International Students

International Penn students chatting on campus

Open new worlds as an international student

The University of Pennsylvania is home to the largest number of international students in the Ivy League. Our vibrant community of international visitors—composing 11 percent of the student body—is a vital part of Penn’s identity, and we highly value the gifts of perspective and experience contributed by our students from abroad. We welcome and support international students with a wide range of language resources and services to ensure our guests experience a smooth transition into life at the university. Find out more about the support that Penn's International Student and Scholar Services team provides.

Penn also offers you an ideal entry point to American culture. We are located in Philadelphia, the birthplace of the American Revolution and home to some of the nation’s top cultural, athletic, dining, and shopping destinations. As a key transportation hub for the Northeast, Philadelphia is also an excellent starting point for your exploration of other major American cities: We’re only two hours from New York City, three hours from Washington, D.C., and five hours from Boston.

Penn's College of Liberal and Professional Studies (LPS) offers courses for international students designed to expand your intellectual horizons and rapidly advance your English language skills as needed. You will earn college credits that can be transferred to other universities and receive an official transcript from the University of Pennsylvania. Programs include:

  • International Guest Student Program: Highly qualified international undergraduate students can pursue credit-bearing coursework at Penn through the International Guest Student Program. As an International Guest Student, you have access to academic support and courses of your choice across the School of Arts and Sciences. For more details, visit the International Guest Student Program page.
  • Penn Summer Global Institute: International undergraduates can consider the Penn Summer Global Institute, a six-week, comprehensive academic experience for top undergraduates from around the world with high English proficiency. Please visit the Penn Summer Global Institute website for more information.
  • Programs for international professionals: International professionals may apply to our master’s degree programs and receive a graduate degree from Penn upon successful completion. The College of Liberal and Professional Studies, the English Language Programs and other departments at Penn will assist potential international applicants to our master’s programs with questions regarding the application process, visas, and school transfers.

TOEFL requirements

A strong command of the English language is necessary for successful study at Penn. Applicants for whom English is a second language 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.

Student visas

Most International Guest Students come on an F-1 (student) or J-1 (exchange student) visa. Penn issues the Form I-20 (for the F-1 visa) or the Form DS2019 (for the J-1 visa) to eligible students.

When you are admitted as an International Guest Student, we will send you information about how to request your Form I-20 or DS2019 from Penn.

The visa is a stamped (or pasted-in) endorsement made in the passport by a US consulate or embassy official outside the US. It indicates that all requirements have been met for entry into the US. The number of entries allowed within a specified period is indicated on the visa stamp and can vary from country to country. A valid visa is essential for entering and reentering the US. However, the visa does not determine the length of time you may remain in the US. Canadian citizens are not required to obtain a visa to enter the US.

For more information on typical visa types for students, visit Penn’s Visa & Immigration Information page.


Immigration regulations state that you are responsible for keeping your passport valid at all times during your stay here. Your passport can be revalidated or renewed through your embassy or consulate.

Penn International Student and Scholar Services

Penn’s International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) provides core services to international students, visiting scholars, faculty, and academic departments at the University of Pennsylvania. The ISSS staff provides advice, information, and referrals on matters such as immigration, employment, and overseas travel. They can also assist with problems related to social and personal adjustments to a new culture, as well as practical matters related to living in Philadelphia.