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Application and Admission Information

Given our apprenticeship model, program faculty are strongly committed to the view that graduate study is an activity requiring the full energies of the student. As such, we encourage students to attend graduate school on a full time basis but also recognize that some individuals (e.g., teachers) will not initially be able to make the transition to full time graduate status. That being said, it is important to note that the Educational Psychology Admissions Committee, gives preference to students who can devote full time to the completion of their courses and related experiences in teaching and research. The goal of the program is to have a cohort of 3–8 new students admitted each year.

Although experience with teaching or research before entering the program may contribute to a student’s experience, such experience is not a prerequisite for program admission. Many students come to the program with a relatively limited amount of work experience; many have recently completed their undergraduate work; or are at a transition point in their career.

Program faculty make every possible effort to provide financial support for as many students who request it as possible. The most typical forms of financial support come as either Teaching or Research Assistantships. Applicants may also be recommended for competitive university-wide fellowships. It is important for students to apply to the program early to be considered for the greatest number of opportunities for financial assistance.

Consistent with the apprenticeship model, activities associated with the financial activity are designed to provide experiences relevant to the professional development of the student. Some of the assistantships involve teaching and instructional support within Educational Psychology. Other forms of support may place the student as a research assistant on funded projects or with a faculty-affiliated research center or other entity.

The program encourages students to engage in a variety of experiences that contribute to the development of knowledge about relevant professional organizations. Graduate students, including those in their first year of study, are encouraged to attend national and international professional meetings and conferences (e.g., American Psychological Association or the American Educational Research Association), as well as regional and local meetings of relevant professional and scientific groups.

Application Information

The following links will lead you to pages that describe academic programs, faculty, financial aid, and courses; and, there are additional web links provided on the site pages.

How to Apply to the Program

 Applying to the Educational Psychology program requires that you first apply to the Graduate School.

Applying to The Graduate School

If you are ready to proceed to the application but have not read the Graduate School requirements, please visit the Graduate School's Prospective Students web page.  If you have read the Graduate School and program requirements and are ready to formally apply to The Graduate School complete an electronic application

Message from the Graduate School:

Degree Admission

Admission to the Graduate School at Penn State to pursue a graduate degree requires that prospective students select a specific graduate program (field of study) and graduate degree (e.g., Ph.D., M.S., M.Ed., M.B.A., etc.), and submit all application materials required for that graduate degree program, in addition to the University-wide requirements of the Graduate School (i.e., submission of a completed, online Graduate School Application for Admission; payment of the non-refundable graduate application fee; upload of copies of transcripts/documents from all post-secondary institutions attended (and official English translation if the language of instruction is not English); submission of official TOEFL or IELTS scores for international applicants (with the exceptions noted; ); and, if offered admission and the offer is accepted, receipt by the Graduate School of official/original transcripts/documents from all post-secondary institutions attended (and official English translation, if the language of instruction is not English).  The Graduate School confirms eligibility for admission of all graduate degree applicants, and programs select and recommend applicants for offers of admission, with final approval of admission to all graduate degree programs by the Graduate School. 

An applicant may apply to only one graduate degree program and campus at a time. The Graduate School will not consider concurrent applications for admission to more than one graduate degree program and does not act upon an application without a program's recommendation to offer admission. If additional degree applications are submitted, only the most recently submitted application will be reviewed. Individuals who already hold a doctorate are discouraged from applying for a second doctoral degree (see policy on Second Doctorates).

EFFECTIVE 11/0/14:  As part of the online application process, applicants are required to electronically upload copies of transcripts (or equivalent documents for institutions outside the U.S., e.g., degree/study certificates, diplomas, etc.) from all post-secondary institutions attended, in the language of instruction (and copies of an official English translation if English is not the language of instruction).  Applicants recommended for admission who accept an offer through the online graduate admission system will be notified by the Graduate School that official/original transcripts/documents must be sent from the originating institutions in the official language of the institution(s) attended (and if the language of instruction is not English, an official English translation must also be sent).  The Graduate School will review all official documents to finalize the offer of admission.  An offer of admission will be revoked if official/original documents are not received by the Graduate School within specified deadlines, or if official/original documents differ from the copies uploaded by the applicant prior to the offer of admission.  For applicants whose degree conferral is in progress at the time of uploading copies, the deadline specified for receipt of official/original documents will allow for the passage of the reported date of degree conferral, and that conferral must be confirmed on the official/original documents received by the Graduate School, in order for the offer of admission to be finalized.

To apply for admission to a graduate degree program at Penn State, review the instructions on the respective program's website. A list of degree program web sites may be found on the Graduate Programs of Study web page. The website of the each graduate program will direct you to the Graduate School online application.

Individuals applying for Level I Instructional, Supervisory, Educational Specialist, and Administrative certification issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Education upon the recommendation of the University, must apply using the degree application and choose "Pennsylvania Educators Level I Certification" as the degree selection. Additional information regarding certification may be found at The Penn State College of Education or by calling (814) 865-0488.

Requirements for Graduate Admission

Applying to Educational Psychology

The following information must be submitted via the online application for the Educational Psychology Program application.

  1. Copies of transcripts/documents from all post-secondary institutions attended (and official English translation if the language of instruction is not English).  (See additional detail in 'Message from the Graduate School' above.)
  2. Official GRE testing scores are not required due to COVID-19 related difficulties in accessing testing sites.
  3. Three letters of recommendation.  Recommendations can be processed electronically through the Graduate School application portal.
  4. Personal Statement (required of all applicants) as related to getting an advanced degree in Educational Psychology.  
  5. Career Goals Statement (required only for fellowship consideration). This concise statement (single space, 1-page maximum) should describe your research interests, how they align with those of your preferred advisor, and professional goals upon completion of the doctoral program.
  6. Submitting a copy of your resume is also recommended.

Applying for the correct degree

If your definite goal is to earn a Master’s degree as your terminal degree and you have no plan to continue on later to pursue a Ph.D. degree in the Educational Psychology, you should apply for the Master’s degree in our program.  (Please reflect that on your application.)  However, if your goal is to earn a Ph.D. degree in Educational Psychology, please consider the factors below and then note on your application accordingly.

  1. You do not need to have already earned a Master’s degree in order to apply for admission into our Ph.D. degree program.  All you need is to have earned a Baccalaureate degree by the time you start our graduate program.
  2. A student admitted in to our Ph.D. program can opt to earn a Master’s degree in Educational Psychology “along the way” when the student has fulfilled the equivalent requirements for the Master’s degree and continue from there to complete their Ph.D. degree requirements.  (In this case, please note Ph.D. on your application.)
  3. It is generally to your advantage to apply for admission into the Ph.D. program directly, instead of applying for admission into the Master’s degree program only for now with a plan to apply for the Ph.D. program later. Some of these advantages include:
    1. If you apply for the Master’s degree program now, you will need to re-apply for admission into the Ph.D. program later after you have completed your Master’s degree. The re-application would not be necessary if you are admitted into the Ph.D. program directly from the start.  (In this case, please note Ph.D. on your application.)
    2. Students in the Ph.D. degree program are usually given priority in the granting of graduate assistantships by the program.
    3. It would be easier to fulfill the Ph.D. degree residency requirement if you start out as a Ph.D. student immediately, instead of starting out as a Master’s degree student.   

To be given full consideration for all funding opportunities, applications must be completed by December 15th.  Applications received after that date, will be reviewed and may be considered for additional funding opportunities.  Most offers of admission are made on or around April 1 for the following Fall Semester.

For International Applicants only:

6. You need to submit your official scores on Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) electronically to the Graduate Enrollment Services.

A TOEFL score of at least 550 or higher for the paper test, or a total score of 80 with a 19 on the speaking section for the  Internet-based test (iBT) is required of all international applicants unless applicant is a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, has previously received a degree from a U.S. institution, OR is a native of an English-speaking country.


If you have further questions after reading these materials please email the EDPSY Program's Administrative Support Assistant.

Administrative Support Assistant
Lan Conrad
Educational Psychology Graduate Programs
The Pennsylvania State University
125 CEDAR Building
University Park, PA 16802-3108
phone:  (814) 865-1881