junior/senior GPA can be found in the online application when entering your Bachelor degree information. You can also contact your intended program/plan of study website for any additional information.

Any questions regarding the junior/senior GPA should be directed to your intended plan of study.

You may only apply to one degree plan of study at a time. If you submit additional degree applications, only your most recently submitted degree application will be reviewed.

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. The institution must hold accreditation from one of the following:
    New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE)
    North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA)
    Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE)
    Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)
    Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
    Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU)

OR

2. Tertiary (postsecondary) degree that is deemed comparable to a four-year bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution. Minimum requirements for admission (by county).

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Certificate Program

Select “Certificate” from the application selection menu.

Yes.  The non-refundable application fee will be required for each application. 

IMMEDIATELY submit a request for help by utilizing the "Request Help" tab on the right margin of this page and explain the situation there. One of the Graduate Enrollment Services staff will get back to you with further instructions.

Each plan of study has its own requirements for admission. Please refer to your intended plan of study.

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Changing Information to the Application after Submission

To check, add or make changes to your reference information, log into your existing account in the Graduate School application. Once there, you will find a hyperlink labeled “status” that will allow you access this information.

To make changes to plan of study-specific questions or uploaded documents, or to change the admission semester or degree, you must contact your intended plan of study.

To change your address, social security number, or to change your rights to your references, please access the "Request Help" tab on the right margin of the FAQ page.

To change your social secuirty number , please contact the office of the University Registrar, https://www.registrar.psu.edu/.

IMMEDIATELY submit a request for help by utilizing the "Request Help" tab on the right margin of this page and explain the situation there. One of the Graduate Enrollment Services staff will get back to you with further instructions.

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Electronic Theses and Dissertation (eTD)

Creation and Submission

Thesis and dissertation guidelines and format requirements can be found in the "Thesis Guide" on the Graduate School's website.

If you have already published an article that you want to use, in whole or in substantial part, as a chapter in your thesis or dissertation, you should first check any contract you signed with the publisher of the journal to see if you need to seek permission for reuse of it. (If you signed no contract, then the publisher only obtained the right of first publication in that journal and all other rights reside with you.) If your contract is unclear on this point, you should seek clarification from the publisher about any restrictions there may be on your reuse of it in your dissertation and, if that is approved, the subsequent availability of your dissertation over the Internet.

Refer to the Chicago Manual of Style and see also "The Elements of Citation."

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/home.html

By preparing an eTD and submitting it electronically you will learn about electronic document preparation and about digital libraries. These skills can help prepare you for your future role in the Information Age, whether you teach, conduct research, or use the research results of others.

Furthermore, you may be able to better convey the message of your thesis or dissertation in an electronic document. Color diagrams, color images, hypertext links, audio, video, animations, spreadsheets, databases, simulations, and virtual reality worlds can be included in your document.

By submitting electronically you also allow your university to fulfill more economically its responsibilities of recording and archiving your thesis or dissertation. This is a key responsibility of the university, which is easier and less costly to fulfill when the work flow involves electronic documents.

A PDF file created in Acrobat allows viewers to mark up the file and add notes that can be sent back electronically to the author. The choice is strictly up to the committee members. However, there are advantages to reviewing the work electronically. For example, a committee member on sabbatical may have access to the Internet and could review your work online from a distant location.

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Publication

The first option is to make your eTD available worldwide (Open Access). This option may be viewed by some as publishing the work, so that book or journal publishers may see a conflict with their publishing a portion or your entire dissertation.

The second option is to make your eTD available only to holders of an active Penn State Access Account (Penn State Only). This option addresses situations such as when a book is planned and the book publisher is concerned that prior publishing through a digital library may hurt sales. This option is for 2 years. Afterward the eTD automatically reverts to open access.

The third option is to disallow access to the eTD, with the exception of the abstract (Restricted). This option addresses situations such as when a patent application is planned or when proprietary interests are at stake. In such cases, Penn State may have some rights to related intellectual property and so does not want you to release the work without its permission. This option is for 2 years. Afterward the eTD automatically reverts to open access.

You should consider these options carefully. Discuss this with your advisor, and feel free to ask Penn State's Intellectual Property Office or Legal Counsel for advice. If you intend to work with a publisher regarding journal or book publications, be sure you understand their policies and agreements before you sign anything.

The basic aim of the NDLTD project is to increase the availability of theses and dissertations to students and scholars worldwide for the purpose of enhancing the growth of knowledge. If you have no concerns about how this wide circulation might affect your ability to republish parts of your work later, as journal articles or in a book, then we encourage you to share what you have learned with others who may be interested in the subject. The easy accessibility of your work may even lead to invitations to speak and write about it later and bring you other kinds of recognition and reward.

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