International Applicants

The Penn State Smeal One-Year MBA program values diversity and welcomes candidates and alumni from around the world. The cross-cultural insights and unique perspectives of our international students enrich our community and enhance the learning environment. We offer special programming and workshops designed to support international candidates in their transition to the Smeal MBA community and their preparation for future careers. International applicants have specific admission requirements, including official English language proficiency exam scores, visa application procedures, and application deadlines. The program also considers United States GPA conversion and transcript requirements, with additional details for applicants from India. English proficiency exams, such as TOEFL and IELTS, are mandatory for all international applicants, except those meeting certain exemptions. Visa materials and financial resources are essential for entering the U.S. in F-1 status, requiring a form I-20 issued by International Student and Scholar Advising of Penn State Global.

The Penn State Smeal One-Year MBA values the diversity of our student population with candidates and alumni from around the world. We recognize that the cross-cultural insights and unique perspectives of our international students strengthen our community and enhance the learning environment. With special programming and workshops designed for the unique needs of our international candidates, we are committed to helping you transition to the Smeal MBA community and prepare for your future career.

Admission Requirements for International Students

For international applicants to the Penn State Smeal One-Year MBA Program, the multi-step application process includes additional requirements:

  • Official English Language Proficiency Exam Scores: Official test scores must be submitted directly from the testing agency. 
  • Visa Application: The Penn State Global Pre-Arrival Advisers will help with your immigration questions and needs. You can request your form I-20 (Certification of Eligibility for F-1 visa) after you are admitted to the program and have paid your enrollment deposit.
  • Application Deadline: International applicants are strongly encouraged to apply by the third round deadline, Feb. 1, 2024, in order to account for the visa process. 

United States GPA Conversion Tables

If your school does not follow the 4.0 grading scale, provide an estimate in the GPA section of the application. You can then enter your unconverted GPA in the section titled "Optional Clarification Statement, Additional Information, GPA and Test Score Clarification."


Only the equivalent of a four-year U.S. bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution can be considered for admission into Penn State. Official transcripts must be submitted from each educational institution attended. Transcripts are reviewed for course content, academic performance, and trends in academic progress. Transcripts may be digitally duplicated and submitted online for the purposes of initial application review, but originals must follow.

International applicants whose transcripts are not in English should submit both the originals as well as translated transcripts along with an official copy of the bachelor's degree and graduation certificate. Contact the Penn State Graduate School to determine if your degree is equivalent to a U.S. four-year baccalaureate degree before submitting an application.

Applicants from India who have completed a four-year bachelor's degree or the master's degree examinations following a three-year bachelor's degree are eligible to apply. Those completing the Chartered Accountancy final examination and awarded an Associate Membership (following a three-year bachelor's degree) are also eligible. Three-year bachelor's degrees followed by a post-graduate diploma may be acceptable if the diploma program is one year full-time in length and offered by an Indian University that is recognized by the Association of Indian Universities. Professional programs offered by external organizations are not eligible.

The Graduate School at Penn State will not review academic credentials of a prospective student until an application is officially submitted. If you feel strongly about having your credentials verified before completing and submitting your application, you may have your credentials reviewed by Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE). Approval from ECE will assure you are academically eligible for not only our program, but most other U.S. Institutions as well. Please note the Penn State Graduate School does not accept credential reviews from World Education Services (WES)--only reviews done by ECE.

English Proficiency Exams

All international applicants must take either The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), regardless of educational medium of instruction or native language. Exemptions to this requirement are only given if the candidate:

  • has received an in-residence degree from a U.S. college or university.
  • has received an in-residence degree from a college or university in any of the following: Australia, Belize, British Caribbean and British West Indies, Canada (except Quebec), England, Guyana, Republic of Ireland, Liberia, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.
  • is a U.S. Permanent Resident.


The Penn State Smeal One-Year MBA TOEFL code is 2660

Minimum required scores:

  • Internet-Based: 80
  • Speaking Section: 19
  • Paper-based test (taken prior to July 2017): 550
  • Paper-based test (taken July 2017 or later): a combined total of the 3 sections evaluated must be 60 or greater 


The Penn State Smeal One-Year MBA will accept the IELTS as a test of English proficiency.

Minimum required score: 7.0.

IELTS offers the choice of up to 48 fixed test dates each year. You must apply to a test center to take an IELTS test prior to the test date. Applications are made on an IELTS application form, which you can send or take into a test center along with the test fee and two passport-sized photographs. You will also need to include your passport number, or in some circumstances a national identity card number, on the application form; check with your test center. Once you have applied, the test center will confirm your IELTS test date and time.

Visa Materials

To enter the U.S. in F-1 status, a student must be issued a form I-20 (Certificate of Eligibility) by International Student and Scholar Advising of Penn State Global. ISSA is required to determine if a student has financial resources to attend school and pay for living expenses without resorting to illegal employment or relying on public funds. For current estimated expenses and financial guarantee requirements, visit the financial section of Penn State Global. You can also call or email:

Penn State Global
International Student and Scholar Advising
410 Boucke Building
University Park, PA 16802
Phone: US 814-865-6348

Additional Resources