MEAM Mailing Address:

Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics
University of Pennsylvania
229 Towne Building
220 S. 33rd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6315

Engineering Admissions Mailing Address:

University of Pennsylvania
School of Engineering & Applied Science
Graduate Admissions
111 Towne Building
220 S. 33rd St.
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6391


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Prospective PhD Student FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I have a current graduate student contact me to answer my questions?
You are welcome to send e-mail to Be sure to include your name, research area and contact information in the e-mail and we will request a student here at Penn contact you via e-mail.
How do I apply?
All applications must be completed online. The School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania no longer sends out paper applications. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you. Click here to begin an online application. (Please note that you do not have to fill in the entire application in one sitting. You may come back and modify your application at any point of time before you submit it. When you finish the application please remember to submit your application.)
What materials are needed for my application?
Please visit the following webpage for a complete list of application materials:

What is the application deadline for the PhD program?
Online applications must be complete, with all required items received, by December 15.

** Please note that if you are applying to our PhD degree program we only accept applications for the fall semester.

What financial aid is available to me?
Master's Degree
Typically, the department provides no financial aid for master's students. Learn more...

PhD Degree
A single application covers both admission and financial aid. A complete application including admission fee, which partially covers the processing cost of the admission materials, must be submitted by December 15. Learn more...
What test scores do I need to submit, and what are the minimum scores?
The Graduate Record Exam (GRE)
The GRE exam is required for applying to the MSE and PhD program. The GRE exam will not be waived for any reason if you are applying to the PhD program. Applications are evaluated as a whole portfolio and not on a single criterion. There is no monimum GRE score that is required, althought admission is competitive.

The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
Foreign students whose native language is not English are required to submit an official TOEFL examination, recommended score of 100, 250 or 600 (depending on which test was taken) or better unless they have spent at least three years at an academic institution in an English speaking country. The requirement can be waived if the candidate has completed at least three years of academic work on a full-time basis at an institution in the United States or in another nation in which English is the official language.

Test Score Reporting Codes
The GRE & TOEFL reporting code is 2888.

As a holder of an undergraduate degree, can I apply for the PhD program, or do I need to get my master's degree first?
You can apply to our graduate program in your senior year of undergraduate studies. You do not need an MSE degree to apply to our PhD degree program.
Do you accept transfer credits from other universities?
Master's Degree
MSE students may obtain credit for up to two courses taken at another institution. These courses are referred to as transfer courses. Transfer courses must be graduate level courses in which at least a B grade has been earned. Transfer credit will only be considered for courses taken prior to matriculation in the graduate program in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics. For further information please check guidelines here.

PhD Degree
A maximum of nine graduate-level course units (out of the 20 required) taken at another university may be accepted provided that the grade received in each course was at least a B, and subject to approval by the Graduate Group Chair and the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, and in accordance with the rules of the University at the time of admission, as found in the current SEAS catalog. The student who wishes such credit transfer must petition to the Graduate Group Chair. For further information please check guidelines here.

How do I reapply to the MEAM program?
Applicants may reapply to the program in any year. Reapplying applicants will need to fill out a new application. If you wish to reuse prior application documents (such as transcripts) from your previous application please send e-mail to with your request. If you are reapplying, we recommend that you discuss how your qualifications have changed over the past year in your personal statement.
How many letters of recommendation do I need? Can I get a waiver of the faculty recommendation requirement?
All applicants are required to submit at least two letters of recommendation, one of which must be from a faculty member familiar with your academic performance. If your graduation date was over five years prior to this application you may request a waiver of the faculty recommendation.
Can I request a deferral of admission?
Master's Degree
If you were admitted to our MSE degree program, you may request a deferral of admission for up to one year. First you would need to submit the Admission Decision form, pay the acceptance fee, and include a brief letter requesting the deferral of admission. You will be notified in writing if your request is approved.

PhD Degree
Typically we do not grant deferral of admissions if you were admitted to our PhD degree program. All requests for deferral of admission should be sent to the Graduate Group Chair.

My school does not use the GPA system. How do I fill out that part of the application?
If your school does not use the GPA system please include your percentage (marks) and the scale in which it is based.
Can I apply to the PhD program for the Spring semester?
Normally we do NOT accept applications to our PhD program for the spring semester. However, we do make exceptions for exceptional students.  You must first contact your potential advisor and get his permission.  After which you will apply to our program for the fall semester and then send e-mail to requesting that your application be changed to the spring.