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School of Hospitality Management
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Questions? We have answers.

Deciding to pursue a graduate degree is a life-changing decision. We are here to help with the details. 

Application Process:

How do I apply? icon-olus-circle

All graduate-level applications at Penn State are submitted through the Graduate School.

View the Penn State Graduate School website for instructions on how to apply.

When is my application due? icon-olus-circle

Applications for the Fall 2023 Ph.D. cohort cycle closed on January 3, 2023. Applications for Fall 2024 will open late 2023. 

Applications for the M.P.S. degree are revolving, with the earliest available semester being Fall of 2024. Please see the following table for Fall 2024 deadlines:

Priority Deadline March 15, 2024
International Student Deadline April 1, 2024
Scholarship Opportunity June 1, 2024
Final Deadline* June 1, 2024
*Applications submitted after the Final Deadline will be considered on a case-by-case basis based on program availability, application materials, and video assessment. Deadlines are subject to change without notice.
Where do I send my test scores? icon-olus-circle
  • Students taking the GRE and TOEFL should use school code 2660 to send scores to Penn State.
  • Students taking the IELTS should select "Pennsylvania State University, University Park".
  • Students taking the GMAT should have their scores sent to "Penn State University- University Park" - if prompted, select your plan of study and plan of study location.
Do I need to submit GRE / GMAT scores? icon-olus-circle

For our Ph.D. program, GRE / GMAT scores ARE required, without exception.

For our M.P.S. program, GRE / GMAT scores are NOT required.

Do I need to take / submit an English proficiency test? icon-olus-circle

Yes, students must submit a valid TOEFL or IELTS score. This is a Graduate School requirement determined by your country of residence.

I cannot take the in-person TOEFL / IELTS test due to COVID-19 conditions in my country. What do I do? icon-olus-circle

The Graduate School suggests utilizing the TOEFL iBT at-home test.

The Graduate School does NOT currently accept Duolinguo test scores.

I cannot take the required GRE / GMAT test due to COVID-19 conditions in my country. What do I do? icon-olus-circle
  • The GRE is available to take at home. Please visit their website for more information (for Chinese prospective students, please use this website instead).
  • The GMAT is available to take at home. Please visit their website for more information (test is not available in China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Sudan).
What are your cut-off scores for GRE / GMAT / GPA? icon-olus-circle

Applications are reviewed holistically, with no single factor (unless specified by the Graduate School, such as TOEFL / IELTS minimum scores) strictly barring acceptance.

I do not see my application-related question listed. icon-olus-circle

Financial:

How much does our graduate program cost? icon-olus-circle
  • Ph.D. Degree: Please see Penn State University Budget Office's Tuition Schedule page. Be sure to select "University Park" as the location for most accurate pricing.
  • S.H.M. M.P.S. Degree: For both in-state and out-of-state, full and part-time, the per-credit cost is $1,019 (current as of Fiscal Year 22-23).
How much does it cost to apply? icon-olus-circle

The application fee is set and collected by the Penn State Graduate School. Their current application fee is $65 (current as of December of 2022). This is nonrefundable.

Can I have my application fee waived? icon-olus-circle

Unfortunately, this is not possible. The School of Hospitality Management does not charge the application fee and is unable to waive or cover the Graduate School's fee.

What scholarship opportunities are there for the M.P.S.? icon-olus-circle

Applies to M.P.S.: Thanks to incredible industry and alumni support of our programs, there are numerous scholarships that we can consider applicants for that meet the "Scholarship Opportunity" deadline, based on information provided in the application and / or financial aid information.  

Master of Professional Studies (M.P.S.):

What is an M.P.S. and how is it different from the M.S.? icon-olus-circle

The Master of Professional Studies (M.P.S.) is a special type of master's degree that gives students a rigorous, specialized education designed for professional development and career acceleration within an industry.

The difference between an M.S. and M.P.S. degree is that a M.S. degree is research-oriented (largely for those who want to pursue a career as a researcher or professor), while our M.P.S. is professional development-oriented (great for industry professionals seeking advancement, professionals seeking to change industries, entrepreneurs in service industries,  and current undergraduates looking to further their education).

What do I need to apply to the M.P.S.? icon-olus-circle
  • A completed online Graduate School application
  • Undergraduate or Graduate Degree(s) as required per country of admission by the Graduate School confirmed with submission of copies of official transcripts / documentation (for institutions outside the U.S. documents may include marksheets, record of courses, degree/study certificate, original diploma, etc.) from all post-secondary institutions attended (and official English translations if the language of instruction is not English) 
  • English proficiency (if required per country of admission by the Graduate School)
  • Payment of a non-refundable application fee (decided by the Graduate School)
  • An undergraduate degree (in any field)
  • A resume or CV
  • Two letters of recommendation (preferably one professional and one academic)
  • A statement of career and educational goals in essay format (2-3 pages in length)
  • Submission of a recorded video interview
When will I hear back after I complete the GRADS application and video assessment? icon-olus-circle

Upon receiving your completed GRADS application and video assessment, you can typically expect to hear from us within three (3) weeks, unless there is a university closing.

How long will I have to complete the video assessment once I am invited? icon-olus-circle

You will have one (1) week from when the invitation email is sent out to complete your video assessment.

I am having technical difficulties with the Kira Video Assessment. What do I do? icon-olus-circle

For technical support or questions about your video assessment, please contact Kira directly by clicking the ‘Help’ button on your Check-In page for their 24/7 support and FAQs, or by emailing: support@kiratalent.com.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.):

What do I need to apply to the Ph.D.? icon-olus-circle
  • A completed online Graduate School application
  • Undergraduate or Graduate Degree(s) as required per country of admission by the Graduate School confirmed with submission of copies of official transcripts / documentation (for institutions outside the U.S. documents may include marksheets, record of courses, degree/study certificate, original diploma, etc.) from all post-secondary institutions attended (and official English translations if the language of instruction is not English) 
  • English proficiency (if required per country of admission by the Graduate School)
  • Payment of a non-refundable application fee (decided by the Graduate School)
  • The equivalent of a master's degree with an undergraduate or graduate degree in hospitality management
  • A minimum of one year of work experience in the hospitality industry
  • GMAT / GRE score(s)
  • A resume or CV
  • Three professional references with letters of recommendation
  • A statement of career and educational goals in essay format (2-3 pages in length)
  • Ability to partake in a live video interview
When will I hear back after I complete my GRADS application? icon-olus-circle

The Graduate Admissions Committee will review completed applications shortly after the December 1, 2023 deadline. Once applications are reviewed and a smaller pool of candidates is identified, virtual interviews for the next stage of the process will take place late December. Finally, final candidates will be notified, generally no later than the end of January regarding their acceptance.

What additional degree requirements are needed to graduate besides coursework / dissertation? icon-olus-circle

Our Ph.D. candidates must adhere to the following degree requirements:

  • SHM Event Participation: All graduate students must participate in SHM Research Mixers when offered as well as peer graduate students' Final Defense.
  • Conference Participation: All Ph.D. Candidates must make at least three (3) conference presentations, refereed, prior to graduation. This is in addition, and separate from, the required participation at the Graduate Exhibition Ph.D. candidate must also participate in at least once before graduating.
  • Teaching: All Ph.D. Candidates are expected to teach at least one (1) semester, if courses available, before graduating. Alternative options, such as tutoring, will be available if not.
  • Journal Submissions: Three (3) submissions to a refereed journal are required before a Ph.D. candidate is allowed to sit for the final oral exam (Ph.D. Final Defense).
  • Meet Vital Deadlines: Ph.D. candidates must adhere to strict S.H.M. and Graduate School deadlines for important career milestones.
  • Committee Makeup: The majority component of a Ph.D. student’s doctoral committee must be represented by the SHM Graduate Faculty (that is a faculty member whose focus area is in hospitality management).
Is funding available? icon-olus-circle

Funding is available but often the number of accepted students exceeds the amount of funding in the form of graduate assistantships that are available. The School endeavors to find financial support in varying forms for all doctoral students but funding is not guaranteed. 

Still have questions? Email us!