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Students interested in applying to the graduate program in geosciences for Fall 2021 admission should be aware of the following program notes and deadlines:

Program Note: Applications for Fall 2021 admission open Oct. 1, 2020. We are currently revising our application for graduate school.  Please hold off on submitting applications until Oct. 1, 2020 when the new application will be available.

Program Note: GRE is now optional.  The GRE scores are now optional for admission and departmental support (teaching and research assistantships) for the graduate program in geosciences.  We evaluate applications based on grades, coursework, personal statement, research experience, letters of recommendation, and other evidence indicating the applicants’ ability to conduct and complete graduate-level research.  If you want to be considered for University and College awards, GRE scores are required (see Early Deadline below).

Early Deadline November 1, 2020: Please have all your application materials submitted by this deadline if you want your application considered for University Fellowships and College Awards. Decisions will be made in mid-December.  

Final Deadline December 15, 2020: Please have all your application materials submitted by this deadline to be considered for support (Teaching or Research Assistantship) for Fall 2021.

Applications will be considered after this deadline, but most offers of support will be made by March 2021.

These deadlines apply to all domestic and international students. Students are expected to have a bachelor's degree in some branch of the natural or physical sciences, engineering, or mathematics. A student also is expected to have completed standard introductory courses in geosciences, chemistry, physics, and mathematics through integral calculus, plus 15 credits of intermediate-level work in one or a combination of these subjects. Students who are admitted but have less than the minimum preparation in these subjects must make up their deficiencies prior to entry to the program. They may take courses concurrently with their graduate studies, but this is not encouraged. Students with special backgrounds, abilities, and interests whose undergraduate grade-point average in courses pertinent to geosciences is below a 3.00 (on a 4.00 scale) will be considered for admission only when there are strong indications that a 3.00 average can be maintained at the graduate level.

Students are admitted either to the M.S. or Ph.D. degree program. A student may work toward a Ph.D. degree without first earning a master's degree.


If you are ready to proceed to the application but have NOT read the Graduate School requirements, please visit the website at:

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

Download and complete this department-specific form. You will need to upload it to the Graduate School application:
Course Summary

TOEFL (international students) and GRE Codes that you will need on your Application. 

Please note, the GRE scores are optional for admission to our program and to receive financial support from teaching or research assistantships.  If you’ve taken the GRE, you may submit your scores, but you are not required to submit them.  If you want to be considered for University and College awards, you should submit GRE scores.

TOEFL Code:   2660 (Institution Code)
GRE Code:  2660 (Institution Code)  0511 (Department Code)

 - As part of the online application process, you are required to upload electronic copies of transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended (or equivalent documents for institutions outside the U.S., e.g. degree/study certificates, diplomas, etc.) in the language of instruction, as well as copies of an official English translation, if English is not the language of instruction.  (If you are offered admission, Penn State's Graduate School will request official transcripts by postal mail.  Note:  Offers of admission will be revoked if original, official documents do not arrive by specified deadlines, or if official documents do not match electronic copies provided prior to the offer of admission.

 - Provide official TOEFL scores to Penn State. You do not need to send a copy by mail if official scores are reported electronically in this manner.

TOEFL or IELTS scores, can be submitted electronically to Penn State by the administering agency. All international applicants whose first language is not English or who have not received baccalaureate or master's degrees from an institution in which the language of instruction is English, must take the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) examination. A TOEFL score of 550 on the paper test is required for admission.  If you take the iBT (internet-based TOEFL test), the minimums are 80 (total score) and 19 (speaking).

Note that your application will not be considered complete until you have filed your online application AND we have received the TOEFL (if required), by official electronic submission to Penn State from the administering agency.