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Frequently Asked Questions

This page contains listing of questions and answers commonly asked by our prospective graduate students.

How do I apply to the program?

Application information and a link to apply to Penn State’s Graduate School can be found at this Web page.

How do students obtain funding for their graduate program?

All of our entering students are provided a research assistantship or a fellowship. When you apply, you will automatically be considered for an assistantship. Our students are funded by a variety of means from University fellowships, department assistantships, grants from faculty research, National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowships, and EPA fellowships, among others.

How much do assistantships provide?  

Assistantships include full coverage of tuition and substantial coverage of health insurance.  Typically, there is an annual increase in the assistantship to help offset the costs of inflation.  Ph.D. stipends for 2016/2017 are $27,879 and M.S. stipends are $26,598 annually. In some cases, these stipends are supplemented with competitively awarded fellowships.

How many students are admitted each year?

The number varies from year to year depending on available funding and space.  We typically have between 40 to 50 graduate students enrolled in our program.  

What can I do to increase my chances of admission?

Contact potential faculty advisers. Faculty may have their own funding for a graduate student and it will help your chances for admission to contact them directly. If you aren’t happy with your GRE scores, retake them. Some of the funding opportunities, such as University Fellowships, rely heavily on GRE scores for consideration.

How do I choose an academic adviser?

There is no single way to identify and choose an academic adviser and/or research program.  The best way to begin is to contact faculty members whose research complements your interests. This is not only useful for finding your ideal research home in the department, but having an advocate on the faculty that knows you and wants you in their research program can greatly enhance your potential for admission. If you are admitted to the program without having identified an adviser, we will work with you by setting up meetings, lab rotations, and so forth to facilitate making this important decision.

What is it like to live in State College?

State College retains a small-city atmosphere but provides a wealth of recreational and cultural activities. The town has been ranked as one of the best and safest places to live in the Northeast. Recently National Geographic Adventure ranked State College as one of the 50 next great adventure towns. The town is conveniently situated so that within a half-day drive you can reach major cities such as New York City, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, or Cleveland.

Where do our graduates work?

Our graduates have placed very well in jobs. Besides careers in entomology and biology departments in academia, some enter government jobs with the Forest Service, United States Department of Agriculture, to name a few. Other students choose careers in industry, working for major agricultural firms. Some students have found success in starting their own businesses.

How do I contact current graduate students in the program?

Any of our current Entomology Graduate Student Association officers would be glad to answer questions or talk about the program.

Is there a deadline for application?

Prospective Students are encouraged to submit their applications by December 20 for full consideration for invitation to the recruitment weekend and fellowship opportunities.