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Admission Requirements

  1. Completed Graduate School Application.
  2. Nonrefundable application fee.
  3. Two official transcripts from each institution attended.
  4. Standardized test scores (as required by the graduate program).
    • Scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) in the 50th percentile or higher, or from a comparable substitute examination. At the discretion of the graduate standards committee, a student may be admitted provisionally for graduate study in the program without these scores.
    • English Proficiency—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. Applicants with iBT speaking scores between 15 and 18 may be considered for provisional admission, which requires an institutional test of English proficiency upon first enrollment and, if necessary, remedial course work. The minimum composite score for the IELTS is 6.5. Specific graduate programs may have more stringent requirements.

      International applicants are exempt from the TOEFL/IELTS requirement who have received a baccalaureate or a masters 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.

      Information about the TOEFL can be obtained by writing to the Educational Testing Service, Box 6155, Princeton, NJ 08541-6155 or visiting their Web site at www.toefl.org . Local administration at University Park campus of the TOEFL is handled by the IECP. Information about the IELTS can be obtained by contacting IELTS International, 100 East Corson Street, Suite 200, Pasadena, CA 91103 or visiting its Web site at www.ielts.org .

  5. A minimum grade-point average of 3.00 (on a 4.00 scale) is required for the junior/senior years of the baccalaureate degree and in all courses in the biological and physical sciences regardless of when taken. Admission to the Ph.D. program requires an M.S. or equivalent degree in natural science with a cumulative grade point average of 3.25 for the master’s program.
  6. Three letters of recommendation. These should be from persons who are best qualified to evaluate the applicant’s ability to succeed in graduate study. This may include previous academic advisers, instructors who are familiar with the applicant’s work from their classes, supervisors from research projects, employment supervisors, or others who are able to evaluate the applicant’s academic ability and motivation.
  7. Statement of Purpose. This is a 1–2 page essay describing the applicant’s reasons for considering graduate study, goals after completion of the graduate degree, and the applicant’s specific areas of interest.

Applying to the Graduate School

IF YOU HAVE READ THE SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS FOR THE GRADUATE PROGRAM IN SOIL SCIENCE, then you should read the specifics of how to apply to the Graduate School and our Departmental programs.