Steps for applying for admission to the Rural Sociology Graduate Program

We are currently only accepting applications for Fall admission. The deadline annually is December 15.

  1. Complete the official Graduate School Application

    Applicants must complete Penn State's Graduate School application. Here is how to apply:

    If you are ready to proceed to the application but have NOT read the Graduate School requirements, please visit that website at

    If you have read the Graduate School and program requirements and are ready to apply, you may proceed to the application at

    • Follow the procedures at the Graduate School Admissions and Program Information Portal and pay the application fee online using a credit card. You can check the status of your application at the Graduate Application Status Inquiry page. Application fee information can be found here with more information available on the Information for Prospective Students page.

    • You must submit (scan/upload) copies of official transcripts/documents (for institutions outside the U.S. documents may include marksheets, record of courses, degree/study certificate, original diploma, etc) from all post-secondary institutions attended and official English translation (if the language of instruction is not English). If admission is offered and accepted, then you will need to submit the official transcripts (or international equivalent as stated above) directly to the Graduate School.

  2. Complete the following documents in addition to the official graduate school application.

    • Transcripts scan/upload directly into the graduate application as indicated above.

    • Three letters of reference from persons familiar with your academic abilities and potential. These should be uploaded directly into the application.

    • A Curriculum Vitae or Résumé upload directly into the graduate application.

    • Statement of Purpose upload a statement of purpose (maximum of 2 pages, single spaced, standard margin and font) that answers the following questions:

      1) What are your professional goals?
      2) What are your research interests?
      3) What academic, professional, and/or personal experiences have informed your research interests and professional goals?
      4) Why have you chosen to apply to Penn State's Rural Sociology program? What interests you about the field, and our program specifically?
      5) What particular strengths, experiences, and qualities would benefit you as a graduate student? How would these contribute to our program overall?

    • Optional: Official report of GRE general test scores (verbal, quantitative, analytical). If submitted, GRE scores will be considered as part of a holistic evaluation process. Applications that do not include GRE scores will be given equal consideration.

    • An official report of results of the Test of English as Foreign Language (TOEFL) if English is not your native language. Please see the Graduate School requirements page for more information.

    Materials must be submitted to the GRADS portal.

    For more information, please contact Erica Johnson.