The Pennsylvania State University

School of Visual Arts


  1. Apply to the Graduate School at Penn State using the electronic application found at  More information about applying to the Graduate School at Penn State can be found at
  2. Letters of Recommendation: As part of the electronic application through the Graduate School Portal, applicants will be asked to provide names and email addresses of three people. Letters of recommendation should attest to scholarship and ability to work independently. References should be faculty or professional individuals who are acquainted with your academic qualifications and whom you feel are able to present an accurate evaluation of you. Each reference will be contacted by email only after your application has been submitted and will be asked to upload their letter at that time.
  3. International Students: The language of instruction at Penn State is English. 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 (iBT). Applicants with iBT speaking scores between 15 and 18 may be considered for provisional admission, enrollment, and, if necessary, remedial course work. The minimum composite score for the IELTS is 6.5. 

International applicants are exempt from the TOEFL/IELTS requirement who have received a baccalaureate or a graduate 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.

  1. Test Scores: Scores from the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) or from the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) are required for admission.  GRE scores are required for consideration for some fellowships.
  2. Official Transcripts: As part of the electronic application through the Graduate School Portal, applicants will be asked to provide official transcripts from all institutions of higher education attended, both undergraduate and graduate including official military transcripts (if applicable).

NOTE: Applicants are required to upload copies of official transcripts to their electronic application on the Graduate School Portal. Hard copies of official transcripts may be requested at a later date.

NOTE: International applicants must submit official or attested university records, with certified translations if the records are not in English. Notarized copies are not acceptable.

  1. Additional Documents: Please upload the following documents to your application through the Graduate School Portal:
    1. A one- to two-page Statement of Professional Intent which includes: (a) professional objectives, (b) how these objectives would be furthered by graduate study, (c) the areas in which research and creative work are planned, (d) what the applicant hopes to do with the graduate degree he or she is seeking to attain, and (e) evidence that the applicant is prepared to undertake graduate level work. Indicate if you would like to be considered for an Assistantship/Fellowship.
    2. An example of scholarly writing (these may be papers from college courses, a professional report, or other documents that demonstrate the applicant’s ability to write effectively.
  2. Creative Portfolio (Optional): Students who wish to may submit a portfolio of creative works in support of their application using the Slideroom program at