Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions about admission to graduate programs in Curriculum and Instruction.
To help you work through the application process, we share our answers to prospective students' most frequently asked questions.
  1. When are the application deadlines?
  2. When are admission decisions reached?
  3. How many applicants do you expect to admit into the C&I Graduate Programs?
  4. Do you accept GRE or MAT scores?
  5. How can I find out more information about international student admissions?
  6. Must I take the TOEFL?
  7. Can I be admitted provisionally?
  8. Can I apply for financial aid and student financial awards?
  9. How do I begin the application process?
  10. What kind of town is State College?
  11. What housing options are available?

When are the application deadlines?

For Ph.D. students:

All applications received by December 15th will be given full consideration for admission and for fellowships and assistantships.

For Master's students:

There is no deadline for admissions into the master's program. We use a rolling admissions process. However, it is suggested that students should apply at least eight weeks prior to the start of the semester they wish to attend. Completed applications will be reviewed as they are received.


When are admission decisions reached?

For Master's applicants, we will e-mail admission decisions approximately two weeks after the completed application is reviewed by appropriate faculty.

For Ph.D. students, admission decisions will be e-mailed one month after closing dates. Note that admission decisions and decisions for funding are separate. Funding decisions typically take place in April for the following academic year.


How many applicants do you expect to admit into the C&I Graduate Programs?

On average, 35 master's and 15-25 doctoral students are admitted each year.


Do you accept GRE or MAT scores?

We accept the GRE (Graduate Record Exam) or the MAT (Miller Analogies Test) for Master's and Doctoral students. Graduate Record Examination (GRE General Test) scores are preferred for Ph.D. applicants. Students applying for scholarships must submit GRE scores. Only scores from the past five years are acceptable.

All test scores should be sent directly to Graduate Enrollment Services (GES). GRE scores should be submitted electronically.

MAT scores are only available in hard copy, so those scores should be sent by postal mail directly from Pearson to Penn State. IELTS and MAT scores should be mailed to:

The Pennsylvania State University
Graduate Enrollment Services
114 Kern Building
University Park, PA 16802

For GRE Scores, Penn State's Institution code is 2660.
Students wishing to send MAT scores should select “Penn State University” or use code 2609.

How can I find out more information about international student admissions?

To learn more about the immigration process, international student organizations, and other issues related to international admissions, please visit the University Office of Global Programs.


Must I take the TOEFL?

The language of instruction at Penn State is English.  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.  The minimum acceptable score for the TOEFL is 550 for the paper-based test, 213 for the computer-based test, or a total score of 80 with a 19 on the speaking section for the internet-based test. TOEFL computer-based (CBT) scores and TOEFL paper-based (PBT) scores will be valid for two years after the date of test.  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.

All test scores should be sent directly to Graduate Enrollment Services (GES). GRE scores should be submitted electronically.

Penn State's Institution Code is 2660.

Can I be admitted provisionally?

Students can be admitted provisionally at the discretion of the emphasis area faculty. Conditions to be met for full admission will be listed in a decision letter. Ph.D. students must complete the conditions before taking the candidacy examination. Master's students have one semester to complete provisional admission requirements.


Can I apply for financial aid and student financial awards?

A limited number of Graduate Assistantships are available to incoming Ph.D. students. Assistantships include a tuition waiver, a student health plan, and a stipend for living expenses in return for research, teaching, or supervision work for the Department. Be certain to mark the appropriate box on the C I application form.

Scholarships and fellowships are also available for Master's and Doctoral students through the College and University. Be certain to mark the appropriate box on the C I application form.

For more information on financial aid, go to:


How do I begin the application process?

Please upload the following to the Online Graduate School Application;

  1. Non-refundable application fee, payable by credit card online or by check or money order payable to The Pennsylvania State University;
  2. Two current letters of recommendation;
  3. Current résumé or curriculum vitae;
  4. Statement of your goals/objectives;
  5. Official GRE (Graduate Record Exam-General Test) score report or MAT (Miller Analogies Test) score report. GRE preferred for doctoral applicants. Penn State Institution code for GRE is 2660 and Institution code for MAT is 2609.
  6. Two official transcripts in sealed envelopes from all post-secondary schools attended.  (Penn State graduates do not need to submit official transcripts.);
  7. A written review (approximately 300 words for master's or 500 words for doctoral applicants) of a pertinent article or report published in a recent professional journal of your choice that deals with a contemporary educational issue.  Please include a complete citation of the article selected and limit your summary of the article to one paragraph. Department faculty are most interested in your analysis of and professional response to the argument presented in the article. Upload a photocopy of the journal article to your graduate application.
  8. If you are applying for a Graduate Assistantship, fellowship, or scholarship, provide a recent résumé, a personal statement of interest, and a cover letter describing your teaching, supervisory, or research experience.

International Students must also submit:

  1. Two official diplomas from all postsecondary universities attended, in native language and translated in English (photocopies are not acceptable)
  2. Two official transcripts from all postsecondary universities attended in native language and translated in English (photocopies are not acceptable)


Please follow the Graduate School's Instructions for submitting transcripts


What kind of town is State College?

State College is a university town in the mountains of Central Pennsylvania, which has been rated as one of the least stressful communities in America. For more information, please visit: State College.com

Direct flights from University Park Airport are available to and from Washington, DC, Detroit, and Philadelphia. New York City, Baltimore, Buffalo, Washington, DC, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia are within 3 or 4 hours driving time.


What housing options are available?

Most graduate students prefer to live off campus, although there are residence hall rooms on campus for single students and married student housing for families. Contact Housing at University Park for assistance. Local bus routes are extensive, providing service to campus and other points in town.