Graduate Programs

How to Apply

Applications for Admission for Fall 2024

Deadline: Ph.D. in Mass Communications, Dec. 1, 2023
Deadline: M.A. in Media Studies, Feb. 1, 2024

Please note: If you are applying to one of the degree programs in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications, please enter MASSC (Ph.D. in Mass Communications) or MEDIA (M.A. in Media Studies) on your online application form.

Virtual Tours

Front view of Carnegie Buiding.

Carnegie Building
Home of administative offices and graduate student offices.

Front view of Willard Building.

Willard Building/Bellisario Media Center
Home of the Media Effect Research Laboratory, faculty offices and production spaces.

Online Application Requirements

The Graduate School online application will ask you to upload the following additional program-specific material:

  • Statement of purpose (two to three pages explaining your academic interest and background in communications and how graduate study at Penn State fits into your career plans)
  • Writing sample (any academic or professional work that demonstrates your analytical and writing abilities). Examples include a term or class paper, journal article, or part of a thesis. Samples must be solo authored by the applicant. All samples will be checked for plagiarism through Turnitin; if the sample is flagged your application will not be processed.
  • Three (3) recommendations (preferably from those who can assess your past academic performance and potential for graduate studies). The Graduate School will notify the recommenders by email to fill out the rating form and to add additional information on the applicant. Please plan accordingly to give your recommenders plenty of time to submit their letters by the application's deadline.
  • Official GRE Scores (analytical writing, verbal general and quantitative general)
    • University code: 2660
    • Department code: 4508

      Applicants to the M.A. and Ph.D. programs should note that the submission of Official GRE Scores (analytical writing, verbal general and quantitative general) is OPTIONAL. If you've already taken and choose to submit GRE scores, we will accept them. If you self-report the scores in the application, your application will not be considered complete without receipt of the official scores. Plan to have official scores in by the application deadline. If you opt to not submit GRE scores, please note that the Graduate Admissions Committee will consider GRE scores as ONE dimension of what will be a holistic review of applications. Please visit this link to learn more about exemptions from English proficiency testing.

      ALL applicants are encouraged to submit application materials that provide clear evidence of their aptitude for graduate study.

  • Official TOEFL Scores (for international students who have not received a degree from an English-language institution). A combined score of at least 80 with at least a 24 on the speaking is required. Official IELTS Scores are also accepted. A minimum composite score of 6.5, with at least a 7.5 on the speaking section is required. Expired scores (beyond 2 years) are not acceptable, and the applicant will need to retake the test. Plan to have official scores in by the application deadlineIf a degree is earned from an accredited English-speaking institution, the TOEFL score will be waived. Please visit this link to learn more about exemptions from English proficiency testing.
  • Official transcripts/records/degree certificates from all institutions attended that are listed on your application to the Graduate School. If GPA information for each degree listed is missing, your application is not complete and will not be processed. If needed, use the GPA calculator linked in the online application. We do not accept WES evaluations. The burden of providing GPA information by the application deadline lies with the applicant.

Ph.D. Funding

The Bellisario College offers Graduate Assistantships or University Graduate Fellowships to all Ph.D. students.

M.A. Funding

The Bellisario College does not offer funding for M.A. students.

Apply Now


Dr. Anthony Olorunnisola
Professor, Associate Dean for Graduate Programs and Research

Letitia Bullock
Coordinator of Graduate Programs