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Admission Information

The Graduate Program in Philosophy at Penn State is highly competitive.  However, the Department is committed to fully funding every student it accepts through to the PhD.  Decisions about admissions and the awarding of assistantships and fellowships are made on the basis of careful comparative evaluation of the credentials submitted by the applicants.  These credentials must show that the candidates have done superior work in their previous studies, and that they have the capacity to complete successfully a program of graduate work at Penn State.  Applicants typically have had an undergraduate major in philosophy, but this is not required and students may be admitted with limited undergraduate work in philosophy if their work generally gives evidence of high intellectual ability.  All applicants must submit Graduate Record Examination Aptitude Test scores.

Penn State is committed to the policy that all persons shall have equal access to programs, facilities, admission, and employment without regard to personal characteristics, not related to ability, performance, or qualifications as determined by University policy, or by state or federal authorities. For more information on diversity programs at Penn State, please visit the website of the Vice Provost for Educational Equity.

All applications are administered and processed on-line through the Pennsylvania State University Graduate School.  If you are ready to proceed to the application but have NOT read the Graduate School requirements, please visit that website at http://www.gradschool.psu.edu/prospective-students/how-to-apply/new-applicants/requirements-for-graduate-admission/.

If you have read the Graduate School and program requirements and are ready to apply, you may proceed to the application at http://www.gradschool.psu.edu/index.cfm/apply/.

The application deadline for the Department of Philosophy is: January 2, 2018.

Basic Requirements for Admission Applications:

  1. Completed Graduate School Application. (fee information is available at graduate school.)
  2. The Graduate School at The Pennsylvania State  University requires that all international applicants submit a TOEFL/IELTS score if their primary language is not English or if they have not received a baccalaureate or master’s degree from an institution in one of the following countries: 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 minimum score requirement for the TOEFL is 650 for paper-based, 114 for internet-based (iBT), and 280 for computer-based.  The minimum score requirement for the IELTS is 7.0.
  3. All applicants must submit Graduate Record Examination Aptitude Test scores.
  4. One official transcript from each institution attended.
  5. Minimum of 3.0 GPA in last two years of undergraduate study.
  6. Minimum of three letters of recommendation from individuals qualified to assess academic and professional promise.
  7. Maximum of one to two pages indicating purpose and intent of undertaking graduate study in philosophy at Penn State.
  8. Sample of written work.

The following application materials are submitted electronically. To manage and upload your documents, go to: http://www.gradschool.psu.edu/index.cfm/apply/

  1. Curriculum Vita 
  2. Statement of Purpose 
  3. Writing Sample 
  4. Official transcript from each institution attended 


In addition, individuals listed in your application as providing a letter of recommendation will be instructed to upload their letter via the Graduate School's Reference Submission Portal.

The following application materials can be submitted electronically from ETS using Institution Code 2660:

  1. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Aptitude Test Scores 
  2. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) examination score 

Although all application materials should be submitted electronically, please use this address if necessary:

Philosophy Graduate Assistant
234 Sparks Building
University Park, PA 16802


If applicants have specific questions about the program or the application process, they should contact the Recruitment Officer or the Director of Graduate Studies. Please check the FAQ page before calling or emailing.