ESE Graduate Admissions:



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.

Where should I send materials not submitted online?

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
Graduate Admissions
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.

I have submitted my application. What is the procedure for admission?

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.

What is the percentage of students admitted to your Department each year? What is the minimum GPA/TOEFL/GRE etc. score required by your Department?

We do not publish details of admission percentages for the very good reason that our admission circumstances change each year, and such statistics would only mislead potential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 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 100. We do not advertise requirements for a minimum combined GRE (general) score for the reasons explained above; however, please note that you must take the exam by the application deadline, and test results must be valid at time of application submission.

I am from a low-income family. Will you waive my application/admission fee?
Unfortunately, we cannot waive fees under any circumstances.
May I apply directly for the Ph.D. degree if I do not already possess a master's degree?
Yes. Ph.D. students who satisfactorily complete the necessary requirements may receive a MSE degree during their education at Penn.
Can you please give me information on the research areas/contact details for faculty in your Department?

The list of ESE faculty is located here. Penn Engineering also maintains a research directory of all faculty appointed within the School.

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.

I am a prospective applicant, and I would like to visit Penn. What is the procedure for arranging a campus tour or visit?

Prospective MSE (EE and SE) applicants planning to visit the Philadelphia area are encouraged to arrange a campus tour using this link.

Prospective PhD applicantsplanning 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.

What's the relationship between ACASA and the Systems Engineering (SE) Graduate Program?
Students in SE should be aware of the activities of the Ackoff Center for Advancement of Systems Approaches (ACASA). The center operates as a think tank in the vanguard of systems approaches, advancing and applying systems sciences and systems thinking and global knowledge and competency resources. One of the principal research thrusts, among others, at ACASA is on how to help distributed human-machine systems (e.g., facilities, organizations, or online communities) to continually adapt and evolve in the presence of complex, emergent environments. To that end we are interested in the interaction of systems at all levels -- mechanical, biological, societal, and ecological -- and in studying and advancing the intersection of machine-, human-, and organizational-learning. If you are interested in doing projects on any of these topics please examine the activities and faculty resources of http://www.acasa.upenn.edu and contact the appropriate faculty member(s).
Can I study for the master's degree on a part-time basis?

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.

Where will I live?
The University offers many options for both on-campus and off-campus housing. For information please visit Penn Residential Services.
How do a obtain or transfer a visa?
Visa matters are handled by the Office of International Programs.
Do you accept CBT (Computer Based Test) GRE scores?
We only accept electronic GRE scores.

Am I eligible to receive financial aid?

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.