Deadlines and Important Dates
Your degree application, including receipt of all application materials, must be received by the following deadlines to be considered complete, including completed reference forms;
May 15 for fall semester admission
October 1 for spring semester admission
March 1 for summer semester admission
For admission to the Graduate School, an applicant must hold either (1) a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or (2) a tertiary (postsecondary) degree that is deemed comparable to a four-year bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution. This degree must be from an officially recognized degree-granting institution in the country in which it operates.
All applicants are expected to have a GPA of 3.0 or higher from prior coursework.
Start Your Application
You can begin your online application at any time. Your progress within the online application system will be saved as you go, allowing you to return at any point as you gather additional information and required materials.
- Choose "WORLD CAMPUS" as the campus
Applications are submitted electronically and include a nonrefundable application fee. You will need to upload the following items as part of your application and your application will not be considered complete until ALL materials have been received:
A copy of an official transcript from each institution attended, regardless of the number of credits or semesters completed. Transcripts not in English must be accompanied by a certified translation. Penn State alumni do not need to request transcripts for credits earned at Penn State, but must list Penn State as part of your academic history. Upon admission and your acceptance of admission, you will be asked to send an additional official transcript. You will receive instructions at that time.
References — You will need to initiate the process through the online application by entering names and email addresses of three references. Upon submission of your application, an email will be sent to each recommender requesting they complete a brief online recommendation regarding your commitment for success in an online program. Please inform all recommenders they must submit the form in order for your application to be complete.
GPA & Test Scores — postsecondary (undergraduate), junior/senior (last two years) GPA is required.
GRE scores are not required
English Proficiency — The language of instruction at Penn State is English. All international applicants must take and submit scores for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS), with some exceptions. Minimum test scores and exceptions are found in the English Proficiency section on the Graduate School's "Requirements for Graduate Admission" page.
Résumé or curriculum vitae — Upload your résumé (one to two pages) to the online application.
Personal Statement — A one- to two-page statement addressing your purpose and objectives in enrolling in a graduate program in special education.
Applying as a Nondegree Graduate Student
To begin taking courses right away, apply as a "nondegree" graduate student. You may take up to 15 credits in nondegree status before submitting your application portfolio.
Note: If you apply as a nondegree graduate student, you must re-apply to the master's degree to be considered for admission into the Master of Education in Special Education degree program.
To apply as a nondegree graduate student:
- Begin the application process
- Select "Nondegree Admission"
- Choose "WORLD CAMPUS" as the campus
Earning a Graduate Certificate Concurrently
While pursuing the master's degree, you may also earn the Graduate Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis and/or the Postbaccalaureate Certificate in Educating Individuals with Autism. To do so, you must complete a separate certificate application on the Graduate School website and pay the associated application fee before completing all of the credits required for the desired certificate. For example, to earn the Graduate Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis along with the Master's in Special Education, you will need to submit two separate applications — one for the master's program and one for the graduate certificate program.