- About GSE
- Admissions & Financial Aid
- Faculty & Research
- Our Students
- Our Alumni
Our holistic admission process means that we consider all components of your application. No one piece—such as your undergraduate GPA or GRE score—will cause us to deny you admission as long as you demonstrate the potential for academic and personal success at an Ivy League university. In addition to considering applicants’ individual qualities, we base our admissions decisions on incoming class capacity, the competitive nature of the entire applicant pool, the volume of competitive applications, and institutional priorities.
Admission to our doctoral programs is far more competitive than to our master’s programs. If you’re planning to apply to a doctoral program, we encourage you to research our faculty and their areas of interest, and get acquainted with our research centers and projects and initiatives. Because fit between applicants and faculty is key in doctoral admission, we invite a small number of Ed.D. and Ph.D. applicants to campus (all expenses paid) during the month of February to meet with faculty and learn more about our school and programs.
The following steps simplify the application process and ensure that you find the program, degree, and format that fit your academic interests, career goals, and lifestyle:
Explore our website, especially the programs that interest you. Consider what type of degree suits your educational and professional goals, and which format (full time, part-time, or executive) works best for you.
Familiarize yourself with the recruitment efforts of Penn GSE, and consider scheduling a campus visit. We offer Admissions and Financial Aid information sessions on select Fridays at 10:30am. Or plan to attend a special academic information session held each fall and spring, during which faculty will introduce prospective students to our eight academic divisions, including our teacher education programs.
After you’ve identified one or more programs that interest you, take some time to dig a little deeper. What courses will be offered next year? What careers have alumni pursued? What faculty members’ research interests you? One of the best ways to gets answers to these questions is to schedule an academic program meeting, either in person or by phone.
When approaching potential references for your application, be sure to provide them with an up-to-date résumé and information about the program you’re applying to. You might also want to remind references about your shared experience (relationship, how long you’ve known them, institution, etc.), and explain in writing why you’re applying for the particular degree(s) and program(s). Don’t forget to give your references enough time to meet due dates. Also, make sure they understand our process for gathering letters of recommendation.
Your statement of purpose (SOP) is your opportunity to tell us why you belong at Penn GSE. Because your SOP is a chance to stand out from other applicants, we encourage you to take some time with this—write more than one draft, polish your final draft, and proofread it thoroughly. And don’t forget to have someone else proofread it as well. Finally, be sure to address the correct university and program, and discuss how the degree/program will help you pursue your academic and professional goals.
Although Penn GSE has no minimums scores or cut-off points for the GRE and TOEFL iBT, we do take this part of the application seriously. To see the average GRE scores for our current class, check out the class profile. The best way to approach these tests is to spend some time preparing for them. Many of the testing organizations, like the Educational Testing Service (ETS), provide test prep materials and pointers (some at no charge). Minimally, you should familiarize yourself with the sections, types and numbers of questions, and time allotted.
Graduate study takes some financial preparation. Begin to simplify your life and start saving. Investigate employer tuition benefits. Consider monthly payment plans and student employment. Review your financial aid options. Penn GSE offers merit scholarships, fellowships, and assistantships to many admitted master’s students, and we fully fund our admitted doctoral students for four years.
If you are deemed eligible by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and/or have good credit, many loan programs will be available. Do not dismiss loans immediately; this is the way most students fund graduate study. These are not car or home loans, and often have very attractive rates and minimal fees. Additionally, flexible repayment options exist including some loan forgiveness programs for teachers and those interested in public service. You should also look into outside funding sources, like the TEACH grant for aspiring teachers.
Penn GSE will fund full-time Ph.D. students for 4 years with summer funding available. Additionally, 75% of our full-time master’s students receive merit scholarships up to $13,500 as part of the application review process. Some master’s students may receive up to an additional $10,000 in Dean’s scholarships. Finally, we award two $13,500 scholarships to eligible City Year members, alumni or staff.