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To be considered for admission to the Graduate School, 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. 

The Graduate School at Penn State uses an online platform to begin the admission process, which includes a nonrefundable application fee. You will need to upload the following items as part of your application:

  1. Official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended, regardless of the number of credits or semesters completed. Transcripts not in English must be accompanied by a certified translation. Penn State alumni do not need to request transcripts for credits earned at Penn State, but must list Penn State as part of your academic history. If you are admitted, you will be asked to send an additional official transcript. You will receive instructions at that time.

  2. GPA Applicants must present evidence of at least a 3.0 grade-point average in the last two years of undergraduate work. A grade-point average of 3.50 in prior graduate work is required of those desiring admission to a doctoral program.

  3. Three references - You will need to initiate the process through the online application by entering names and email addresses of three references. Upon submission of your application, an email will be sent to each reference requesting they complete a brief online recommendation regarding your commitment for success in an online program. 
    Ask for recommendations (completion of an online form and an attached recommendation letter) well in advance of the application deadline. Notify all recommenders that they must submit their recommendation in order for your application to be complete.
    List the names and contact information of academic and professional recommenders who can make a strong case for your commitment to success in a program of graduate study, including your intellectual ability, communication, problem-solving skills, creativity, sensitivity to others, and educational leadership potential. 

  4. Current Résumé or Curriculum Vitae - Upload your résumé to the online application.

  5. Statement of purpose - Write a brief statement of about 1000 words explaining your interest in the Penn State University Educational Leadership program, why you are interested in pursuing the Doctor of Education, and your academic and professional goals. Be sure to list any EDLDR faculty whose research interests align with your own.

  6. Writing Sample - Select an article from a current academic article related to educational leadership or education policy that affects education leaders. Briefly summarize the main points of the article and then critique the content from the vantage point of your experiences as an educator. Your critique can include agreement as well as disagreement with author's perspective. Include a complete citation for the article in your writing sample.

  7. International Applicants Only: English Proficiency - The language of instruction at Penn State is English. With some exceptions, international applicants must take and submit scores for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Minimum test scores and exceptions are found in the English Proficiency section on the Graduate School's "Requirements for Graduate Admission" page. Visit the TOEFL website for testing information. Penn State's institutional code is 2660. 

The best-qualified students will be accepted up to the number of spaces available. Special backgrounds and experiences may allow for conditional admission to those not meeting stated criteria, at the discretion of the program.

Application Deadlines for D.Ed.
Semester of Admission Deadline
Fall December 1
Spring October 15

If you are ready to proceed to the application but have NOT read the Graduate School requirements, please visit that website at

Applicants for admission to the Educational Leadership Program at Penn State must submit all application materials to the Graduate School at Penn State prior to the application deadline. The Graduate School confirms eligibility for admission of all applicants. The Educational Leadership Program will select and recommend applicants for offers of admission.

If you have read the Graduate School and program requirements and are ready to apply, you may proceed to the application at

Go to Graduate School Application