How to Apply to Graduate Programs

Prospective candidates should familiarize themselves with the entrance requirements of the program to which they are applying:

When applying, please be sure to provide all documents necessary for the application process.

Entrance Requirements

Both the M.S. and Ph.D. programs share the following entrance requirements:

  1. A minimum of a 3.0 grade-point average (on a 4.0 scale) for the junior and senior years of undergraduate study
  2. A minimum of one year work experience in the hospitality industry
  3. A résumé
  4. Three letters of reference
  5. A written statement of objectives for undertaking graduate study, with an indication of desired career and research focus (autobiographical statement)
  6. A completed Graduate School application
  7. A completedHM Special Application for Admission and Financial Assistance
  8. A Recent TOEFL score (International students only); score of 550 minimum required. Penn State accepts the TOEFL iBT with a minimum score of 80 (the minimum speaking score is 19).
  9. A personal/Skype interview with members of the graduate faculty

Application Deadline

The application deadline for admission to the fall semester is December 15 of each preceding year.

Application Process

Step 1

If you are ready to proceed to the application but have NOT read the Graduate School requirements, please visit that website at

Apply online at the Graduate School at Penn State.

IMPORTANT: The following documents must be completed in addition to the official Graduate School application above. Once you apply online, you will use the reference form provided by the Graduate School. You will also upload the HM Special Application for Admission and Financial Assistance form within the Graduate School application process.

  • HM Letters of Reference Form (this is not a .pdf but rather a form on the Web provided by the Graduate School).
  • HM Special Application for Admission and Financial Assistance(will be uploaded during the application process)
  • Three letters of reference (uploaded during application process)
  • Resume (uploaded during application process)

Step 1a

Please attach Generated Fee Form after completing the electronic application if you did not pay by credit card.

Step 2

Mail the following items to the School of Hospitality Management, 201 Mateer Building, University Park, PA 16802:

  1. Two official transcripts from all institutions of higher education attended, both undergraduate and graduate
  • International applicants must submit official or attested university records, with certified translations if the records are not in English; submit two official copies of transcripts in both English and native language. (Use Penn State's Transcript Request link)
  • Notarized copies are not sufficient
  • Submit two official copies, for international students, of either a diploma or graduation certificate, in both English and native language.

2. Standardized test scores

Applicants interesting in finding out the status of their applications can find more information on the Graduate School Portal.

Financial Support

Several forms of financial support are available for graduate students in HM. These include assistantships, fellowships, student loans, grants-in-aid, and wage payroll. Graduate assistantships are funded both through the university and faculty research grants. A small number of supplemental funding opportunities are available each year for teaching. For more information on financial support, visit the Graduate School.