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Distance Education Admission Requirements

Distance Education Degree Admission

Degree admission to the Graduate School at Penn State is a two-step process, in which a student applies for admission to the Graduate School and to the department or program that will be the student’s major. General requirements for degree admission to the Graduate School are given in the General Information section of the Graduate Bulletin and will not be repeated here. An individual having a baccalaureate degree from a United States institution of higher learning, or an equivalent degree from a foreign institution of higher education, in an accredited engineering curriculum or in some other program such as engineering sciences, physical sciences, or mathematics, may apply for admission to the Graduate Program in Acoustics.

An individual with a non-technical background may also apply, but acceptance into the program will depend significantly on the applicant’s specific background and motives to pursue advanced study in acoustics. An applicant’s undergraduate background must, at a minimum, include at least two semesters of calculus-based physics and at least four semesters of mathematics to include complex variables and differential equations. In addition, an undergraduate knowledge of statics and dynamics, linear algebra, electronic circuit analysis, and the ability to use mathematical analysis software such as MATLAB is expected.

The minimum acceptable undergraduate grade point average is 3.0 (on a 4.0 point scale) with a B+ or better average in mathematics, physical science, and engineering courses.

Applicants who have been completing non-degree credits for transfer to a degree program may apply at any time. However, to ensure enough time for processing the application, students expecting to earn their 15th non-degree credit during the current semester of their request for admission must have their application received by the Acoustics Program office by end of the second week of classes. The required supporting documents listed below must be received by the end of the 5th week of classes. An application for admission package in which the application and supporting documents are not received by the deadline dates will be processed for admission for the following semester. Applicants are responsible for assuring that all documents are received by the deadlines above.

Distance Education Non-Degree Admission

Most distance education students begin the Acoustics Program by seeking admission as a non-degree graduate student. A maximum of 15 non-degree credits may be applied to the degree program. The credits must have been earned within five years of accepted entry into the degree program and the cumulative GPA must be 3.0 or higher.

Students who do not intend to pursue a graduate degree, but want to take graduate level courses for personal enrichment or professional development, should also apply for non-degree status with The Graduate School. Information on applying for non-degree graduate status may be obtained at The Graduate School website.

The requirements for admission into this category are the possession of a bachelor’s degree earned from an accredited United States institution of higher education or an equivalent degree from a foreign educational institution and an acceptable Test Of English as a Foreign Language, if required. (A minimum TOEFL score of 25 is required for admission to the M.Eng. degree program.) Non-degree students are permitted to take courses for credit or audit.

However, students who are interested in taking acoustics distance education courses as a non-degree student should be aware that our graduate level courses in acoustics are rigorous and require a sufficient background in math and physics. In order to succeed in our graduate courses, it is expected that all students have an undergraduate background that includes a minimum of two semesters of calculus-based physics and at least four semesters of mathematics to include complex variables and differential equations.



Founded in 1965, Penn State's Graduate Program in Acoustics has become the leading resource for graduate education in acoustics in the United States. The interdisciplinary program leads to the degrees: Master of Engineering in Acoustics (M.Eng.), Master of Science in Acoustics (M.S.), and Doctor of Philosophy in Acoustics (Ph.D.)

Graduate Program in Acoustics

College of Engineering

The Pennsylvania State University

201 Applied Science Building

University Park, PA 16802