Admission to the MBA program is based on your academic background, Statement of Purpose, and professional references. A GMAT score is not required. A complete application portfolio must be submitted to be considered for admission, which is granted jointly by the Graduate School of Penn State University and Penn State Behrend’s Black School of Business.
Applicants for Fall 2023 must submit a complete application by June 12, 2023.
All application materials, including references, are due by the deadline. Completed applications are processed on a rolling basis.
Please note: International students requiring an I-20 visa cannot enroll in our MBA program, since the program is delivered predominantly online. International students residing in the U.S. with a work visa may apply.
For admission to the Graduate School at Penn State, an applicant must hold either: a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or a postsecondary degree that is deemed comparable to a four-year bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution. This degree must be from an officially recognized degree-granting institution in the country in which it operates.
Applicants who expect to graduate with a bachelor's degree may apply for admission to the program in their senior year.
Applicants to the MBA program can have an academic background in any discipline. Prior to beginning the 30-credit MBA program, applicants will need to demonstrate competence in key business disciplines. This requirement saves graduate students from having to take foundational classes and allows them complete their MBA in a shorter time frame. This process is separate from admission but should be addressed concurrently with the admission process.
Penn State Behrend uses an external specialist partner, MBA iQ, to replace foundational business classes and allow incoming MBA students to complete pre-enrollment modules to demonstrate competency in seven key disciplines—accounting, business statistics, economics, finance, management, marketing, and operations. The MBA iQ modules and the specific competencies that they address are:
MBA iQ Module 100
- Business Statistics
MBA iQ Module 200
MBA iQ Module 300
The cost of the modules is $250 each, or $700 for all three. Students who need to meet competence in all seven areas should complete all three modules.
Each module finishes with a pass/fail examination that can be repeated, if needed. Students must attain a “pass” rating and submit examination reports.
Modules are self-paced and can be started anytime but must be completed prior to enrolling in classes. Students who commit ten hours per week to the modules can complete all three modules in two or three months. The completion time is much faster for students who have only one or two modules to complete.
All modules must be successfully completed one week before classes start.
You can apply for admission into our MBA program and work on the modules concurrently. These processes are independent, but an admitted student cannot begin classes unless the pre-enrollment module process is satisfied.
To be exempt from the modules, students will need to have successfully completed relevant coursework with a grade a B (not B-) or better within the past seven academic years. To seek an exemption, applicants should send unofficial transcripts to Eric Robbins, MBA administrative program chair, for consideration.
For reference, the Penn State undergraduate courses that represent the equivalent course for each of the seven areas are: Introduction to Statistics for Business (SCM 200); Introductory Microeconomic Analysis and Policy (ECON 102) OR Introductory Macroeconomic Analysis and Policy (ECON 104); Basic Management Concepts (MGMT 301); Principles of Marketing (MKTG 301); Supply Chain Management (SCM 301); Financial and Managerial Accounting for Decision Making (ACCTG 211); and Corporation Finance (FIN 301).
All MBA applicants must submit the Proof of Pre-Enrollment Competencies form to indicate how they have obtained competence. Download and complete this form: Proof of Pre-Enrollment Competencies form (PDF) | (Word)
MBA Application Requirements
Review these steps fully before beginning your application. For best results, apply using a Firefox or Chrome browser. Individuals with international credentials will have additional requirements for application.
1. Submit Penn State’s Graduate School Online Application.
Before you apply, be sure to have official transcripts from all institutions attended (see Step 3 below for details). In the application, skip any questions that don’t apply, such as junior/senior GPA, GMAT/GRE scores, etc.
2. Upload a Statement of Purpose.
The statement should be one to one and a half pages in length. Upload your completed statement to your online application. (Note: It is recommended that the statement be a .txt or .pdf file for ease of uploading.) The statement should address the following:
- Why have you chosen to pursue an MBA at Penn State Behrend?
- How will these studies help you achieve your personal and professional goals?
- How will your participation contribute to the Penn State Behrend MBA program?
- Indicate your current, or most recent, work and/or internship responsibilities.
Prior to applying, contact the registrar’s office at all institutions attended, except Penn State, to obtain an official transcript. An official transcript bears the university logo and includes the registrar’s signature. Do not upload advising or unofficial transcripts. Your application will not be processed without an official transcript. Do not mail any transcripts or other printed materials to Penn State Behrend or to the Graduate School.
If you are a Penn State alumnus, you do not need to request transcripts for credits earned at Penn State, but you must list Penn State as part of your academic history. Previously submitted transcripts for a Penn State undergraduate application cannot be used for a graduate-level application.
You can return to your application in the Graduate School portal at any time. Click on “Check your application status.”
4. Submit contact information for three professional references.
The MBA program requires three references from academic or professional sources. Current undergraduate students are required to have three faculty, within their discipline, listed as references.
References will receive an email directing them to complete a web-based form where they will rank you on 30 qualities. References can add narrative if they choose, but they are not required to submit anything further.
References must complete the form before or by the application deadline.
MBA Admission Notification
Once your application is complete, a recommendation for admission will be made by Dr. Al Warner, MBA academic program chair. This typically takes up to seven business days and you will be notified of your admission status by email. Admission is offered jointly with the Graduate School, so your credentials also require its formal approval.
Upon acceptance of your offer of admission, you will receive a request from the Graduate School to send sealed copies of your official transcripts (these are separate from the official transcripts that you unsealed to upload to your online application). Accepting your offer and completing this step in a timely manner keeps the admissions process moving, allowing you to register for classes sooner.
Once you accept your offer, you will receive a series of emails introducing you to the tools you’ll use in your graduate education, including LionPATH, which is Penn State’s student information system. LionPATH is where you register for courses, access your tuition bills, and more. You must complete all pre-registration activities in LionPATH prior to enrolling in courses.
You’ll also be notified about a mandatory MBA orientation session.
If you need to change your semester of enrollment, you can defer it for up to three semesters. Email your request, including the semester in which you would like to enroll, to the Office of Graduate Admissions.
Penn State allows the transfer of up to 10 qualified external credits into a program. Credits must not have been used to satisfy the requirements of another degree at Penn State or elsewhere.
Transfer credits must meet the following criteria:
- Must be equivalent to a 400-, 500-, or 800-level course at Penn State;Must have been earned at a regionally accredited U.S. institution or an officially recognized degree-granting international institution;
- Must be of "A" or "B" grade value ("B-" grades are not transferable, and pass-fail grades are not transferable unless the “Pass” can be substantiated by the former institution as having at least "B" quality);
- Must appear on an official transcript of a regionally accredited U.S. institution or recognized degree-granting international institution;
- Must be earned within five years prior to the date of registration in a graduate degree program at Penn State, and specific criteria apply.
Transfer of external credits must be approved by the academic program and by the Graduate School. Contact Dr. Al Warner, academic program chair, for consideration of transfer credits.