Prospective Ph.D. Student FAQ

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 this page for a complete list of application materials.

What is the application deadline for the Ph.D. program?

Online applications must be complete, with all required items received, by December 15.

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

What financial aid is available to me?

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)
FOR 2022: Submitting your GRE scores is optional for the MEAM Ph.D. during this application cycle. If you are/were able to take the GRE exam and have valid scores to report, we encourage you to do so. If you are not able to take the GRE exam, we will evaluate your application holistically. Your candidacy will not be negatively impacted if you do not report GRE scores.
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 meets the requirements as listed on the central admission page. Test Score Reporting Codes: The GRE & TOEFL reporting code is 2888.
During this admissions season, we will accept scores from at-home administration of the GRE and TOEFL exams.
For the most up-to-date information please see the following website: How to Apply

As a holder of an undergraduate degree, can I apply for the Ph.D. 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 Ph.D. degree program.

Do you accept transfer credits from other universities?

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?

Typically we do not grant deferral of admissions if you were admitted to our Ph.D. 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 Ph.D. program for the Spring semester?

Normally we do NOT accept applications to our Ph.D. program for the spring semester. However, we do make exceptions for exceptional students.  You must first contact your potential advisor and obtain their 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.

Doctoral Program:

Staff Contact:

Peter Litt
Associate Director of Graduate Programs
229 Towne Building
Phone: 215-746-6737
Current Student Appointments