Information for Admitted Students

Congratulations on being selected to join the School of International Affairs at Penn State University!  Over the coming weeks, you will hear from our faculty and staff, and we encourage you to contact us with any questions you may have.  This website is a good resource for you as you finalize your decision by April 30th.   

Accepting Your Offer
Please take the following steps to accept your offer to the School of International Affairs by April 30th:
1. Accept your offer through the application portal.  This website will notify you of any documentation you must send such as final transcripts, degrees, etc. You may also use the portal to decline your offer. 
2. Pay your $400 non-refundable deposit online (preferred) or via mail.  If submitting by mail, please send a check made out to Penn State University (no cash) and a copy of your offer letter to:
Director of Admissions
122C Lewis Katz Building
University Park, PA  16802

Open House
We invite you to attend our open house for admitted students from Sunday, April 9 – Tuesday, April 11.  Hotel accommodations will be provided for you both nights, and you can receive up to $400 for travel reimbursement.  Please view the agenda for additional information and register online no later than Friday, March 31st.  Spaces are limited, so please reserve your spot as soon as possible!  

Connect with Current SIA Students
Do you have questions about what's like to be an SIA student?  We encourage you to contact our student ambassadors about classes, experiences, or anything else you might be wondering!
Financial Aid and Costs
If you are eligible for a merit-based scholarship, this information will be a part of your offer of admission.  Whether you are a scholarship recipient or not, we encourage you to pursue all financial aid resources when considering your costs.
Veterans Affairs
If you are a current or former member of the United States Military, we encourage you to contact Penn State's Office of Veterans Programs about any educational benefits and resources that may be available to you.  You can read about military members enrolled in SIA on our website.
The SIA curriculum provides you with a firm foundation of knowledge through our core curriculum during the first year of the program while also giving you the ability to personalize your degree through optional concentrations, the ability to create your own concentration, and other electives.
Language Proficiency
SIA has a 15-credit language proficiency.  Every student has a different situation, so please be sure to review our website to determine how you will meet the requirement.  This must be fulfilled in order to graduate. We will remain in touch with you through the summer about this requirement. Please note - if you will be starting the proficiency from scratch, you'll likely want to plan to take a language course in the fall to allow enough time to complete the proficiency while at Penn State.    

Our students may elect to live either on- or off-campus.  On-campus housing is not guaranteed for graduate students but is available on a first-come, first-serve basis.  Many of our students elect to live off-campus. We've complied this guide to apartment complexes in State College for your reference. The Office of Off-Campus Living may also be useful when trying to locate a rental property.  Some students use Craigslist or other State College rental websites.  SIA is glad to offer our opinion or assistance when deciding on a rental property but cannot be involved with the leasing process.     

Registering for Classes, Penn State email, etc.
In order to activate your Penn State access/email account, you must accept the offer and then receive the final offer of admission from the Graduate School.  Once these steps are taken, notifications will be sent to the email address you provided on your application with instructions on how to activate your access account.  This will be your primary student account while with Penn State, so be sure to remember your ID and password. 

Penn State is currently transitioning student systems and debuted a new program called LionPATH in Spring 2016.  This will be the system you use to register for courses, amongst many other things. You will be given access to it as it becomes available to new students.  Your typical course load for the Fall will be our core curriculum plus one additional elective or language course.  Our academic and faculty advisers can help you select the appropriate elective course.     

Advising is a three-tier process at SIA.  Our academic advisor is available to discuss degree requirements, optional concentrations, etc.  You will also be assigned a faculty advisor based on your academic interests.  This faculty advisor will be a good resource when choosing your capstone experience, considering career fields, etc.  Finally, our director of career services will be available to help with resume building, your job search, internship placement and so much more.  You can expect to hear from our various advisors and faculty in the coming weeks. 

Campus Transportation and Parking
If you live on-campus, you can discuss parking availability when you sign your lease.

If you live off-campus, you will be eligible to receive a commuter parking pass during your first year in SIA.  The closest commuter lots are a 15-minute walk to Katz.  In your second year, you may enter a lottery to receive a parking pass for the Katz Building.  Parking maps and rates can be found online.

The University Park campus can be easily navigated by utilizing campus transit options.  The campus shuttle, as well as the loop/link bus, is free to use.  The campus bus system is operated by Centre Area Transportation Authority (CATA).  They provide bus service throughout the community and surrounding areas.  You may pay-per-ride or purchase a bus pass

You may also enjoy biking or walking through campus.  More information can be found online

The Town of State College    
The campus of University Park and the town of State College are separated by one street which means their relationship is quite strong!  State College offers a variety of shops, dining, and community events that make it a welcoming town for students and families.  Visit or the Central Pennsylvania Convention & Visitors Bureau for information about the area.   
Important Dates
April 30 - Deposits due
July 21-31 - Summer academic advising hours available. Email SIA Academic Adviser Claudia Prieto at
August 11 - Graduate International Student Orientation is required for all international students. Plan to arrive by Thursday, August 10, 2017, and direct any questions about this event to the Office of Global Programs.  
August 16 - New Graduate Student Orientation is hosted by the Penn State Graduate School. This event is not required but is highly suggested and very informative. Orientation is 1:00 - 5:00 p.m., with a reception immediately following from 5:00 - 6:30 p.m. in the Bryce Jordan Center.
August 17 and 18 - SIA Orientation required for all new SIA students; additional required Orientation sessions will be scheduled in the first four weeks of the semester.
August 21 - First day of classes
August 25 - SIA Resource Fair, Alumni Career Panel, Welcome Picnic
August 31 - Group Academic Advising Workshop, 4 - 5:30 p.m., 114 Katz
Sept 7 - Professional Development Workshop, 4 - 5:30 p.m., 114 Katz
Sept 14 - Academic Integrity and Graduate Writing Workshop, 4 - 5:30 p.m., 114 Katz
Sept 28 - International Student Success Workshop, 12:00 - 1:30 p.m., 114 Katz, co-hosted by EPPIC