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Apply for Admission to Doctoral Program

Admission requirements for the doctoral degree in Workforce Education and Development in the Learning Performance Systems Department within the College of Education at Penn State University.

Doctoral students are accepted for Fall admission. The following are the deadlines:

  • January 28th – those students who want to be considered for funding. Please submit the assistantship application no later than January 15th.
  • April 15th – deadline for international students. This deadline is due to the time-frame needed for Global Programs to process the International Visa Documentation. The process cannot begin until you have accepted your offer of admission/paid your acceptance fees. Therefore, international students must apply by the April 15th deadline for processing purposes.
  • June 30th – This deadline is for students who do not wish to be considered for funding.


Applicants must have successfully completed a master's degree from an accredited institution, having earned at least a 3.0 grade point average. All students are expected to exhibit:

    1. Academic competency,
    2. Effectiveness in interpersonal relations,
    3. Written, and oral communications.



    Students should be able to document a minimum of two years full-time employment in the workplace. Relevant examples include the following:

    • career and technical education
    • vocational guidance
    • industrial training
    • military technical training
    • safety education or technical education
    • or related experience acceptable to the faculty


    Step 1: Graduate School Application

    Complete the online Penn State Graduate School application form at Make sure you pay the application fee as outlined on the Graduate School application form. You can check the status of your Graduate School application materials by visiting the Graduate Application Status Inquiry page.

    When completing the online Graduate School application, you will be asked to answer a series of questions or provide written statements regarding the following information:

    • Resume or curriculum vitae
    • Letters of recommendation from two people who are best qualified to evaluate your ability to succeed in graduate study. The Graduate School application will ask you to submit the names of references along with their email addresses. Your reference will receive an email directing them to the site to upload a reference letter. You will be notified via email when they have submitted their letter, however you will not be able to view the letter.
    • A statement of personal career history and objectives for the future and how the Ph.D. degree will help you accomplish your goals.
    • A written statement of your research interests including how this corresponds with WFED faculty member(s) with whom you would like to work with and why
    • A description of your scholarly or applied research studies or reports that involved data collection and analysis
    • A description of other activities in which you plan to be engaged during your Ph.D. study other than taking classes to accomplish your career goals
    • A scholarly writing sample related to Workforce Education and Development, which utilizes the APA 6th Publication Manual
    • An analytical response to a case study facilitated by the program faculty

    Step 2: Workforce Education Development Program Material

    • As part of the online application process, applicants are required to electronically upload a copy of an official transcripts/documents from all post-secondary institutions attended.  Upon online acceptance of a program recommendation for admission, applicants will be notified that official/original transcripts/documents must be sent from the originating institutions for review by the Graduate School, in order to finalize an admission decision.  Transcripts/documents must be in the official language of the institution(s) attended, but if that language 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.
    • International applicants must take and submit scores for the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or the IELTS (International English Language Testing System),with the exceptions noted below.  The minimum acceptable score for the TOEFL is 550 for the paper-based test, 213 for the computer-based test, or a total score of 80 with a 19 on the speaking section for the internet-based test.  Applicants with iBT speaking scores between 15 and 18 may be considered for provisional admission, which requires an institutional test of English proficiency upon first enrollment and, if necessary, remedial course work.  The minimum composite score for the IELTS is 6.5. Submit official scores using Penn State's Institution Code: 2660.  To find out more about the TOEFL Exam visit the TOEFL web site International applicants are exempt from the TOEFL/IELTS requirement who have received a baccalaureate or a master's degree from a college/university/institution in any of the following: 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.

    Students taking the TOEFL should use school code 2660 to send scores to Penn State.