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.
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Application Overview

Nontraditional Graduate program application deadlines

You may apply to begin the Nontraditional Graduate Studies program 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 15, 2020
Summer 2021 May 1, 2021
Fall 2021 August 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 lps-admissions@sas.upenn.edu.

Application materials checklist

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.

Due to the impact of COVID-19 and remote work assignments, to complete your application file, please submit all supporting admissions documents electronically to lps-admissions@sas.upenn.edu. 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
  • Current resume
  • Nonrefundable application fee
  • Application essays, listed below
  • Unofficial transcripts from each post-secondary school attended uploaded through the online application system 
  • Standardized test scores, if applicable (details below)
  • Letters of recommendation, if applicable (details below)

Nontraditional Graduate program application essays

Your application will include essays addressing the following topics. Responses should not exceed four pages in length for all the questions combined. (Please compile your responses into a single document, but keep them as separate essays.)

  • Write a brief essay describing your academic and personal goals and explain how these will be furthered by study at Penn in general and at LPS in particular. Feel free to discuss a specific academic topic you have enjoyed studying and explain why it is of interest to you.
  • Describe any nonacademic experiences that you feel strengthen your application such as employment, travel, community affairs, volunteer work, publications, etc. 

Letters of recommendation

Letters of recommendations are not required for the Nontraditional Graduate program. However, you may submit up to three letters of recommendation to support your application. These should be from individuals with whom you have had a close professional or academic association and who know of your desire to enroll in the Nontraditional Graduate program at the University of Pennsylvania. Recommendations may be submitted online or by mail. 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) scores to demonstrate English proficiency. 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. International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is also accepted and the minimum score for consideration is a 7. You may upload a copy of your IELTS test to the standardized test score section of the application.

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

Applicants who have attended a college or university outside the US are required to have a course-by-course credential evaluation (with grade point average and course levels) performed by an outside evaluation service. Credential 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. The following two evaluation services are acceptable:

CertiFile/CollegeNET Document Service: Applicants from international institutions are encouraged to use the CertiFile/CollegeNET Document Service within the College of Liberal and Professional Studies application to request and submit authenticated transcript(s) and other academic documents. This service provides certified documents and course evaluations which are then included as part of your application materials. If using this service, Penn requires the “Evaluation” service at a cost of $190.

World Education Services Inc. (WES): 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 US marks and credit. Please select the WES basic course-by-course evaluation (with grade point average 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. For additional information about the WES application and their review process, please visit the WES website.

Please note that these services charge a fee for the evaluation.

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