The Penn State School of International Affairs (SIA) conducts a holistic review of graduate applications. In review of applicants, emphasis is placed on the undergraduate academic record/GPA, professional, work, and volunteer experiences, letters of recommendations, the statement of purpose, TOEFL (if applicable), GRE (if submitted), and other information submitted by the applicant. SIA does not require specific undergraduate degrees or specific coursework and, indeed, SIA students come from almost all possible backgrounds and undergraduate degrees. We encourage applicants where possible to have some prior coursework or experiences in math, statistics, and/or economics. Although the program has no minimum admissions GPA requirement, applicants are generally expected to have an undergraduate GPA of a 3.0 or better (out of a 4.0 scale). Please note that meeting the above preferences does not guarantee admission to the program.
Penn State SIA does not require the GRE. Applicants do not need to submit GRE scores to be considered for admission or merit-based aid. Applicants wishing to submit GRE scores are welcome to should they choose. However, not submitting GRE scores will not negatively impact your application in any way.
Applicants should understand that the complete application package is considered as a whole and that weaknesses in one dimension can be offset by strengths in another dimension. Applicants who have overcome hardships or obstacles to education or who have had unique experiences are invited to share their stories. We seek applicants who will positively contribute to the School of International Affairs and who will support our mission of diversity, intellectual engagement, professionalism, and service. Penn State SIA carefully considers letters of recommendation from faculty instructors/advisers, employers, and internship supervisors.
Penn State SIA places high importance on the integrity, maturity, and candor of applicants. Applicants are expected to update the Office of Admissions of any past or present conduct that is inconsistent with the Penn State Graduate Student Conduct and Integrity Policies. If an admitted candidate for admission has made misleading, incomplete, or inaccurate statements, submitted false material in connection with the application, or has been found to have engaged in academic or personal conduct that is inconsistent with the preceding paragraph, Penn State SIA will take appropriate action, which could include rescinding an offer of admission. Newly admitted candidates are expected to inform the Office of Admissions of any past or present conduct that is inconsistent with these standards.
SIA Admissions Team