FAQs

What is the application deadline?
The deadline each year is December 30th.
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?
Yes, under special circumstances we may be able to waive the fee. Please contact gradstudies@math.psu.edu to request this.
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.
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 speak 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
2019 100.91    
2018 89.75    
2017 104.17    
2016 96    
2015 101    
2014 96    
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
 
Incoming students whose first language is not English 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
2019 3.70
2018 3.70
2017 3.78
2016 3.65
2015 3.75
2014 3.65
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?

The Graduate School discourages the pursuit of a second doctorate:

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.