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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.

Minimum Requirements for Admission (by Country) chevron_right

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.

Transcript Requirements

Applicants will be required to upload copies of official transcripts or documents from all post-secondary institutions attended, whether the degree was completed or not. For institutions outside the U.S., acceptable documents may include: 

  • a marksheet 
  • record of courses 
  • degree, study, or provisional certificate 
  • original diploma 
  • diploma supplement 
  • other official documents that are specific to a country  

If the original document language is not English, applicants are required to include copies of official English translations in addition to native language documents. Please see minimum  requirements for admission by country for specific document requirements. 

Acceptable English translations must be completed by one of the following sources: 

  • degree-issuing institution 
  • ministry of education 
  • any government translator from the institution's country 
  • any U.S. government agency translator 
  • an American Translators Association (ATA) translator 

If you are offered admission by your intended program, you will be required to have official transcripts or documents sent to the Graduate School from the issuing institution. These transcripts or documents will need to demonstrate degree conferral.  Having official documents sent prior to the degree conferral will result in the applicant having to order a second set of documents for eligibility verification. 

Reports from third-party education credential evaluators are not accepted as official documents and, if submitted, will only be used as supporting documentation. 

Graduate School Review of Official Transcripts

The Graduate School will review all official documents to consider 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 demonstrate minimum English proficiency through one of the ways below.

  • Country of Earned Degree: Applicants must have received a baccalaureate or a graduate degree in a country in which English is a predominant language and from an institution at which the language of instruction is English. Countries that meet this qualification are listed in Policy GCAC-305 Procedures.
  • Penn State Intensive English Communications Program (IECP): Applicants must have successfully completed this noncredit program and earned the certification. Similar programs at other institutions are not accepted as an approved method of demonstrating English proficiency.
  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language): Applicants must have a total score of at least 80 with a 19 or greater on the speaking section for the internet-based test (iBT).
  • IELTS (International English Language Testing System): Applicants must have a composite score for the IELTS Academic Test of at least 6.5. 

Provisional Admission: Applicants with the test scores below may be considered for provisional admission. To be fully admitted, students must complete specified English course work with a grade of B or higher during their first semester of enrollment. The course(s) to meet this qualification will be based on the applicant’s area(s) of deficiency in test results and are listed in GCAC-305 Procedures.

  • TOEFL – a total score of at least 80 with between a 15 and 19 on the speaking section for the internet-based test (iBT).  
  • TOEFL – a total score of at least 76 with a 19 or greater on the speaking section for the internet-based test (iBT).  
  • IELTS – a composite score between 6.0 and 6.4.

Some graduate plans of study may have more stringent requirements.

Exemptions from English Proficiency Testing

International applicants who have received a baccalaureate or a graduate degree in one of the following countries are exempt from the TOEFL/IELTS requirement:  

  • American Samoa 
  • Anguilla 
  • Antigua and Barbuda 
  • Australia 
  • Bahamas 
  • Barbados 
  • Belize 
  • Bermuda 
  • British Virgin Islands 
  • Canada (except Quebec) 
  • Cayman Islands 
  • Dominica 
  • England 
  • Ghana 
  • Grenada 
  • Guyana 
  • Jamaica 
  • Kenya  
  • Liberia 
  • Montserrat 
  • New Zealand 
  • Nigeria 
  • Northern Ireland 
  • Puerto Rico 
  • Republic of Ireland 
  • Scotland 
  • Singapore 
  • South Africa 
  • St Kitts and Nevis 
  • St Lucia 
  • Trinidad and Tobago 
  • Turks and Caicos Islands 
  • Uganda  
  • United States 
  • U.S. Virgin Islands 
  • Wales

Please note that specific graduate plans of study 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.

This page was generated on June 15, 2024 at 3:29 AM local time. This may not be the most recent version of this page. Check the Penn State Graduate School website for updates.