Most Frequently Asked Questions
Dear Prospective Applicant,
Thank you for your interest in the Physics and Astronomy Graduate Program at the University of Pennsylvania. The University is using an on-line web-based application. https://app.applyyourself.com/?id=upenn-g . Among the features is the ability to access your application at any time or duration up until the time you submit it. Also, you will be able to monitor the receipt of documentation over the web.
Applications should be submitted by Dec. 31st for full consideration by the admissions committee. Applications submitted after this deadline will be reviewed on a rolling basis, and qualified applicants will be offered admission to the program as space permits. The Application fee is $80.00.
**The entire application and supporting documents should all be done on-line, do not send paper copies by mail**
No minimum score on the GRE verbal and quantitative is specified. However, the average GRE scores for 2011-12 matriculants were: verbal-626 (non-native English speakers excluded); quantitative-780. The average GRE Advanced score for 2011-12 matriculants was 781. GRE scores are good for 5 years.
What is the date for admission’s deadline?
Applications are technically received until July 15, but since many departments make admissions decisions earlier, applicants are advised to apply by the December 30th-deadline for the fellowship applicants. Because of the university closing during the winter break, we encourage you to continue with your submission through January.
Do you offer Spring admissions?
What should I do to transfer into the program?
Follow all of the regular admission’s procedures.
Can I apply to multiple programs?
No. You can apply to our program and explain your area(s) of interest in your personal statement.
Where should GRE/Subject and TOEFL scores be sent? Is there a minimum requirement?
The scores should be sent to the Graduate School of Arts and Science Office. The school code is 2926, be sure to include the department code 0808 as well.
International applicants whose native language is not English must submit proof of English proficiency (TOEFL).
Please visit the following site: http://www.ets.org/gre for test locations and dates in your country. TOEFL scores are good for 2 years.
Do you accept IELTS scores?
We will accept IELTS in hard copy in lieu of TOEFL scores. You must have them sent directly from IELTS.
Will test scores be accepted after the deadline?
Yes, we will be able to retrieve your scores.
Are my GRE/TOEFL scores sufficient enough for admittance and overall acceptance?
We do not make decisions based solely on exam scores, the entire application along with supporting documents will be evaluated. The TOEFL scores should be computer base.
I am an international student who got a degree from a US institution, do I have to submit TOEFL?
How many recommendation letters do I have to submit?
We require three letters of recommendation. In order to submit your application in the system you will have to produce three referees.
Do I submit writing samples.
No, we do not require writing samples. Again, applications and supporting materials will be reviewed on-line. Do not upload or mail writing samples, they are not required by us.
Do I send transcripts to the Graduate Office or the Department? Do I scan official copies?
Do not send transcripts by mail. Transcripts should be uploaded in ApplyYourself. We strongly suggest that you take advantage of the option to scan copies of your transcript into your on-line application. This will expedite the review of your application. If admission is recommended, we will request official copies to be sent to us at a later date. In the meantime, an unofficial copy can be uploaded. DO NOT SEND COPIES.
Because the application is due before my fall semester grades are recorded, do I send my transcript after I’ve completed the fall semester of my program.
NO, the transcript cannot be uploaded in ApplyYourself after the application is submitted.
If you are still in school during the fall 2012 semester, we are aware that your fall grades will not be noted on the transcript when the application is submitted. We only ask for the final official transcript that list all coursework and degree confirmation when you are admitted into the program. Do not mail updated transcripts in the spring.
Can I/you update information after I submit my application?
No, you can't update after submission. There is no gaurantee we will be able to update the numerous requests.
Is it acceptable to have obtained a bachelor’s degree in 3 years instead of 4 years?
How do I obtain a fellowship?
Essentially all graduate students in Physics and Astronomy at Penn receive an annual stipend and tuition for the duration of their studies provided they remain in good academic standing. Although we will make every effort to help you secure a research slot in the field of your choice, offers of admission and financial aid in the first year of study does not guarantee a future slot in any one particular field.
Do I have to pay for health insurance? Is dental coverage included? Is my family covered?
Currently, we pay health insurance for the student only. We do not pay for dental coverage nor do we pay family coverage.
When should I expect to hear the decision of my application?
The committee will begin to make decisions the end of January and throughout February and March.
How will I know the decision?
Decisions will be noted in ApplyYourself, continue to check your status on-line starting the end of January. If you are accepted, a committee member will contact you by phone or email and it will also be noted in ApplyYourself.
I am applying from abroad—what form of payment should I use for my application fee?
In payment of the application fee, applicants need to send an international postal money order for the amount. Checks drawn on a foreign bank will be returned and the processing of the application will be delayed. Discover, MasterCard and Visa are also accepted.
I am not a United States citizen—how do I get a visa?
Upon your admission, the Office of the Graduate Division of the School of Arts and Sciences along with the Office of International Programs will send you the proper documents for obtaining a visa.
Can I visit the department to meet with faculty members?
If you would like to meet with the Chair of our Graduate program, the best time in Fall 2012 would be on Thursdays, 3:30-5:00. Send an email to email@example.com to check availability.
Can I visit and tour Penn’s campus?
Penn offers tours and information sessions on a daily basis, please visit the following site:
We look forward to reviewing your application and supporting documents.