PSU Mark

Mathematics Department

Graduate Program

Eberly College of Science Mathematics Department

Admissions FAQs

What is the application deadline?
The deadline each year is January 15st.
Is it necessary to have a master's degree before applying to the Ph.D. program?
No, you may apply directly to the Ph.D. program without a master's degree.
Do you offer Spring admissions?
No, our first-year graduate courses designed for Ph.D. qualifying examinations are two-semester courses. Granting Spring admissions would put students at a disadvantage.
Can the application fee be waived?
No, the application fee is a requirement of the Graduate School and the department is not able to waive this fee.
Can you send me a paper application?
No, paper applications are no longer accepted by the Graduate School. Applications must be submitted electronically.
Do you supply / require forms for letters of recommendation?
No, we request plain text letters from your recommenders.
Are you able to grant provisional admission if my TOEFL score is too low?
No, the TOEFL is a requirement of the Graduate School. A low TOEFL is not accepted by the International Student Services office when preparing visa documents.
Is the Math Subject GRE required?
Yes, both the general and the Math Subject GRE are required.
What are the minimum GRE scores accepted?
We do not have a minimum score requirement. Listed below are the average scores of students accepted to our program for the last several years. Year V Q AW Subject
Year V Q A AW* Subject
2013 158 166   3.5 822
2012 156 165   3.78 834
2011 531 796   3.8 781
2010 551 787   3.9 774
2009 360 800   3.0 720
2008 507 775   4.0 677
2007 524 783   4.0 794
2006 510 779 705 4.0  
2005 570 783 733 5.0 814
2004 540 792 770 3.81 776
2003 556 758 729 4.0 654
2002 585 770 682   718
2001 542 778 637   890
2000 554 772 673   844
What is the minimum TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System) score accepted?

This is a Graduate School requirement, and the minimum scores are:

TOEFL: 550 (paper test)
213 (computer-based test)
80-19 on the speaking section (internet-based test)
IELTS: 6.5

Listed below are the average scores of students admitted to our program for the last several years.

Year Internet-based Paper Computer-Based
2013 99    
2012 88    
2011 95    
2010 95    
2009 100    
2008 98   255
2007   618  
2006    
2005  606 262
2004  611 258
2003  611 258
2002  585  
2001  608  
2000  587 240
What is the minimum TSE score required?

There is no minimum score required for the TSE—the ratings used here at Penn State are listed below.

Score Proficiency Code Requirement
55-60 NR May teach with no restrictions
45-50 WR Must enroll in ESL118G
ESL for Teaching Assistants II
35-40 TC Must enroll in ESL117G
ESL for Teaching Assistants I
20-30 SL Must enroll in ESL115G
ESL: Speaking / Listening

Please note that if the TSE is taken before arrival, incoming students are required to take the Penn State American English Oral Communicative Proficiency Exam upon arrival.

What is the minimum GPA required?
While the Graduate School does not require a minimum GPA, it is generally expected that an applicant maintain a junior / senior GPA of 2.50 for admissions. The Department of Mathematics does not have a minimum score required. Listed below are the average GPAs of students admitted to our program for the last several years.
Year GPA
2013 3.89
2012 3.83
2011 3.62
2010 3.80
2009 3.67
2008 3.68
2007 3.74
2006 3.52
2005 3.75
2004 3.70
2003 3.65
2002 3.68
2001 3.74
2000 3.75
May I apply to more than one graduate program?
No, the Graduate School does not permit students to apply to more than one program at a time.
I already have a Ph.D. in another area. May I apply to obtain a Ph.D. in a different area?

No, the Graduate School has a policy against granting second doctorates as follows:

The Graduate School does not admit applicants to concurrent double Ph.D. degree programs, D.Ed. degree programs, or concurrent Ph.D. and D.Ed. programs. In general, the Graduate School discourages the pursuit of a second Ph.D. or D.Ed. degree. However, if an applicant who holds either of these degrees requests admission to a second doctoral degree program (either Ph.D. or D.Ed.), the applicant is asked to give the Graduate School the reason why the second doctorate is necessary (as opposed to taking course work or a master's degree in the second field). The Graduate School may then solicit responses concerning the necessity of a second doctorate from representatives of the field at Penn State or elsewhere. This information is then given to the Dean of the Graduate School for the final decision. If approved, all Graduate School requirements for the second doctorate must be met de novo.

The justification for a second doctorate must be submitted to the Graduate School for consideration—this is not a decision for the Department of Mathematics.