Students applying for admission to any of the Higher Education graduate programs at Penn State must electronically submit all application materials to the Graduate School at Penn State. The Graduate School confirms eligibility for admission of all applicants. The Higher Education Program will select and recommend applicants for offers of admission.

Applying to the Graduate School

Complete the Admission Application to The Graduate School.

For all interested applicants, please familiarize yourself with Penn State College of Education’s Leadership resolution and commitment to equity (

As part of The Graduate School application, you will be asked to upload/supply the following documents/information:

  1. A copy of official transcripts/documents from all post-secondary institutions of higher education attended.  International applicants must upload university records in the language of instruction (and copies of an official English translation if English is not the language of instruction).

  2. GRE/GMAT/LSAT test scores are not required for Ph.D. applicants who apply for Fall 2022 admission.  However, while GRE/GMAT/LSAT test scores are not required for admission decisions, GRE/GMAT/LSAT test scores are required for consideration of certain funding/fellowship opportunities. **Please note: TOEFL test scores are required for international students**

  3. An essay that highlights: a) Strengths, skills, and experiences; b) particular research interests; c) particular faculty members with whom you may be interested to collaborate; and, d) specific ways in which doctoral education in the field of higher education may assist you in pursuing professional goals.

  4. Resume

  5. Three letters of recommendation, at least one of which must be an academic reference and at least one of which must be a professional reference.  You will be asked to submit the names and email addresses of your referents.  Then, each referent will be sent an email message directing them to the appropriate site to upload a letter of recommendation on your behalf.  You will be notified by email when each recommendation letter is submitted, but you will not be able to view the letter.  (NOTE: All recommendation letters must be submitted before the application deadline to be considered for admission).

  6. Doctoral Assistantship Application (if applicable)

  7. International students: Official TOEFL test scores; Applicants should contact the University Office of Global Programs to learn about requirements for VISAs, registration, etc.

Applicants recommended for admission to any of the Higher Education graduate programs will be notified via the online graduate admission system. Once a student accepts a program recommendation for admission, the Graduate School will request official/original transcripts/documents that must be sent from the originating institutions in the official language of the institution(s) attended (and if the language of instruction is not English, an official English translation must also be sent). The Graduate School will review and confirm all official documents before finalizing the offer of admission.