Educational Psychology Masters and Doctoral Application Information

Given our apprenticeship model, program faculty are strongly committed to the view that graduate study is an activity requiring the full energies of the student. As such, we encourage students to attend graduate school on a full-time basis but also recognize that some individuals (e.g., teachers) will not initially be able to make the transition to full-time graduate status. That being said, it is important to note that the Educational Psychology Admissions Committee, gives preference to students who can devote full time to the completion of their courses and related experiences in teaching and research. The goal of the program is to have a cohort of 3–8 new students admitted each year.

Although experience with teaching or research before entering the program may contribute to a student’s experience, such experience is not a prerequisite for program admission. Many students come to the program with a relatively limited amount of work experience; many have recently completed their undergraduate work; or are at a transition point in their career.

Program faculty make every possible effort to provide financial support for as many students who request it as possible. The most typical forms of financial support come as either Teaching or Research Assistantships. Applicants may also be recommended for competitive university-wide fellowships. It is important for students to apply to the program early to be considered for the greatest number of opportunities for financial assistance.

Consistent with the apprenticeship model, activities associated with the financial activity are designed to provide experiences relevant to the professional development of the student. Some of the assistantships involve teaching and instructional support within Educational Psychology. Other forms of support may place the student as a research assistant on funded projects or with a faculty-affiliated research center or other entity.

The program encourages students to engage in a variety of experiences that contribute to the development of knowledge about relevant professional organizations. Graduate students, including those in their first year of study, are encouraged to attend national and international professional meetings and conferences (e.g., American Psychological Association or the American Educational Research Association), as well as regional and local meetings of relevant professional and scientific groups.

Required Application Materials

If you are ready to proceed to the application but have not read the Graduate School requirements, please visit the Graduate School's Prospective Students web page. If you have read the Graduate School and program requirements and are ready to formally apply to The Graduate School complete an electronic application.

The following information must be submitted via the online application for the Educational Psychology Program application.

  1. Copies of transcripts/documents from all post-secondary institutions attended (and official English translation if the language of instruction is not English). (See additional detail in 'Message from the Graduate School' above.)
  2. GRE scores are not required for admission.
  3. Three letters of recommendation. Recommendations can be processed electronically through the Graduate School application portal.
  4. Personal Statement (required of all applicants) as related to getting an advanced degree in Educational Psychology.
  5. Career Goals Statement (required only for fellowship consideration). This concise statement (single space, 1-page maximum) should describe your research interests, how they align with those of your preferred advisor, and professional goals upon completion of the doctoral program.
  6. Submitting a copy of your resume is also recommended.

If your definite goal is to earn a Master’s degree as your terminal degree and you have no plan to continue on later to pursue a Ph.D. degree in Educational Psychology, you should apply for the Master’s degree in our program. (Please reflect that on your application.) However, if your goal is to earn a Ph.D. degree in Educational Psychology, please consider the factors below and then note on your application accordingly.

  1. You do not need to have already earned a Master’s degree in order to apply for admission into our Ph.D. degree program. All you need is to have earned a Baccalaureate degree by the time you start our graduate program.
  2. A student admitted into our Ph.D. program can opt to earn a Master’s degree in Educational Psychology “along the way” when the student has fulfilled the equivalent requirements for the Master’s degree and continue from there to complete their Ph.D. degree requirements. (In this case, please note Ph.D. on your application.)
  3. It is generally to your advantage to apply for admission into the Ph.D. program directly, instead of applying for admission into the Master’s degree program only for now with a plan to apply for the Ph.D. program later. Some of these advantages include:
    1. If you apply for the Master’s degree program now, you will need to re-apply for admission into the Ph.D. program later after you have completed your Master’s degree. The re-application would not be necessary if you are admitted into the Ph.D. program directly from the start. (In this case, please note Ph.D. on your application.)
    2. Students in the Ph.D. degree program are usually given priority in the granting of graduate assistantships by the program.
    3. It would be easier to fulfill the Ph.D. degree residency requirement if you start out as a Ph.D. student immediately, instead of starting out as a Master’s degree student.

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. International applicants are exempt from the TOEFL/IELTS requirement if they 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.


- To submit scores to Penn State, select "Penn State" as your choice for ETS. Penn State's Institution Code is 2660 (all Penn State locations). The Department Code is 02.


-  The Graduate School at University Park receives score reports monthly. Applicants must demonstrate a TOEFL score of 80 (IBT exam), 550 (paper-based exam), or 213 (computer-based exam) to be admissible to the program. A minimum of 19 is required on the Speaking Skills section of the Internet-based exam. The IELTS minimum score is 6.5.


- Penn State Behrend doesn't offer an Intensive English Communication program.


-  Applicants cannot be considered for admission unless the minimum requirements stated above, are met.


Consideration of Funding Opportunities Deadline

To be given full consideration for all funding opportunities, applications must be completed by December 15th. Applications received after that date, will be reviewed and may be considered for additional funding opportunities. Most offers of admission are made on or around April 1 for the following Fall Semester.

Penn State Graduate School Funding Overview