Graduate Program Admissions FAQ
Below is a list of Frequently Asked Questions regarding graduate admissions. Potential applicants should also visit the Graduate Admissions FAQ provided by the School.
Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit all application materials with their online application. If you need to submit a hard copy of a document, it should be sent to:
University of Pennsylvania
School of Engineering & Applied Science
111 Towne Building
220 S. 33rd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6391
Please do not send any materials directly to the ESE Department. If you do this you will merely delay the processing of your application and will increase the likelihood of materials being lost.
Applicants are officially notified by email when their application materials are received and are informed if any materials are missing. Because of the large number of applications to be processed around deadlines, there can be some delay in responding to applicants' queries and we ask that they be patient. It is not necessary to contact the Department directly to request application status information.
When a completed application is received, it is evaluated promptly by our faculty. An admit/reject decision in each case will be made and the candidate will be informed by email of this decision. Those Ph.D. students who have been granted financial aid will receive an additional letter informing them of this.
We do not publish details of admission percentages, for the very good reason that our admission circumstances change each year and such statistics would only mislead potential students. As a general rule, competition for admission to Penn is very competitive, and candidates should be aware of this before submitting an application.
We do not discuss the exact criteria for admission with students because no such exact criteria exist. Admittance is based on proven excellence in academic studies, an estimate of the applicant's ability to successfully complete our graduate program, and on the compatibility of student interests with our programs and research. As a general rule we advise students who wish to be competitive candidates to submit a minimum TOEFL score of 600/250 (paper based/computer based) and a combined GRE (general) score of 2160. However, we stress that these are guidelines only and that possession or lack of possession of such scores will not necessarily determine your admission to ESE.
As a general rule we do not encourage applicants to directly contact faculty members with general admissions-related inquiries. All of our faculty review applications to their appropriate research areas, and if they are interested in your application then they will contact you to discuss this. However, if you are interested in visiting a faculty member at Penn then you can discuss the details with them directly. We encourage applicants who are able to visit Philadelphia to come to the campus and see our facilities and researchers.
Prospective MSE (EE and SE) applicants planning to visit the Philadelphia area are encouraged to arrange a University of Pennsylvania campus tour. Unfortunately, due to the volume of applicants for the MSE programs, we cannot arrange special tours or visits.
Prospective PhD applicants planning to visit the area are also encouraged to arrange a University of Pennsylvania campus tour and to contact the Graduate Coordinator about their visit date and interests. The department can not guarantee faculty availability, so please notify the Graduate Coordinator before planning your visit and with adequate notice.
Students not requiring a visa are eligible to study part-time. Many of our students have completed master's and doctoral degrees by working part-time. However, please bear in mind the following:
Our evening classes usually begin no later than 4.30pm on weekdays;
We do not offer weekend classes;
Graduate students are required to register for a minimum of one course unit per regular semester in order to remain associated with the Department. International students must maintain a full-time status every semester unless eligible for a Reduced Course Load.
Master's students at Penn generally receive no aid. Our master's students typically are self-funding, with many students securing funds independently through student loans, external scholarships or employer/government sponsorships.
Ph.D. students generally are admitted with offers of full tuition and a living stipend, unless they are externally funded (as by a corporation or government). Please bear in mind that competition for PhD admission is extremely steep.
For more information and funding resources, visit Student Financial Services.