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

Degree Admission

Admission to the Graduate School at Penn State to pursue a graduate degree requires that prospective students select a specific graduate program (field of study) and graduate degree (e.g., Ph.D., M.S., M.Ed., M.B.A., etc.), and submit all application materials required for that graduate degree program, in addition to the University-wide requirements of the Graduate School. Graduate School admission requirements include:

  1. the submission of a completed, online Graduate School Application for Admission;
  2. payment of the non-refundable graduate application fee;
  3. submission of copies of official transcripts/documents (for institutions outside the U.S. documents may include marksheets, record of courses, degree/study certificate, original diploma, etc) from all post-secondary institutions attended and official English translation if the language of instruction is not English);
  4. submission of official TOEFL or IELTS scores for international applicants (with the exceptions noted in the Requirements for Graduate Admission); and,
  5. if admission is offered and accepted, receipt by the Graduate School of official transcripts (or international equivalent as stated above) from all post-secondary institutions attended, together with an official English translation of all official documents if the language of instruction was not English.

The Graduate School confirms eligibility for admission of all graduate degree applicants, while programs select and recommend applicants for offers of admission. Final approval of admission to all graduate degree programs lies with the Graduate School.

An applicant may apply to only one graduate degree program and campus at a time. The Graduate School will not consider concurrent applications for admission to more than one graduate degree program and does not act upon an application without a program's recommendation to offer admission. If more than one degree application is submitted, only the most recently submitted application will be reviewed. Individuals who already hold a doctorate are discouraged from applying for a second doctoral degree (see Policy on Second Doctorates).

The Graduate School will review all official documents to finalize the offer of admission. An offer of admission will be revoked if official transcripts/documents are not received by the Graduate School within specified deadline(s), or if official transcripts/documents differ in any substantive way from the copies uploaded by the applicant prior to the offer of admission. However, for applicants whose degree conferral is in progress at the time of uploading copies of transcripts/documents, the deadline specified for receipt of official transcripts/documents will allow for the passage of the reported date of degree conferral, and that conferral must be confirmed on the official transcripts/documents received by the Graduate School, in order for the offer of admission to be finalized. If at any time, including after an applicant has enrolled in the Graduate School and commenced coursework, it is discovered that false information, omissions, and/or misstatements are made in an application – including but not limited to the uploading of copies of transcripts that differ in any substantive way from the official transcripts/ documents – admission, registration, and credit(s) for course work completed may be voided, and information relating to the false information, omissions, and/or misstatements may be distributed to other academic institutions, governmental agencies, and/or other third parties.

To apply to a graduate degree program at Penn State, review the instructions on the respective program's website. A list of degree program websites may be found on the Graduate Programs of Study webpage. The website of each graduate program will direct you to the Graduate School online application.

Individuals applying for Level I Instructional, Supervisory, Educational Specialist, and Administrative certification issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Education upon the recommendation of the University must apply using the degree application and choose "Pennsylvania Educators Level I Certification" as the degree selection. Additional information regarding certification may be found at The Penn State College of Education or by calling (814) 865-0488.

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)
  • Submit official copies of GRE or GMAT score

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.