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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

If you have read the Graduate School and program requirements and are ready to apply, you may proceed to the application at

The application deadline for the Department of Philosophy is: January 2, 2020 11:59 p.m. EST, United States.

Basic Requirements for Admission Applications:

  1. Completed Graduate School Application. (fee information is available at graduate school.)
  2. All international applicants must submit TOEFL or IELTS scores as proof of English proficiency as described on the Graduate School's webpage at:
  3.  One official transcript from each institution attended will be uploaded to your electronic application.  You may scan your transcript and upload it.  Please do not send paper transcripts to the Philosophy Department; if needed for admission, you will be contacted directly by the Graduate School with further directions.  If ordering electronic transcripts, please request that they be sent to Claudia Horner at
  4. Minimum of 3.0 GPA in last two years of undergraduate study.
  5. Minimum of three letters of recommendation from individuals qualified to assess academic and professional promise.
  6. Maximum of one to two pages indicating purpose and intent of undertaking graduate study in philosophy at Penn State.
  7. Sample of written work.

The following application materials are submitted electronically. To manage and upload your documents, go to:

  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.