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Master of Philosophy in Organizational Dynamics Application Overview

Admissions and eligibility

Admission to the Master of Philosophy (MPhil) in Organizational Dynamics degree is available only to individuals who have previously completed a Master of Science in Organizational Dynamics degree at Penn, or an equivalent master's degree program. The rigorous Master of Philosophy thesis demonstrates a further degree of dedication to and expertise in your chosen field and serves as an ideal tool for demonstrating the quality of your research and writing skills to potential PhD programs.

COVID-19 and admissions reviews 

Recognizing the challenges of teaching, learning, and assessing academic performance during the global COVID-19 pandemic, Penn’s admissions committees for graduate and professional programs will take the significant disruptions of the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020 into account when reviewing students’ transcripts and other admissions materials as part of their regular practice of performing individualized, holistic reviews of each applicant. In particular, as we review applications now and in the future, we will respect decisions regarding the adoption of Pass/Fail and other grading options during the period of COVID-19 disruptions. An applicant will not be adversely affected in the admissions process if their academic institution implemented a mandatory pass/fail (or similar) system for the term or if the applicant chose to participate in an optional pass/fail (or similar) system for the term. Penn’s longstanding commitment remains to admit graduate and professional student cohorts composed of outstanding individuals who demonstrate the resilience and aptitude to succeed in their academic pursuits.

Application deadlines

You may apply to begin Master of Philosophy studies during the fall, spring or summer terms. Your application portfolio, including all transcripts, must be received by the following deadlines:

Admission Cycle Deadline
Spring 2021 December 1, 2020
Summer 2021 May 1, 2021
Fall 2021 August 15, 2021

Start your application now

Applications for the Master of Science in Organizational Dynamics program are accepted on a rolling basis, meaning that applications are acted upon throughout the year whenever they are received. Applicants may be invited to personally interview with the program staff.

Application materials checklist

Applicants who have completed the Master of Science in Organizational Dynamics within four years of applying to the Master of Philosophy program may omit some requirements, as noted below.

Since all required supporting documents are submitted through the online application system, hardcopy material other than official transcripts or letters of recommendation will not be accepted.* Please urge your recommenders to submit their letters through the online system. Please note that all application materials become the property of the University of Pennsylvania and will not be returned. Remember to retain a personal copy of your application.

Applications must contain all of the following in order to be considered complete:

*Unsolicited material will not be used for review.

  • Completed online application
  • Current resume or curriculum vitae (CV)
  • Nonrefundable application fee
  • Application essays, listed below
  • Unofficial transcripts from each post-secondary school attended uploaded through the online application system
  • Three letters of recommendation (details below)
  • English proficiency test scores for international students

NOTE: For an applicant who has completed the Master of Science in Organizational Dynamics within four years of applying to the Master of Philosophy: the letters of recommendation and the undergraduate transcripts are not required. Type “already received for MSOD” in the sections of the online application where this information is requested. All other materials, including the application fee, are required.

Master of Philosophy application essays

Your application will include essays addressing the following topics. Please compile all essays together in one document. Number your essays clearly and begin each essay on a separate page. Responses may be as long or as short as you feel necessary. The equivalent of approximately one to three pages (250-750 words) is a general range. Each essay should demonstrate your writing skills, critical thinking, initiative and motivation, planning and organizational skills, creativity and flexibility.

  • Write an essay that presents your reasons for applying to the Organizational Dynamics graduate studies program. Include factors, personal and professional, that influenced your career decisions and describe future goals you hope to attain by completing studies at Penn. Indicate why you believe the time for you to pursue this degree is now.
  • Describe a personal achievement or experience that had a significant impact on your life. Describe or analyze how the achievement or experience changed your understanding of yourself or your perception of others.
  • (Optional) If you believe your undergraduate or graduate transcripts submitted do not present an accurate picture of your anticipated performance in Organizational Dynamics, please write an additional essay explaining why.

Letters of recommendation

Each applicant will submit three letters of recommendation. Letters should come from individuals in a position to evaluate your professional and/or academic work, such as a supervisor or professor, and who know of your desire to enter the Organizational Dynamics program. Recommendations may be submitted online (preferred) or by mail. For online recommendations, please follow the instructions in the Recommendations section of the online application.

Standardized test scores

International applicants whose first language is not English must also submit Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores to demonstrate English proficiency. If the medium of instruction for your undergraduate degree was English, you may request to waive the TOEFL requirement by sending an email to dynamics@sas.upenn.edu. Please note that the TOEFL is rarely waived; therefore, we encourage applicants to take the test to avoid delays in completing the application. The minimum TOEFL scores required for admissions consideration are 100 (iBT), 250 (CBT) or 600 (PBT). The TOEFL must be sent from ETS using the institutional code 2986. To locate a testing site near you or schedule an exam, visit the TOEFL website.

Flexibility for international applicants: We recognize that there may be limited testing opportunities for the GRE, GMAT, IELTS, and TOEFL exams in your home country and some applicants will not be able to report scores by the application deadline. If this pertains to you, we encourage you to complete the application to the best of your ability and to include a supplemental statement that explains your circumstances. Your information will be provided to the appropriate admissions committee and your admissions decision will be based on the materials available at the time of review. Please note, the College of Liberal and Professional Studies is accepting at-home GRE and TOEFL test scores and the IELTS Indicator exam scores through the 2020-2021 admissions year. Please visit the specific standardized testing websites for exam options in your home country.

Upon review of an applicant's file, the Admissions Committee reserves the right to request TOEFL scores.

International transcripts from institutions outside the United States

If your post-secondary credentials are from an institution outside the US, you must submit all post-secondary credentials (undergraduate and graduate) to World Education Services Inc. (WES), a third-party verification agency, for a course-by-course evaluation.

World Education Services Inc. (WES) must complete a course-by-course evaluation of all post-secondary credentials. The course-by-course evaluation should include the comparability level of your education and list each of your courses along with the equivalent U.S. marks and credit. Please select the WES basic course-by-course evaluation (with GPA and course levels) and request that WES send your evaluation to Penn College of Liberal and Professional Studies Admissions. The school can be found by searching the University of Pennsylvania and then selecting College of Liberal and Professional Studies. The evaluation becomes an official academic record and sole property of the University upon its receipt.

World Education Services Inc. evaluations will be reviewed by our administrators, and the determination of degree equivalency to US degrees is at the discretion of the College of Liberal and Professional Studies. For additional information about the WES application and their review process, please visit the WES website.

Contact us

Have any questions about the Organizational Dynamics programs? Reach out to our program or enrollment teams for a one-on-one discussion.

Looking for financial assistance?

Learn about the options at Penn.

Student & alumni stories

"Students in Organizational Dynamics receive far more than knowledge, tools and skills; the program has a potential to transform an individual from the inside out." - Inam Ur-Rahman, MPHIL ‘15