For admission to the Graduate School of Penn State, an applicant must hold either (1) a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or (2) a tertiary (postsecondary) degree that is deemed comparable to a four-year bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution. This degree must be from an officially recognized degree-granting institution in the country in which it operates.
Individuals with international academic credentials will need to submit additional information for their applications to be completely processed and approved. The Office of International Students, located at the University Park campus, will prompt students to submit required documentation for work or student visa, after the Graduate School approves foreign academic credentials.
Individuals who are in the US on a work visa can follow the application deadline dates stated on the How to Apply page.
Individuals who require an I-20 visa, should have a complete application submitted six months prior to the start of the semester in which they wish to begin studies. For fall 2016 admission consideration, applicants will need to have submitted a complete application by February 15, 2016.
In addition to the application requirements, individuals with international credentials must also submit:
1. TOEFL or IELTS scores
The TOEFL, Test of English as a Foreign Language, or IELTS, International English Testing System, must be taken by applicants for whom English is not their first language. This is not required of any student who has a bachelor's or master's degree from an institution in an English-speaking country or a regionally accredited American four-year institution. The TOEFL/IELTS is not required for individuals 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.
The Graduate School at University Park receives score reports on a regular basis and uploads these to a central, student database.
On the day of testing, select:
Applicants must demonstrate a score of 80 (IBT exam), 550 (paper-based exam), or 213 (computer-based exam) on the TOEFL exam to be admissible. A minimum of 19 is required on the Speaking Skills section of the Internet-based exam. The IELTS minimum score is 6.5.
2. Transcripts/marksheets and diploma from institutions attended
Upload copies of official transcripts/documents (this may include marksheets, record of courses, degree/study certificate, original diploma, etc.) from all post-secondary institutions attended and official English translation if the language of instruction is not English
If admission is offered and accepted, you will be contacted by the Graduate School with instructions on submitting official transcripts (or international equivalent as stated above) from all post-secondary institutions attended, together with an official English translation of all official documents if the language of instruction was not English.
3. Application for Visa and Financial Certification
A statement of Financial Guarantee is required for those applying for an I-20 visa. This indicates the availability of personal funds for tuition, living expenses, and health insurance. The current estimate for expenses exceeds $54,000 (U.S.). Without these documents and proof of financial support, a student visa cannot be issued. Please research these requirements in further detail from the International Programs website prior to applying for admission.
Please note: Individuals who are in the United States on a work or dependent visa, and are offered admission, will need to provide scanned copies of the original passport, visa, and I-94 to the International Student Services staff at Penn State University Park, University Office of Global Programs. At the appropriate time, you will be asked to submit information on Penn State’s iSTART program.
Resources for Students with international credentials
The Pre-Arrival Advising website allows prospective international students to find information about requesting or refusing an I-20 or DS-2019, insurance and financial requirements, and other essential pre-arrival information. The Pre-Arrival Advising Office is physically located at the University Park campus but they serve international students at all other 24 Penn State campus locations throughout the commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
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