Graduate Admission Requirements and Process

Follow our Graduate Degree Programs link for a complete description of the graduate degrees offered in Architectural Engineering.  Specific admission requirements for each degree program are noted.

The following application requirements pertain to the MEng, MS, and PhD programs. 

(Applications for the Integrated Architectural Engineering Program (MAE) are only accepted from 7th semester Penn State Architectural Engineering undergraduate students.  YOU MUST BE AN UNDERGRADUATE IN THE PENN STATE AE PROGRAM TO APPLY FOR THE MAE DEGREE. Please refer to: for MAE application information.)

  • Effective October 1, 2015, the following are REQUIRED items that must be uploaded online as part of the Graduate School Application:
    • Statement of intentThe statement of intent is used to decide who will review your application for admission and whether Penn State Architectural Engineering is a good match for you.  The statement of intent is also considered in funding decisions.  The statement should clearly identify one of the four option areas (Construction, Lighting/electrical, Mechanical, or Structural) as your primary areas of focus. 

    • Resume.  Applicants are encouraged to include: Education, Research Experience, Professional Experience, Military Experience, Publications, Conference Attendance, Honors/Awards/Scholarships, Professional Society Memberships, Leadership Roles.

    • Three letters of recommendation.  Applicants must enter the contact information for three recommenders. The recommenders will then be electronically notified by the Graduate School regarding how to submit/upload their individual reference evaluation form AND reference letter to the applicant's application. Recommenders should upload the completed form and a letter of recommendation.

    • GRE Scores for M.S. and Ph.D. applicants only: Official scores from the Graduate Record Examination Aptitude Test (GRE), or from a comparable substitute examination accepted by the AE department and authorized by the Dean of the Graduate School, are required for admission. In special circumstances, a student may be admitted provisionally for graduate study without these scores. The department has no established minimum GRE score for applicants.

      GRE Scores: Select "Penn State" (institution code '2660') as your choice for ETS to send your scores to our central mainframe/database. A department code is not required.

    • TOEFL or IELTS scores for international applicants only: All International applicants must take and officially submit scores for the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or the IELTS (International English Language Testing System), with the exceptions noted below.  The minimum acceptable score for the TOEFL is 550 for the paper-based test, 213 for the computer-based test, or a total score of 80 with a 19 on the speaking section for the Internet-based test (iBT).  The minimum composite score for the IELTS is 6.5. In unusual circumstances, applicants with TOEFL iBT speaking scores between 15 and 18 may be considered for provisional admission. This exception can only be considred with a written request from a current AE Graduate Faculty member agreeing to serve as the student's advisor. Students who are granted this exception must meet additional course requirements as noted in the Graduate Degree Programs Bulletin.

    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.

    TOEFL Scores: Select "Penn State"(institution code '2660') as your choice for ETS to send your scores to our central mainframe/database. A department code is not required.

    • Transcripts. Copies of transcripts, degree/study certificates and diplomas in the language of instruction from all institutions of higher education attended, both undergraduate and graduate, should be uploaded online as part of the Graduate School Application. If English is not the language of instruction, copies of all transcripts/documents in the English translation also must be uploaded.

      Beginning November 10, 2014, applicants recommended for admission will be notified by the Graduate School that official/original transcripts/documents and their official English translation must be sent from the originating institutions for review by the Graduate School, in order to finalize an admission decision. Notarized copies are not sufficient. This step is only required after the appication has been reviewed and if the applicant is offered admission.

  • Do NOT send portfolios or any other items not requested above! They are NOT used in evaluating your application.
  • VISA application for international applicants only:  A visa application is not required; however, applicants are encouraged to submit a visa application and supporting documents along with all other required application documents. If the AE Department has received an Application for Visa Documents at the time of acceptance, the issuance of an I-20 will be facilitated.  An I-20 will be sent from the Directorate of International Students & Scholars Advising (DISSA), not the AE Department. More information can be found at:  Any questions regarding the visa or I-20 should be directed to:

Application Timetable

There are two factors to consider when applying:

Application Deadline

    • International students need considerable lead time for all of the paperwork to clear. Therefore, completed applications from international students need to arrive at least four months prior to the expected start date.
    • For resident students, a month of lead time is sufficient.

Financial Aid Deadline

    • Most of those decisions are made for fall admission and need to be received around the first of the year and certainly no later than the first of February for full consideration of University and College awards.
    • Note: Applications received shortly after January 1 have the best opportunity for assistantships.

Notification Timetable

    • Students will be generally be notified of the admission decision by letter within 4-6 weeks after submission of all application materials.  Positive decisions will result in letters from the Graduate School and the Department.  Negative decisions will result in a Department letter.  Applicants should keep their contact information up to date in the Graduate School Admission Portal.
    • Funding offers are sent separate from the admission decision notification.  A majority of these decisions occur in February or March, or perhaps later in the case of a late research award.
    • For the status of your application, please contact Deb Sam:

Additional Information

The application is submitted electronically.
Please send all other requirements to:
Deb Sam
Department of Architectural Engineering
Penn State University
104 Engineering Unit A
University Park, PA 16802