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Admission Requirements for International Students



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.



All international applicants to the Graduate School.

Policy Statement

  1. International applicants must hold either (1) a bachelor's degree from a U.S. regionally accredited institution or (2) a postsecondary degree that is equivalent to a U.S. baccalaureate degree earned from an officially recognized degree-granting international institution.
    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 who have received a baccalaureate or a graduate degree in a country in which standard English is the predominant language and from a college/university/institution at which the language of instruction is English are exempt from the TOEFL/IELTS requirement. Countries that meet this qualification are listed in GCAC-305 Procedures.


P1 - Admission Requirements for International Students

P2 - Determining Academic Eligibility for Admission of International Students – Academic Credentials

P3 - Determining English Proficiency for Admission of International Students

P4 - Petitioning the Graduate School for Provisional Admission and Other English Proficiency Exceptions

Revision History

This page was generated on February 24, 2024 at 6:36 PM local time. This may not be the most recent version of this page. Check the Penn State Graduate School website for updates.