Penn LPS COVID-19 Update
LPS staff are not onsite, but we are still available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. by phone and online in case you need support: (215) 898-7326 or lps@sas.upenn.edu. Visit coronavirus.upenn.edu, the University's dedicated coronavirus COVID-19 web page, for the latest updates. Penn LPS is ensuring that all students have access to the support they need. Visit our Current LPS Students page for more details.
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Admissions and Eligibility

The Master of Liberal Arts program (MLA) is designed for individuals from a variety of backgrounds and requires no specific prerequisite courses. However, for your admission to the program, it is necessary that you have previous coursework in the liberal arts and evidence of preparedness for graduate-level work, such as independent research and writing experience.

Applicants must hold either a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited US institution. International students should make sure that their degree is the equivalent of a four-year degree in the US. Successful applicants to the Master of Liberal Arts program must possess at least a 3.0 grade point average in their undergraduate studies.

Standardized tests such as the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) are not generally required when applying for the Master of Liberal Arts. However, you may choose to submit standardized test scores in support of your application. Most international applicants are required to demonstrate English proficiency via Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores.

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 and deadlines

The first step toward earning your Master of Liberal Arts degree at Penn is completing the online application. 

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

Regular admission deadlines

Admission Cycle Deadline
Spring 2021 November 1, 2020
Summer 2021 April 1, 2021
Fall 2021 July 1, 2021

International student admission deadlines

Admission Cycle Deadline
Spring 2021 October 1, 2020
Summer 2021 March 1, 2021
Fall 2021 June 1, 2021

Start your application now

Applications for the Master of Liberal Arts program are accepted on a rolling basis. Candidates under serious consideration are invited to interview with a member of the Admissions Committee on campus or remotely.

You may experience delays in the processing and review of your application due to the COVID-19 virus. We will work with any applicant who is missing documents due to testing delays and closings. Our team may be reached Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Please contact us if you have questions at (215) 746-6905 or lps-admissions@sas.upenn.edu.

Individualized curriculum

With Penn's MLA program, you design a curriculum centering on a particular theme that interests you.

Want to know more?

Join us this fall for one of our virtual information sessions to hear more about the program, curriculum, and application process.

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