Applicants Inside U.S.
Admission is granted jointly by the Graduate School and the academic program. Therefore, when you apply for admission to graduate study at Penn State, it is a two-step process. Please note that the following application instructions are only for Smeal PhD applicants. The Master of Science (M.S.) degree at Smeal College of Business is not offered as a stand-alone degree program, but only as an option for Ph.D. students. If you are interested in applying for a different program at Penn State, please see our frequently asked questions page for additional information.
The following requirements are part of the online application process.
Resume or CV
Your resume will be reviewed for your extra-curricular activities, community activities and up-to-date work history.
Statement of Purpose
Your response to the following three essay questions will be reviewed to understand your goals, aspirations, and overall fit with the curriculum and culture of the program. It may be in the form of one essay or multiple essays. Your answer will help us get to know you in a more personal and meaningful way. The more genuine and clear you can be about who you are and where you'd like a PhD to take you, the better we can determine our ability to help you get there.
A. What are your career objectives in pursuing a doctoral degree in Business Administration?
B. Why have you chosen to apply to the Pennsylvania State University for graduate study?
C. Describe any previous research which you have done as well as the kind of research you wish to pursue during your graduate studies and beyond.
Graduate Management Admission Test Score (GMAT)
The GMAT is required for admission to the Smeal PhD Accounting department. Official score reports must be sent directly from the reporting agency. Your GMAT score must be less than five years old at the time of your application. We urge all applicants to take the test no later February of the year of intended enrollment. The GMAT code for the Penn State Smeal PhD is ZZ8-HD-09.
The other departments (finance, management and organization, marketing, real estate, and supply chain and information systems) prefer GMAT scores, but the GRE is an acceptable alternative. Scores must be no more than five years old at the time of your application. The GRE code for the Penn State Smeal PhD is 2660.
You must have at least the equivalent of a four-year U.S. bachelor's degree from an accredited institution to be considered for admission into Penn State. Only if you are offered admission to the program, you will need to send the registrar of every college or university you've attended a request for two official transcripts and sent to the Smeal College of Business (PhD Program Office) in a sealed envelope. Transcripts are reviewed for course content, academic performance, and any trends in academic progress.
International applicants whose transcripts are not in English must submit both the originals as well as certified translated transcripts along with an official copy of the bachelor's degree and graduation certificate. Contact Penn State's Office of Graduate Enrollment Services to determine if your degree is equivalent to a U.S. four-year baccalaureate degree before submitting an application.
Letters of Recommendation
Recommendations from two persons whom you feel are able to present an accurate evaluation of you. Each individual will be contacted by e-mail via the online application, therefore, it is important that you provide a valid e-mail address for each reference. Instructors, academic advisers and recent work or military supervisors are most appropriate. Recommendations from personal friends, relatives, or family acquaintances are not appropriate.
English Proficiency Exams (International Applicants)
Penn State Smeal PhD, Full-time code: 2660
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) with the exceptions noted below.
Test Delivery Method Minimum Score
Internet-based (speaking) 80 (23)
International candidates may be exempt from the TOEFL if any of the following apply:
- The candidate has received a degree from a U.S. college/university/institution.
- The candidate has 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.
- The candidate is a U.S. Permanent Resident.
For more information or to find testing locations, visit: www.toefl.org or call 1-607-771-7100, or write:
P.O. Box 6155
Princeton, NJ 08541-6155
Visa Document (International Applicants only)
The U.S. Department of State requires that international applicants provide evidence of sufficient funds to cover all expenses for at least one calendar year before a visa will be issued. The amount required varies with the economy, and is approximately $40,000-$45,000 U.S. As the graduate assistantship and other funding can be used as part of this evidence, you may leave the financial certification page blank until you have received an offer from the program.
Once you have received an offer for admission, the PhD Programs office will forward information to the Directorate of International Student Advising (DISA) office, which is part of the University Office of Global Programs. The DISA office will send you instructions and a link to enter immigration information and upload financial documentation directly into an electronic file.
For the most current figures, additional information, or special assistance, visit the Penn State Office of Global Programs.
You may also call or write:
The Pennsylvania State University
410 Boucke Building
University Park, PA 16802-5900
Phone: US 814-865-6348
STEP 1: Application Materials to be submitted to The Ph.D Office in the Smeal College of Business
Please download the following document which is a PDF (portable document format). Complete this form, and then complete the Graduate School's Electronic Application (See Step 2 below). To ensure speedy processing of your application, please send only the required material.
Send the registrar of every college or university you've attended a request for two official transcripts. The registrar will then return the official transcripts to you so that you may send the unopened official transcripts to the Smeal College of Business (PhD Programs Office). If you have a student copy of your transcript, please scan and upload it to your application (you will find the links at the end of the application in the GRADS system). Scanning and uploading your transcript does not replace the need for official transcripts, but helps to speed up the overall application process. Transcripts not in English must be accompanied by a certified translation.
Please mail to:
Smeal College of Business
The Pennsylvania State University
351 Business Building
University Park, PA 16802-3603
2. Official GMAT or GRE and/or TOEFL score to be sent by the reporting agency. The GMAT is required for applicants in Accounting. Finance, Management and Organization, Marketing, Real Estate, and Supply Chain & Information Systems prefer GMAT scores, but the GRE is an acceptable alternative. If you have a student copy of your test scores, please scan and upload them to your GRADS application. You will find the links at the end of the application process.
STEP 2: Application Materials to be uploaded to the Graduate School Electronic application
Graduate School Electronic Application
Applicants are required to complete the Graduate School's Electronic Application including remitting an application fee. Please refer to the graduate school Web site at http://gradsch.psu.edu/prospective/apply.html for further instructions.
1. Electronic application and application fee. You may pay by credit card online when you submit the application or you may send a check or money order. Applications without fees cannot be processed.
If you do not wish to pay the application fee by credit card, please download the Application Fee Form and mail it along with your non-refundable application fee. Do Not Send Cash. Make check or money order payable to The Pennsylvania State University. International money order or check must be drawn on a U.S. bank. The canceled check serves as your receipt.
Mail Application Fee Form to:
Graduate Enrollment Services
The Pennsylvania State University
114 Kern Building
University Park, PA 16802
2. Resume or CV. Be sure to include extra-curricular activities, community activities, and an up-to-date work history.
3. Application Essay Form to include answering the following questions: A. What are your career objectives in pursuing a doctoral degree in Business Administration? B. Why have you chosen to apply to the Pennsylvania State University for graduate study? C. Describe any previous research which you have done as well as the kind of research you wish to pursue during your graduate studies and beyond.
4. Application for Visa Document (International applicants only). The University Office of Global Programs will send you instructions and a link if you receive an offer for admission. Documentation can be express shipped via a third-party provider.
5. A copy of your student report for GMAT, GRE, and/or TOEFL score, if you wish. Remember you MUST have GMAC and/or ETS send your scores electronically to Penn State.
6. Recommender names and e-mail addresses. Each recommender will be contacted by e-mail, therefore is is important that you provide a valid e-mail address for each reference.