Admissions and Transfer Credits

Take the First Step toward a Penn State Degree

Congratulations on your decision to further your education. Whether your goals are career advancement, degree completion, or personal enrichment, Penn State World Campus has many programs and services that honor your military service and meet your educational needs. The first step is completing the online application. Throughout the application process, you’ll get more information about receiving academic credit for prior military learning, exams completed, or credits transferred from other institutions.

Getting Started — Undergraduate Students

Our dedicated military admissions team is here to assist you as you apply to the University. Please review the information below and then contact us with any questions.

As you prepare, keep in mind these formal deadlines for applying to Penn State. All materials must be received no later than these dates:

  • March 15 – for admission in summer session
  • October 31 – for admission in spring semester
  • June 30 – for admission in fall semester

We recommend that you submit your application as early as possible to avoid potential delays due to questions about your application, missing materials, etc. Please note that undergraduate military students are not required to submit SAT or ACT scores. 

Step 1:  Explore Your Benefits

Military benefits, grants, scholarships, and financial aid all impact how you might pay for your education. Even before you apply, be sure to consider all of your options and connect with experts who can help you make the right decisions.

  • Review the education benefits and financial aid options described in this website.
  • Follow the steps indicated with each appropriate option.
  • Contact our military admissions team with any questions.
  • Connect with your service branch’s education office for additional assistance.
  • Participate in our military webinar to learn more about benefits and to receive an application fee waiver. 

Step 2:  Apply to Penn State World Campus

Create a MyPennState profile/account and submit the online application:

  • Visit the World Campus web page for the program to which you wish to apply. Click the “Apply Now” button, and you’ll be taken to the University’s Admissions page where you will create your MyPennState profile and submit your application. Follow the online process and contact our military admissions team with questions.
  • Be sure to jot down your MyPennState username and password so you can log back into MyPennState to check on the status of your application.

Submit your official transcripts:

  • Gather your military transcripts and official transcripts from high school/GED (if applicable) and each college or university attended. Send these materials to: Undergraduate Admissions Office, The Pennsylvania State University, 201 Shields Building, University Park PA, 16802.
  • Materials can also be sent electronically through Parchment, eScrip, or the National Student Clearinghouse.
  • If you will be attending college for the first time or have earned fewer than 18 college-level credits at another institution, you will also need to complete the Self-Reported Academic Record (SRAR), which is located in your MyPennState account.

Step 3: Monitor Your MyPennState Account

Once we have your application and transcripts, the review process begins. Your application, academic history, and transfer credits will all be evaluated to determine if you meet the requirements for admission to your program of interest. Some programs have additional requirements that are reviewed at this stage.  This detailed process can take several weeks.

During this time, be sure to monitor your MyPennState account to check on the status of your application.

Step 4: Accept Your Offer

You’ll receive a letter in the mail and via your MyPennState account once an admissions decision has been made. If you receive an offer, you can accept it in MyPennState. At that time, you’ll also be directed to establish a Penn State Access Account, which you’ll use to access all Penn State systems as a student. You may then receive future communications about your academic adviser, financial aid, New Student Orientation, and more.

Your new Penn State Access Account will be an important part of your experience as a Penn State student. Keep your credentials secure and handy.  

Step 5: Map a Plan with Your Military Academic Adviser

When you become a Penn State World Campus undergraduate student, you will be partnered with one of our military academic advisers who will assist you throughout your time as student. You’ll first be introduced to your adviser via a welcome email sent to your newly-established Penn State email address. One of the first things you and your adviser will do together is map out an academic plan designed to ensure you enroll in the appropriate courses and stay on track to achieve your education goals.

Getting Started — Graduate Students  

Applying to Penn State is your first step toward earning your graduate certificate, master’s degree, or doctoral degree. Our dedicated admissions team is here to assist you with the process. Please review the information below and then contact our military admissions team with any questions.

As you prepare, please note that graduate application deadlines vary. Be sure to consult the “How to Apply” page for your program(s) of interest.

We recommend that you submit your application as early as possible to avoid potential delays due to questions about your application, missing materials, etc.

Step 1:  Explore Your Benefits

Military education benefits and financial aid impact how you might pay for your education. Even before you apply, be sure to consider all of the options available to you and connect with resources to help you make the right decisions.

  • Review the education benefits and financial aid options described in this website.
  • Follow the steps indicated with each appropriate option.
  • Contact our military admissions team with any questions.
  • Connect with your service branch’s education office for additional assistance.

Step 2:  Apply to Penn State World Campus

Create a Penn State Access Account and submit the online application:

  • Visit the World Campus web page for the program to which you wish to apply. View the “How to Apply” page for detailed instructions on submitting the application and other materials, including transcripts.
  • When you’re ready to begin the application process, click the “Apply Now” button and you’ll be taken to the application page for The Graduate School. Here, you’ll be asked to log into your existing Penn State Access Account or create a new one in order to submit your application.
  • Follow the online process and always feel free to contact our military admissions team with questions.

Step 3: Monitor Your Penn State Access Account

Once your application and materials have been received, the review process begins. The academic department will evaluate your application, academic history, and other items to determine if you meet the admissions requirements to your program of interest.

During this time, be sure to monitor your Penn State Access Account to check on the status of your application.

Step 4: Accept Your Offer

You’ll receive a letter in the mail and via your Penn State Access Account once an admissions decision has been made. If you receive an offer and accept it, you will then be provided instructions for submitting the hard or electronic copy of your official transcripts.

Step 5: Map Your Academic Plan with Your Adviser

When you become a Penn State World Campus graduate student, you will be advised by Penn State faculty from your degree program. You will work with your adviser to plan your path through a program and to help find answers to any academic questions you may have.

Military, Exam and Transfer Credit

Penn State World Campus supports several options to have your military experience, education, and life experiences evaluated for potential academic credit. We encourage you to read the information below and follow the recommended next steps to learn how you might be able to leverage your prior learning and experience.    

Military Credit

If you are a student and a veteran, or a member of the armed forces or the Selected Reserves, you may be granted academic credit for Military Occupational Specialties (MOS), Navy Enlisted Classification (NEC), Marine Corps Enlisted Rating (MCE), or Coast Guard Rating (CGR). Penn State will consider possible credits based upon a transcript from the American Council on Education (ACE) College Credit Recommendation Service. Depending upon your service branch, official transcripts can be requested through the Community College of the Air Force (CCAF) or via the Joint Services Transcript (JST).

Next Steps

Credit by CLEP Exam

Penn State awards credit based upon student performance in the College Board’s College-Level Examination Program (CLEP). This credit-by-examination program enables you to demonstrate mastery of introductory college-level material by earning qualifying scores on any of the 33 examinations. You may be eligible to receive credit for knowledge you've acquired through independent study, prior coursework, on-the-job training, professional development, cultural pursuits, or internships.

CLEP exams are free for eligible military personnel and eligible civilian employees. GI Bill–eligible military veterans who have remaining entitlement can seek reimbursement from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for CLEP exams and fees.

Next Step

Credit by DSST Exam

The DSST program features more than 30 college-level exams that can help you earn college credit for learning acquired outside of the classroom, such as on-the-job training and independent study. The credit must be useful in your program of study.

Your DSST exam costs may be entirely covered through the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) program. GI Bill–eligible military veterans who have remaining entitlement may seek reimbursement from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for DSST exams and fees.

Next Steps

Learn more by visiting Penn State's DSST website.

Transfer Credits

You may be awarded credits for college-level work you’ve completed at regionally accredited institutions. There is no limit to the number of credits that you may transfer into Penn State; however, it is likely that not all of your transferred credit will count toward your intended degree program.

Undergraduate Programs

For students applying to an undergraduate degree program, the academic department in which you enroll will have the final say on what credit can be accepted toward your degree.

Note that you must earn a minimum number of credits from Penn State:

  • To earn an associate degree, 18 of the last 30 credits you earn must be from Penn State.
  • To earn a bachelor’s degree, 36 of the last 60 credits you earn must be from Penn State.
Next Steps

Visit our Admissions Transfer Credit page for additional details. Contact our military admissions team to discuss your circumstances and questions.

Graduate Programs

If you are applying to a World Campus graduate degree program, please contact the academic department that is offering the program to learn more about transfer credits.

In general, a maximum number of credits may be applied to a graduate degree program:

  • 10 credits from graduate coursework completed at an external institution
  • 15 credits from nondegree graduate coursework completed at Penn State
Next Steps

Visit the website of your World Campus graduate program of interest and send your questions to the contact listed. If you have not chosen a program, contact our military admissions team for more information.

Prior Learning Assessment 

Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) is how Penn State determines whether knowledge gained outside of the traditional academic environment is at the college-level and worthy of college-credit. Once you are admitted to Penn State, your military academic adviser can help guide you through the PLA process. Your adviser can also tell you if credits obtained through PLA will apply to your degree program.

Next Steps

Visit Penn State's Prior Learning Assessment website to get more information.