M.I.A. Admissions

Welcome to the Penn State School of International Affairs! We offer a rich and extensive curriculum that allows you to pursue a flexible, interdisciplinary master's degree tailored to your individual career goals. Our student body comes from a wide array of backgrounds, interests, and disciplines, representing many different countries from around the world. Some of our students are recent graduates, others are mid-career professionals and others are concurrently pursuing degrees in another of Penn State's top graduate or professional programs.

The program has expanded rapidly since its inaugural class in 2008, but we continue to prioritize close connections and ensure that our students receive personal attention from our expert faculty. If your plan is to be a leader in the 21st century in international politics, law, agriculture, business, government, science, or the public sector, we strongly encourage you to apply.

Our application for fall 2020 is now open.

Apply Online


  • September 1: Application opens
  • February 15: Deadline to apply for merit-based financial aid
  • March 21: Final application deadline

Application Requirements

To be considered for admission into the School of International Affairs, all applicants must complete the Graduate School's online application, which includes:

  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Current Resume or CV
    • Please be sure to include any experience with foreign language and international travel
  • Copies of official transcripts from all previous institutions*
  • Official GRE Score report, school code 2660 (LSAT acceptable for J.D./M.I.A. applicants)
  • A Statement of Purpose that details:
    • the applicant's academic/vocational background and goals
    • any international/intercultural interests, experiences, or training
    • an area or areas of interest on which the applicant wishes to focus while in the program
    • any type of internship and job placement the applicant hopes to achieve during and after enrollment in the program
    • the applicant's specialized skills (language proficiency, research, etc….)
    • the applicant as a person/student and why they are a good candidate for admission to the School of International Affairs
    • No required length, but an average statement of purpose is 2 pages double-spaced.  

Please note: International applicants are required to submit English proficiency test scores, unless they are from one of the countries listed as "exempt" on The Graduate School's English Proficiency page.

If you are required to submit TOEFL or IELTS scores, you must have the minimum scores listed below, in order to be considered for admission:

  • A minimum score of 6.5 on the IELTS
    • Results mailed to The Graduate School 114 Kern Building University Park, PA  16802


  • A minimum TOEFL score of —
    • 550 from the Paper-based test, or
    • 80 from the Internet-based test (applicants with a score of 19 or higher on the speaking sub-section will be considered for admission, though a score of 23 or higher is desirable)
    • Results electronically sent from ETS to Penn State's school code 2660
  • International applicants also need to submit the following if they are admitted into the program and accept the offer:
    1. Two official English versions of your transcripts along with two official transcripts in your native language
    2. Any official certificates of completion or graduation (not the diploma itself), if such documents are normally issued by universities in your country 
      (Again, these must be submitted in English as well as your native language.)
  • Finally, for admission to the Graduate School, applicants must have received a four-year baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution earned under residence and credit conditions substantially equivalent to those required by The Pennsylvania State University.

Please direct any admissions questions to admissions@sia.psu.edu.  Additionaly, the Graduate School Web site will provide you with more details about the application.  

As part of the online application process, applicants are required to electronically upload copies of transcripts (or equivalent documents for institutions outside the U.S., e.g., degree/study certificates, diplomas, etc.) from all post-secondary institutions attended, in the language of instruction (and copies of an official English translation if English is not the language of instruction).  Applicants recommended for admission who accept an offer through the online graduate admission system will be notified by the Graduate School that official/original transcripts/documents must be sent from the originating institutions in the official language of the institution(s) attended (and if the language of instruction is not English, an official English translation must also be sent).  The Graduate School will review all official documents to finalize the offer of admission. An offer of admission will be revoked if official/original documents are not received by the Graduate School within specified deadlines, or if official/original documents differ from the copies uploaded by the applicant prior to the offer of admission.  For applicants whose degree conferral is in progress at the time of uploading copies, the deadline specified for receipt of official/original documents will allow for the passage of the reported date of degree conferral, and that conferral must be confirmed on the official/original documents received by the Graduate School, in order for the offer of admission to be finalized.