This page provides information on program requirements and a listing of the items that a future graduate student must complete to apply to the entomology department.

Complete Fall 2024 application materials should be submitted by December 1st

To qualify for admission, an applicant must have a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution and a minimum grade point average of 3.0 (B) on a 4.0 scale for the last two undergraduate years. Prospective students must apply online through our departmental Web site (see below for details). The applicant should have a strong background in biological sciences. Courses in statistics, physics, chemistry through organic chemistry, mathematics through calculus, and computer applications are recommended. For applicants whose native language is not English, verbal communication with a faculty member is required so that the faculty member can assess verbal skills.

Provisional admission is possible, with deficiencies to be completed prior to final acceptance into the program. Courses considered as deficiencies will not count toward meeting the requirements for a graduate degree. Deficiencies will be determined by a departmental committee consisting of the Graduate Program Council (GPC), the department head, and a temporary adviser to be assigned at the time of admission. It is recommended that students not receive all undergraduate and graduate degrees from Penn State.

The process of applying for admission to graduate school at Penn State requires the following application materials:

All should be submitted online to The Graduate School.

  1. Graduate School Application:
    To request an application fee waiver, please contact the program.

  2. Official Transcripts: An official transcript from each institution attended. Applicants must have a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution and a minimum grade point average of 3.0 (B) on a 4.0 scale for the last two undergraduate years.
    1. The prevalence of English speakers in the country;
    2. If English is an official language of the country, and how many other official languages there are;
    3. Whether formal primary and secondary school instruction is primarily conducted in English in the country.TOEFL/IELTS scores (International Students only). International applicants who have received a baccalaureate or a graduate degree in one of the following countries are exempt from the TOEFL/IELTS requirement: American Samoa, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Canada (except Quebec), Cayman islands, Dominica, England, Ghana, Guyana, Jamaica, Kenya, Liberia, Montserrat, New Zealand, Nigeria, Northern Ireland, Puerto Rico, Republic of Ireland, Scotland, Singapore, South Africa, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, Trinidad, and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, Uganda, United States, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Wales. 
      GCAC-305 Admissions Requirements for International Students
      Countries in which standard English is the predominant language may be added to this list by The Graduate School. The CIA Factbook is used as a primary source of information, supplemented when appropriate with other reliable resources. Important considerations taken into account when making the decision include (but are not limited to):
      • TOEFL
        • Internet Based test score of 80 with a 19 on the speaking section
        • Paper-based test (taken July 2017 or later) - a combined total of the 3 sections evaluated must be 60 or greater
      • IELTS
        • The minimum acceptable composite score for the IELTS Academic Test is 6.5.

  3. Three Letters of Recommendation: 
    1. How long has this reference known the applicant?  In what capacity?
    2. How many students has this reference been able to assess for suitability for graduate student/
    3. Can you speak about the candidate’s resilience, independence, reliability, personality; e.g., are they a good team member?
    4. Overall assessment and applicant rating by percentile.
    5. Please indicate your ranking of the applicant in each of the criteria below compared to other students you have known who have applied for graduate study:
      1. Intellectual ability/capacity [e.g., Very Good (Top 10%)]
      2. Analytical and problem-solving ability.
      3. Oral communication skills
      4. Written communication skills
      5. Interpersonal skills
      6. Ability to work well with others.
      7. Motivation
      8. Creativity/originality
      9. Work ethic
    6. Upload reference letter

    1. Statement of Purpose:  
      1. Describe your most meaningful research/academic experience (in class, in a research lab, at work, etc.). Please briefly describe a memorable experience from your academic career. If it involves research, what were the scientific questions or hypotheses you addressed, the experimental design/approach you used to test the hypothesis or question, your results, and the conclusions you drew. Did you conduct this research independently or as a member of a research team that conducted the research? If it is from a class, why was the experience meaningful to your academic trajectory? How did/might it influence your future research directions and interests?
      2. Describe an obstacle/adversity you faced or a challenge you have met in your academic or personal life. What strategies did you use to overcome this challenge? If you face challenges in your future research, how do you think this experience may help you overcome the challenges?
      3. What are your current research interests? Why is that field/area attractive to you, and which faculty member(s) in the department would allow you to pursue these interests? What about their research interests you specifically? 
      4. What are your longer-term goals? What do you see yourself doing in 5-10 years from now?

    2. Evaluation Process:
      1. Evaluations of applicants for the Master program are based on: students' interest, alignment with faculty, quality of reference letters, relevant coursework and research background.
      2. Evaluations of applicants for the PhD program are based on: previous research experience, motivations for research, alignment with faculty, evidence of ability to develop hypothesis-driven questions, research rationale, quality of reference letters about the applicant's intellectual capacity, resilience, and ability to work independently and as part of teams. For fellowship applications, applicants should have publications, high GPAs.

    Complete Fall 2024 application materials should be submitted by December 1st