Admissions Criteria

The M.Ed. in Earth Sciences program is selective. Applicants who are only able to participate part-time and at a distance, while maintaining full-time professional responsibilities (and who are, therefore, effectively excluded from participation in the department's resident program) will be preferred.

The Committee ranks applications based upon the following admissions criteria, which are listed in order of importance (application procedures for these criteria are detailed on the Application Procedures page):

  1. Professional sketch or vita that includes a statement of the current status of the applicant's state science teaching certification and/or teaching experience
  2. Statement of professional experience and goals - This 1-2 page original essay should include a description of your professional experience, as well as a clear statement of how your professional goals may be advanced through participation in the M.Ed. in Earth Sciences program. The essay itself should demonstrate your communication skills.
  3. Two letters of recommendation - These letters (from current and former employers, clients or educators) should attest to your readiness for graduate study and reflect your secondary science teaching experience.Your recommenders should also describe their relationship to you.
  4. Official transcripts from each post-secondary institution attended to date

Additional criteria:

  • Baccalaureate degree - In addition to these criteria, the Graduate School requires applicants to possess any baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution earned under residence and credit conditions substantially equivalent to those required by Penn State. All applicants are expected to have earned a junior/senior grade point average of 3.0.
  • TOEFL scores - The language of instruction at Penn State is English. International applicants must take and submit scores for the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or the IELTS (International English Language Testing System), with the exceptions noted below. The minimum acceptable score for the TOEFL is 550 for the paper-based test, 213 for the computer-based test, or a total score of 80 with a 19 on the speaking section for the internet-based test (iBT). The minimum composite score for the IELTS is 6.5. International applicants are exempt from the TOEFL/IELTS requirement who have received a baccalaureate or a masters degree from a college/university/institution 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, the United States and Wales. Submit official scores using Penn State's Institution Code: 2660.