The College of Arts and Architecture

International Student Application Process

Welcome to the International Student Page. This information is provided specifically for those applying to Penn State who are not citizens of the United States.

Before applying, international applicants are strongly urged to visit Penn State's international student webpage. This contains the most current information regarding visa applications and financial guarantee requirements, as well as a helpful overview of the international student program.

Program Descriptions

The summaries below are provided to introduce you to our graduate degrees. For the complete program descriptions, please click here and choose the appropriate degree program under "Graduate Degrees."

 - The Master of Music degrees in performance and conducting (M.M.) prepare students to become professional musicians. These degrees also prepare students for doctoral study. Application Major Codes: Performance, Conducting

 - The Master of Music in Composition and Theory (M.M.) is designed for those who wish to improve their composing skills while broadening their theoretical background. Application Major code: Composition-Theory

 - The Master of Music in Pedagogy and Performance degrees in voice or piano (M.M.) offer a curriculum in performance as well as teaching methods and literature. Application Major Code: Pedagogy and Performance

 - The Voice Pedagogy for Musical Theatre degree (M.F.A.) is an interdisciplinary program designed to study the vocal techniques specific to musical theatre performance. The degree is administrated by the School of Theatre. Please click here for further information.

 - The Master of Arts in Music degree (M.A.), with tracks in musicology, music theory, or music theory and history, develops a knowledge of music history of all periods, offers preparation in research and analysis, and combines theoretical, analytical, and historical approaches to music. Application Major Code: Music

 - The Master of Music Education (M.M.E.) provides candidates with a deeper level of musical understanding, increased knowledge and skill in music teaching, and a background in research methods. Application Major Code: Music Education

 - The Ph.D. in music education includes a high level of scholarly study in the processes of teaching and learning music. Candidates will be expected to develop and test new knowledge in the field. Application Major Code: Music Education

 - The Doctor of Musical Arts degree in piano (D.M.A.) develops a thorough background in professional-level performance and in the literature of the instrument and prepares students to teach at the university level. Application Major Code: Piano Performance

English Proficiency

The language of instruction at Penn State is English. All 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.

Acceptable Test Scores

The minimum acceptable score for the TOEFL is 550 for the paper-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, which requires completion of specified remedial English courses ESL 114G (American Oral English for Academic Purposes) and/or ESL 116G (ESL/Composition for Academic Disciplines) and attainment of a grade of B or higher. The minimum acceptable composite score for the IELTS is 6.5. Graduate programs may have more stringent requirements.

Exemptions from English Proficiency Testing

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.

Note: If applying to the M.M.E. or Ph.D. in music education, non-native English speakers must submit a language test score regardless of academic background. 

The following should be submitted to Penn State by the testing agencies at your request.  Select "Penn State University" as the destination for your TOEFL or IELTS scores by selecting the correct school code below:

TOEFL and IELTS scores (international applicants only) - School Code 2660


Applicants are required to scan and upload a copy of the official transcript (or equivalent document e.g., marksheet, record of courses) from all post-secondary institutions attended. These can be ordered and received from the institution registrar's office and must be marked as official. The transcript must be in the official language of the institution attended. If that language is not English, an official English translation needs to be included. Include both sides of non-blank transcript pages.

This document will be considered as unofficial documentation of educational credentials and is used for application review purposes only. The following are NOT acceptable: unofficial transcripts, advising transcripts, transcripts retrieved from your university's student system.

If recommended for admission and accepting the offer, you will be notified by the Graduate School that official transcripts/documents must be sent from the originating institutions in the official language of the institution(s) attended. If that language is not English, an official English translation must also be sent.

The Graduate School will review all official documents to finalize the offer of admission. Offers will be revoked if official/original documents are not received by the Graduate School within specified deadlines, or if these documents differ from the copies uploaded by the applicant at the time of application.

Note: Before uploading any document containing sensitive information such as social security, credit card, or driver's license numbers, be absolutely certain to obscure or hide that information.


Due to strict controls on visas issued to international students studying in the United States, the following deadlines for international applications must be closely followed. These deadlines are earlier than those required for non-international students.

For fall semester admission, applications received by January 31, with audition and/or interview requirements completed by March 1, will be given full consideration for admission and graduate assistantships.  Please note that many areas (i.e. voice) complete their auditions by the end of February.  Applicants for a graduate degree or PPC program in voice require a pre-screening process before an invitation to audition is offered. Pre-screening submission for voice must be received by December 1. Please go to the graduate audition requirements for voice for further instructions.

Ph.D. in Music Education has rolling admission with first priority for funding to applicants who apply prior to February 15Ph.D. applicants are the only applicants eligible for a University Graduate Fellowship nomination by the School of Music.

For spring semester admission, applications received by August 15, with audition and/or interview requirements completed by September 15, will be given full consideration for admission.

Late applications may be considered if space is available.

For more information, please contact:

Irene Kohute, Administrative Support Assistant
School of Music Graduate Admissions
The Pennsylvania State University
233 Music Building
University Park, PA  16802-1901