International Applicants

Overview of requirements for international applicants to the Penn State Smeal MBA Program.

The Smeal MBA program values the diversity of our student population with candidates and alumni from around the world. We recognize that the cross-cultural insights and unique perspectives of our international students strengthen our community and enhance the learning environment. With special programming and workshops designed for the unique needs of our international candidates, we are committed to helping you transition to the Smeal MBA community and prepare for your future career.

Admission Requirements for International Students

For international applicants to the Penn State Smeal MBA Program, the multi-step application process includes additional requirements:

  • Official English Language Proficiency Exam Scores: Official test scores must be submitted directly from the testing agency. 
  • Visa Application: The Penn State Office of Global Programs will begin to process your i-20 and visa application after you are admitted to the program and have paid your enrollment deposit. 

United States GPA Conversion Tables

If your school does not follow the 4.0 grading scale, provide an estimate in the GPA section of the application. You can then enter your unconverted GPA in the section titled "Optional Clarification Statement, Additional Information, GPA and Test Score Clarification."


Only the equivalent of a four-year U.S. bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution can be considered for admission into Penn State. Official transcripts must be submitted from each educational institution attended. Transcripts are reviewed for course content, academic performance, and trends in academic progress. Transcripts may be digitally duplicated and submitted online for the purposes of initial application review, but originals must follow.

International applicants whose transcripts are not in English should submit both the originals as well as translated transcripts along with an official copy of the bachelor's degree and graduation certificate. Contact the Penn State Graduate School to determine if your degree is equivalent to a U.S. four-year baccalaureate degree before submitting an application.

Applicants from India who have completed a four-year bachelor's degree or the master's degree examinations following a three-year bachelor's degree are eligible to apply. Those completing the Chartered Accountancy final examination and awarded an Associate Membership (following a three-year bachelor's degree) are also eligible. Three-year bachelor's degrees followed by a post-graduate diploma may be acceptable if the diploma program is one year full-time in length and offered by an Indian University that is recognized by the Association of Indian Universities. Professional programs offered by external organizations are not eligible.

The Graduate School at Penn State will not review academic credentials of a prospective student until an application is officially submitted. If you feel strongly about having your credentials verified before completing and submitting your application, you may have your credentials reviewed by Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE). Approval from ECE will assure you are academically eligible for not only our program, but most other U.S. Institutions as well. Please note the Penn State Graduate School does not accept credential reviews from World Education Services (WES)--only reviews done by ECE.

English Proficiency Exams

All international applicants must take either The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), regardless of educational medium of instruction or native language. Exemptions to this requirement are only given if the candidate:

  • has received an in-residence degree from a U.S. college or university.
  • has received an in-residence degree from a college or university 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, and Wales.
  • is a U.S. Permanent Resident.


The Penn State Smeal MBA TOEFL code is 2660

Minimum required scores:

  • Internet-Based: 80
  • Speaking Section: 19
  • Paper-based test (taken prior to July 2017): 550
  • Paper-based test (taken July 2017 or later): a combined total of the 3 sections evaluated must be 60 or greater 

IELTS (Academic Test)

The Penn State Smeal MBA IELTS code is 2660

Minimum required score: 6.5

If you are having your IELTS scores mailed after having taken the exam, please use the following address:

The Pennsylvania State University
Graduate Enrollment Services
114 Kern Building
University Park, PA 16802

International applicants are exempt from the TOEFL/IELTS requirement who have received a baccalaureate or a master's 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.

Please note that specific graduate plans of study may require all international applicants to submit a TOEFL or IELTS score, regardless of their academic background and country of origin.

Visa Materials

The U.S. Department of State requires that international applicants provide evidence of sufficient funds to cover all expenses for at least one calendar year before a visa will be issued. The amount required this year is $68,000 USD. For the most current figures, additional information, or special assistance, visit the Financial section of the Penn State Office of Global Programs website. You may also call or write:

Office of Global Programs
The Pennsylvania State University
410 Boucke Building
University Park, PA 16802-5900
Phone: US 814-865-6348

Additional Resources