Students listen during a lecture.

Resident Admission Requirements

Application for admission to a Graduate Degree Program at Penn State is a two-step process. First you must apply for admission to the Graduate School. General requirements for admission to the Graduate School are given in the General Information section of the Graduate Bulletin and will not be repeated here. Secondly, you must apply for admission to the department or program that will be the student’s major — which for you would be the Graduate Program in Acoustics. Instructions for how and when to apply may be found on the “ How to Apply” page.

Admission Requirements

The graduate degrees offered by the Graduate Program in Acoustics (M.Eng., M.S., and Ph.D.) are advanced technical, engineering degrees and entering students are required to possess a minimum background in math, physics, and engineering. An applicant's undergraduate background must, at a minimum, include at least two semester of calculus-based physics and 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.

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, either in an accredited engineering curriculum or in some other program such as engineering, physics, or mathematics, will meet the minimum required background in math, physics, and engineering and can apply for admission to the Graduate Program in Acoustics.

An individual with a non-technical undergraduate degree (for example: an B.A. in Sound Recording Technology, or Music) may apply, but acceptance into the Program will depend significantly on the applicant's specific background and motives to pursue advanced study in acoustics. Some students may have to take additional courses, beyond their undergraduate degree, in order to meet the minimum required background in math, physics, and engineering

Regardless of the applicant’s background and motives, any and all students applying for admission must meet the following minimum requirements:

  • At least four semesters of calculus, including: Calculus 1 (derivatives), Calculus 2 (integrals), Calculus 3 (multivariable integrals), and Differential Equations. Familiarity with complex numbers is also expected.
  • At least two semesters of calculus-based physics: Physics 1 (Newtonian mechanics, energy, momentum, heat, waves), and Physics 2 (electricity and magnetism, circuits)

Applicants who do not meet these minimum math and physics requirements will not be admitted until they can prove that they meet the minimum background requirements.

*For International students who are required to submit TOEFL scores, in addition to the Graduate School’s requirements, the Acoustics Program requires a minimum speaking score of 25 for admission.

Admissions Committee

The Graduate Program in Acoustics maintains an Admissions Committee composed of three Acoustics Program faculty members. The Admissions Committee conducts an independent evaluation based on the information supplied by the applicant as described above. The committee considers the overall record of the applicant and places particular emphasis on courses taken, undergraduate cumulative grade point average (GPA), TOEFL scores (if required)*, and supporting letters. GRE scores will be considered if provided, but they are neither required nor expected.



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