School Psychology Application Information

All prospective applicants for doctoral study in the graduate program in School Psychology at Penn State are encouraged to read the Graduate School requirements. After you have read the Graduate School and program requirements and are ready to apply, visit the online application portal. The online application portal should answer most questions about admission and other requirements.

The principal qualification for admission is evidence of strong potential for advanced graduate study and research. Such evidence is obtained from an applicant's academic record, letters of reference, scores on standardized tests, and personal statement of academic and vocational interests.

Fellowships, graduate assistantships, and financial aid are available for qualified applicants. To be considered for admission, as well as for fellowships and financial assistance, your complete application - including the required Personal Statement - should be received on or before December 1. (Please note that if you would like your application to be considered for fellowships, you must also submit a Career Goals statement along with the required application materials.) Offers of admission are made on or about April 1 for the following Fall Semester.

Application Process Information

Complete the online Graduate School Application at the Graduate School Admissions and Program Information Portal by submitting the following: 

  1. Current resume or Curriculum Vitae.

  2. Preferred faculty mentors (first and second choice). Please utilize the School Psychology program faculty Directory for related information. 

  3. Personal Statement (Required of all applicants). Please write a brief statement (single space, 2-page maximum) that addresses the following: (1) Why are you interested in becoming a School Psychologist? (2) Why are you interested in pursuing a PhD? (3) Why are you interested in Penn State's doctoral program in School Psychology?

  4. 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.

  5. Scores from the Graduate Record Examination Aptitude Test (GRE Verbal, Quantitative, and Writing required). Use GRE institution code 2660. Beginning in August 2015, applicants are to send the GRE test scores electronically to Penn State University.

  6. Copies of official transcripts/documents from all post-secondary institutions attended (and official English translation if the language of instruction is not English)

  7. Two or more recommendations from professional psychologists, professors, and/or former supervisors who are acquainted with your academic record.

  8. For international students: All international applicants whose first language is not English or who have not received a baccalaureate or master's degrees from an institution in which the language of instruction is English must take the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) examination. A TOEFL score of 550 on the paper test or a score of 213 on the computer-based test is required for admission. Beginning in August 2015, applicants are to send the TOEFL test scores electronically to Penn State University.

  9. Nonrefundable application fee.

*Please visit the Graduate School website for Penn State's admission requirements to the Graduate School. *

Each year, we invite to campus those applicants who appear most qualified and compatible with the program's scientist-practitioner training model. In most years, two or three times as many students are invited for interviews as can be admitted. (Applicants who reside more than a day's drive away may be interviewed by telephone or web-based video conference.) During their time on campus, the Program Coordinator meets with applicants to explain the program and our expectations in greater detail than can be effectively on our web pages. Then, following a tour of the facilities, prospective students have individual conferences with members of the Admissions Committee (i.e., core program faculty) and with several students. During the interview day, questions can be answered by both faculty and students and, if necessary, by other persons in the University community. This visit gives potential students an opportunity to see the setting and people with whom they may be working for the next several years, as well as giving Penn State faculty the opportunity to become more knowledgeable about the applicants. All applicants will be notified of their admission status by early April.

Applications for admission for the fall semester must be submitted by December 1st.

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