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Application Overview

The spring 2021 International Guest Student Program will be delivered entirely online.

International Guest application deadlines

You may apply to begin your studies during the fall or spring terms. (If you plan to study during the summer term, please apply to the Penn Global Summer Institute.) Your application portfolio, including all transcripts, must be received by the following deadlines:

Admission Cycle Deadline
Spring 2021 December 4, 2020
Fall 2021 June 1, 2021

Start your application now

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

Application materials checklist

Since all required supporting documents are submitted through the online application system, hardcopy material other than official transcripts will not be accepted. 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.

Due to the impact of COVID-19 and remote work assignments, to complete your application file, please submit all supporting admissions documents electronically to PDF or JPG files/documents are acceptable. Admissions documents sent by mail or courier service will be processed periodically by the LPS Admissions Office staff due to limited in-office hours.

Unsolicited material will not be used for review.

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

  • Completed online application
  • Institutional supporting materials: official transcripts
  • Application essays, listed below
  • Letter of recommendation
  • TOEFL or IELTS standardized test scores  (if not a native English speaker)
  • Nonrefundable application fee

Institutional supporting materials

The following materials must be sent directly to the College of Liberal and Professional Studies office from the individual or organization responsible for authenticating the content (not from the student).

  • Official transcripts from each college and/or university attended, with English translation and US equivalencies must be sent directly from the home institution. 

International Guest Student Program application essay 

Your application will include essays addressing three topics. Please compile your responses into a single document, but keep them as separate essays.

  • Describe your educational history and background, making sure to address both academic and nonacademic experiences that are relevant to your participation in the International Guest Student Program. Please also be sure to note whether your records and transcripts accurately reflect your academic ability. (250 word maximum)
  • Explain your goals for participating in the International Guest Student Program. Please address why you are interested in studying in the United States, and why you wish to study at Penn specifically, as well as some of the coursework you are interested in, and campus resources you plan to utilize. Be as specific as you can about how this program will support your current academic program and your future academic and professional goals. (400 word maximum)

Letters of recommendation

One letter of recommendation is required of all applicants. However, you may submit up to three letters of recommendation to support your application. Letters of recommendation should be from individuals with whom you have had a close professional or academic association and who know of your desire to enroll at the University of Pennsylvania. Recommendations should be submitted online. For online recommendations, please follow the instructions in the Recommendations section of the online application.

Standardized test scores 

A strong command of the English language is necessary for successful study at Penn. Applicants whose native language is not English must submit Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), International English Language Test System (IELTS), or Duolingo English Test (DET) scores to demonstrate English proficiency. Please note that the TOEFL/IETLS/DET requirement 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. The minimum IELTS score for consideration is a 7. Applicants may upload a copy of their IELTS test report to the standardized test score section of the application. The minimum DET score for consideration is a 120. Students submitting DET scores should request that their scores be sent to “The University of Pennsylvania, College of Liberal and Professional Studies.” We will also need an unofficial copy of your Duolingo English Test certificate. Please save your certificate as a PDF and send it to

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.

Standardized test scores such as the SAT are not required for admission to the program. However, you may choose to submit them in support of your application. Request that your scores be forwarded to the College of Liberal and Professional Studies, using ETS institutional code 2986.

International students program options

Penn welcomes students to join the largest international student community in the Ivy League.

Culture, community, and city living

Explore everything Penn has to offer, including the vibrant city life of Philadelphia.

Areas of study

Courses from more than 50 academics departments are available each semester to help you achieve your goals.