Application Instructions

Thank you for your interest in Penn GSE! Please read all instructions and complete each step carefully.


Application Steps

  1. Complete the online application
    1. If you are applying to more than one program or more than one degree, submit one application at a time. If you wish to have more than one application in-progress at a time, you will need unique email accounts for each.
    2. In the Academic Background section, applicants currently enrolled in a program must utilize the field “expected graduation/end date,” not “end date.” Incorrect use of “end date” may prompt an error.
  2. Upload a statement of purpose and resume.
    1. Note: We are unable to update these documents after you submit the application. Please proofread and ensure you upload the correct documents before clicking submit.
  3. Input contact information for 3 references unrelated to you who will electronically submit letters of recommendation.
  4. For each post-secondary institution you've attended in the United States of America (USA), you may upload a registrar-issued transcript for review.
    1. Note: Transcripts must be official copies from the registrar's office. We cannot accept unofficial transcripts or grade reports copied from student accounts.
    2. Should you choose to enroll at Penn GSE, official copies of final transcripts must be sent directly from the institution before you begin coursework.
  5. For each post-secondary institution you've attended outside the USA, we require that you contact a member of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) to have a course-by-course evaluation of your non-USA transcript(s) sent directly from the NACES member to Penn GSE Admissions and Financial Aid. This evaluation is required for application review.
  6. Click Submit! 
    1. Remember you can submit your application before Penn GSE receives your recommendations, test scores, transcripts or evaluation of your credentials.  
  7. Request an official copy of your standardized test scores to be sent directly to Penn GSE using institution code 2943. You do not need to indicate additional program codes.
  8. Application Fee
    1. Penn GSE offers a free application from September 15 through March 14.
    2. Beginning March 15 (through September 14) there is a $75 non-refundable application fee. 
      1. If the non-refundable application fee poses a financial hardship, please email admissions@gse.upenn.edu with “Waiver” in the subject line to request an application fee waiver.
        1. Please note that we will prioritize granting application fee waivers to students applying to non-executive master’s degree programs.
    3. All applicants are encouraged to start applications early and take your time presenting your best effort.
    4. All applicants are still encouraged to apply to more than one program and/or degree since no additional application fees will apply.
      1. If you intend to apply to multiple programs and/or degrees, please remember to tailor your statement of purpose to reflect your interest in each particular program and/or degree.
    5. Applicants affiliated with the following programs and/or partners are exempt from the non-refundable application fee:
      1. City Year
      2. Fulbright
      3. Institute for the Recruitment of Teachers (IRT) 
      4. McNair Scholars
      5. Teach for America (TFA) 
      6. If applying after March 15, please email admissions@gse.upenn.edu to obtain a fee waiver code before paying the non-refundable application fee.

Only upload and submit requested information. Do not upload or submit supplemental materials, writing samples, additional letters of recommendation, certificates, etc.

Important! Attention: Please see additional information below regarding:

Additional information regarding the online application form

  1. You do not have to complete the online application in one sitting; you may access your application and change your answers as many times as you like before clicking submit.
  2. Please note that you can submit your application only once and that once submitted you will not be able to make changes to your application information using the online application system.
  3. Penn GSE reserves the right to review your application for different program(s) and/or degree(s) other than the one(s) to which you applied.
  4. If you wish to be considered for admission to more than one program and/or degree, please submit a separate, complete application to each program and/or degree.
  5. Once you submit the application, you relinquish all rights to the application (and all components of admission applications including statements of purpose, resumes, academic credentials and test scores) and it becomes the sole and absolute property of Penn GSE and will not be released, returned or duplicated.
  6. Please note that admitted applicants to the following programs will be required to obtain three criminal background and child abuse clearances, in accordance with Pennsylvania law: Teacher Education; Counseling and Mental Health Services; Language and Literacy; Reading/Writing/Literacy; Executive Program in School and Mental Health Counseling; and Professional Counseling and Mental Health Services
  7. Program administrators are required to verify and maintain copies of valid clearances and to make them available to school districts, schools, or other clinical settings as required.
  8. Admitted applicants will be notified after admission about how to obtain these clearances by program administrators.

Additional information regarding the statement of purpose

All applicants to the following degree and certification programs are required to write a statement of purpose, which should be no more than 750 words and address the factors that have encouraged you to seek an education from Penn GSE. You may also wish to describe your background, significant personal and professional experiences related to your program of study, important aspects of your academic record, and your professional goals upon completion of your desired program.

Please note the following exceptions:  

  1. Applicants to the Counseling and Mental Health Services (M.S.Ed.) program should address their interest in the field of professional counseling and future professional goals
  2. Applicants to the Executive Doctorate in Higher Education Management (Ed.D.) must submit a single document of no more than ten double-spaced pages that is divided into two parts, each not more than five pages. In Part I, describe what attributes of the program have led you to apply to the Executive Doctorate in Higher Education Management. Please address how your previous professional and educational experiences have prepared you to succeed in an accelerated doctoral program, how these experiences will contribute to learning in a cohort-based instructional model, and how the program will further your career aspiration. For Part II, considering the most significant issues and opportunities in your institutional sector or functional area of higher education, what do we not know about this issue and why do we need to know it? Please be specific, rather than referencing broad, general problems.
  3. Applicants to the Professional Counseling (M.Phil.Ed) program must describe what clinical strengths have you developed as a professional and what areas for further development would you like to address during your enrollment in the program?
  4. Applicants to the Mid-Career Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership (Ed.D.) must identify a critical incident in your leadership experiences; an incident occurring at least a year ago, but no more than 5 years ago. Describe the incident, the critical issues it presented and how you acted. Reflect on lessons you’ve learned from that incident, and describe any ways in which you might analyze or act differently now if a similar incident presented itself. (750-1000 words) Additionally, tell us how do you see this program furthering your aspirations? (250-500 words)
  5. Applicants to the School and Mental Health Counseling (M.S.Ed.) should address their interest in the field of professional counseling and future professional goals
  6. Applicants to the Penn Chief Learning Officer (CLO) Ed.D. program must respond to the following 2 prompts: In approximately 500 words describe what has led you to apply to the PennCLO Executive Doctoral Program. Please address how your previous personal, professional and educational experiences have prepared you to succeed in an accelerated doctoral program and what you can bring from these experiences to the learning community. In approximately 500 words describe your most significant leadership challenge to date. (This experience should be no more than five years ago.) Describe the incident, the critical issues it presented and how you reacted. Reflect on lessons you've learned from that incident, and describe ways in which you might analyze the situation or act differently.

Additionally any applicant who has ever been placed on probation, dismissed or suspended from any college or university for reasons pertaining to academic integrity, should, in the personal statement, include any facts that you believe bear on the significance of this circumstance.

Additional information regarding letters of recommendation

  1. Please note the following should you need to change your references:
    1. If the reference to be replaced has not yet started the recommendation, you may change your reference from the status page.
    2. If the reference has already started, but not completed, the recommendation, email admissions@gse.upenn.edu with the subject line "Reference Change" so Penn GSE Admissions and Financial Aid can notify our online application vendor that you wish to have the reference removed. Once the reference is removed, you will then be able to enter the information for the new reference from the status page.
    3. If the recommendation is complete (recommender completed the form and uploaded the letter) then have the new reference write a letter of recommendation and send it as an attachment with your name in the subject line to admissions@gse.upenn.edu.
  2. Penn GSE will follow up with recommenders to confirm receipt of their letters and with any questions about their content.
  3. Be sure to carefully read the "Agreement of Confidentiality" in the applicant's section of the form.
  4. If you are willing to relinquish your right of access to these recommendations, please make certain you indicate that, since the response of the recommender may be affected by whether or not you relinquish your right of access.
  5. Reading Specialist - Certification Only; School Leadership - Certification Only; Executive Doctorate in Higher Education Management (Ed.D.); Med Ed: Master's in Medical Education (M.S.Ed.); and PennCLO (Ed.D.) applicants must submit only 2 letters of recommendation.
  6. Penn CLO applicants must submit one letter  from your direct manager/supervisor and another from a prior manager, senior colleague, mentor or client.
  7. Professional Counseling and Mental Health Services (M.Phil.Ed.) applicants must submit one letter of recommendation from a supervisor who can attest to the applicant's clinical/counseling skills.
  8. Teaching, Learning, and Leadership (M.S.Ed.) and Learning Sciences & Technologies (M.S.Ed.) applicants are required to submit at least one academic letter of reference if they have completed a degree program within the last 5 years.
  9. Virtual Online Teaching (VOLT) certificate applicants aren't required to submit letters of recommendation.

Additional information regarding official academic credentials

  1. Please note that transcripts uploaded must reflect all coursework taken from every post-secondary institution attended, even if you transferred, withdrew, did not graduate, or the coursework appears on other transcripts.
  2. All uploaded transcripts will be considered unofficial and will be used for application review only.
  3. If you chose to upload a document in the transcript field prior to submitting your application and it was not a registrar-issued transcript, such a document (for instance, pictures of documents or mid-year grade reports) will be deleted from your application and your checklist will indicate “Materials Needed” until a registrar-issued transcript is uploaded.
  4. If you have attended undergraduate or graduate school in the United States and are admitted and decide to enroll, you must have official versions of all transcripts sent to Penn GSE directly from all institutions attended.
  5. Penn GSE can receive official transcripts from US institutions only in hard copy (Penn GSE, 3700 Walnut St., Philadelphia, PA 19104) or e-copy (admissions@gse.upenn.edu).
  6. If you have attended undergraduate or graduate school outside the United States, submit all official transcripts to a member of the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES) and request to have an official course-by-course evaluation sent directly from the NACES member to Penn GSE.
  7. You should consult the NACES website and once you decide on a member organization, follow the instructions detailing what official documentation must be sent to the organization directly in order to complete a course-by-course evaluation.
  8. Penn GSE accepts neither transcripts from institutions outside the USA nor English language translations of such transcripts.
  9. In order to be deemed official, all course-by-course evaluations must be received directly via mail or email directly from the NACES member. No course-by-course evaluation will be accepted directly from applicants.
  10. Any document uploaded as a transcript for an institution outside of the USA, will be deleted from your application and your checklist will indicate “Materials Needed” until an a course-by-course evaluation from a NACES member is received by Penn GSE.
  11. You do not need to send an official copy of your transcripts in addition to the course-by-course evaluation.
  12. The NACES member evaluation is required before your application can be reviewed.

Applicants who have participated in exchange programs or STUDY ABROAD

If the course names and grades from any exchange programs do not appear on your official transcript, you must request an official transcript be sent directly from the host institution to Penn GSE by mail or email.

If the course names and grades from your exchange program do not appear on your official transcript and your host institution was a non-US school, you must submit all official transcripts to a member of NACES and request to have an official course-by-course evaluation sent directly from the NACES member to Penn GSE.

Past applicants have utilized World Education Services (WES) for course-by-course evaluations. 

You do not need to send an official copy of your transcripts in addition to the course-by-course evaluation.

Additional information regarding official test scores

All applicants must arrange to have official standardized test scores sent directly to Penn GSE using the institutional reporting code 2943

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is not required for the following programs:

  • Education Entrepreneurship (M.S.Ed.)                                              

  • Executive Doctorate in Higher Education Management (Ed.D.)

  • Executive Master's in School and Mental Health Counseling (M.S.Ed.)

  • Med Ed: Master's in Medical Education (M.S.Ed.)

  • Mid-Career Doctoral in Educational Leadership (Ed.D.)

  • Penn Residency Master's in Teaching (M.S.Ed.)

  • PennCLO (Ed.D.)

  • Reading/Writing/Literacy (M.S.Ed. only)

  • Reading Specialist - Certification Only

  • School Leadership Program

  • Teach for America

  • Virtual Online Teaching (VOLT) Certificate

Please note that GRE Scores are valid and reportable within a 5 year period from the original test date.   

Academic and Professional English Language Proficiency

The internet-based, Test of English as a Foreign Language: TOEFL (iBT) or the International English Language Testing System: IELTS, is required of applicants who do not have an undergraduate or graduate degree from an institution in which the primary or sole language of instruction is English.

Applicants who have participated in an English language study program but do not have an undergraduate or graduate degree from an institution in which the primary or sole language of instruction is English must take the internet-based, Test of English as a Foreign Language: TOEFL (iBT) or the International English Language Testing System: IELTS.

Applicants to the following executive programs: chief learning officer (CLO), mid-career educational leadership and higher education management who do not have an undergraduate or graduate degree from an institution in which the primary or sole language of instruction is English are not required to take the internet-based, Test of English as a Foreign Language: TOEFL (iBT) or the International English Language Testing System: IELTS.

Penn GSE reserves the right to request additional information at any time, including additional testing, interviews, writing samples, academic credentials, etc. from all applicants.

Reapplication Process

The following instructions are for applicants who:

  • Were admitted and decided not to enroll
  • Did not receive a decision (missed the application due date)
  • Were not offered admission (received a negative decision)

Academic Credentials

If you have applied within the last two years you may re-utilize official transcripts and/or official course-by-course evaluations of international credentials. If you have applied more than two years ago, you must submit new official transcripts and/or official course-by-course evaluations. If you began, completed or are undertaking academic coursework at the time of your reapplication; official transcripts verifying new coursework and/or degrees, certificates, licenses, endorsements, certifications, etc. must be submitted.

Official Test Scores

You may also re-utilize official test scores if they are valid (official GRE scores are valid 5 years from the original test date and TOEFL iBT scores are valid 2 years from the original test date). If your test scores are no longer valid, you must retake the appropriate test(s), if applicable, and submit new official test scores.

Letters of Recommendation

Letters of Recommendation dated within one calendar year of the time of reapplication can be re-utilized. If your letters of recommendation are more than a year old, you must submit new letters.

Reinstatement

Former GSE students seeking reinstatement after withdrawing or being withdrawn/dismissed must submit:

  • Official transcripts from any institution attended since withdrawal
  • New resume indicating any new roles since withdrawal
  • Letter of recommendation from the program from which they withdrew or were withdrawn
  • New personal statement (no more than one 1-sided page) from student indicating the following: reasons for withdrawing/what could have been done differently to avoid dismissal; what has been done, if anything, in the interim as it relates to Penn GSE goals; why now is the right time to return; and the plan for academic and personal success this time

If the former student wishes to be reinstated to a program other than the original program, the reapplication process must be followed, if applicable, or a new application must be submitted.

Penn GSE reserves the right to request additional information at any time, including additional testing, interviews, writing samples, academic credentials, etc. from all re-applicants.

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Attention: International Applicants

International applicants should not leave their home country before gaining admission to Penn GSE. Applicants who do not have an undergraduate or a graduate degree from a university or college where English is the primary language of instruction must take either the TOEFL iBT or the IELTS exam and submit their test scores with their application for admission.

International applicants to master's programs are strongly encouraged to file all admission materials 12 weeks in advance of the stated program deadlines.

In order to obtain a student visa, international applicants must be able to prove that they can pay the full costs of their tuition and residency in the United States. This information should be submitted to the University of Pennsylvania International Student and Scholar Services with the visa application forms after admission.

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Non-Degree and Undergraduate Applicants

General Admission

  1. Students who wish to enroll in one or two courses at the Penn Graduate School of Education to further their career development or to explore a new field of interest may apply for general admission.
  2. Submit the application and upload only a resume and registrar-issued transcript indicating the receipt of a baccalaureate degree. (Please see section above on academic transcripts for requirements.)
  3. Non-U.S. citizens and non-permanent residents cannot be accepted for general admission.
  4. Financial Aid is not available for general admission students.

Submatriculation

Penn Undergraduates may submatriculate into one of the following programs:

In order to submatriculate into a master's degree program, applicants must submit an application, uploading a personal statement, resume and two (2) letters of recommendation by the stated program deadlines. Bryn Mawr and Haverford undergraduates must also upload a registrar-issued transcript.

 

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Academic Integrity

The University of Pennsylvania is committed to the principles of academic integrity and the highest ethical standards.

Statement by the Applicant
I hereby certify that I have provided accurate information in this application and that this application is my own, honest statement to the Admissions Committee.

I understand that materials submitted are subject to verification. I authorize all persons or entities to provide any relevant information in their possession to the University of Pennsylvania or its agent for use in considering my application for admission or verifying all of the application materials I have submitted, and I understand that the University does not notify applicants about any aspect of its verification procedures. Any misrepresentation, omission, or academic integrity violation in my application or supplemental materials will justify denial of admission, rescission of admission and/or financial aid, expulsion, or revocation of a degree if discovered at a later date.

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Questions?

The staff of the Penn GSE Office of Admissions and Financial Aid is available to assist you with questions about admission requirements and the application process Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm EST.

Call us at 877-PENN-GSE (877-736-6473) or (215) 898-6415, or email us at admissions@gse.upenn.edu.

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Nondiscrimination Policy

The University of Pennsylvania values diversity and seeks talented students, faculty and staff from diverse backgrounds. The University of Pennsylvania does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, creed, national or ethnic origin, citizenship status, age, disability, veteran status or any other legally protected class status in the administration of its admissions, financial aid, educational or athletic programs, or other University-administered programs or in its employment practices. Questions or complaints regarding this policy should be directed to the Executive Director of the Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity Programs, Sansom Place East, 3600 Chestnut Street, Suite 228, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6106; or (215) 898-6993 (Voice) or (215) 898-7803 (TDD).

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