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Penn State University is actually the commonly used abbreviated name for the Pennsylvania State University, which is a public research university, spreading its campuses and facilities throughout the US state of Pennsylvania. Its main campus is known as University Park and, being the largest of 24 campuses, lies within the Borough of State College and College Township, Pennsylvania. The university itself was established in 1855, stressing on a mission of teaching, research, and public service.

A notable point about Penn State is that it established itself as a leader in diversity, when it accepted two women in 1871 and an African-American student in 1899. Furthermore, Penn State was one of the first schools to insist on integration in athletics. Consequently, it would not be a surprise to mention that the university prides the largest student-run philanthropy in the world, the Penn State IFC Dance Marathon, also known as THON. It also has one of the top intercollegiate athletic programs in the USA.

Penn State University is one of America’s Public Ivy universities; it is ranked among the top 15 public universities in the US, and offers more than 160 major degrees on its campuses. Annually, about 44,000 students are enrolled at the institution, while in 2008 it was ranked 11th among US universities in research income by the National Science Foundation.

In 2000, Penn State merged with the Dickinson School of Law, which was founded in 1834 and is the oldest law school in Pennsylvania. Currently students can choose between classes in either Carlisle or University Park, with lectures teleconferenced between the two locations using high-tech audiovisual equipment. The school is ranked among the top 100 law schools nationally, having produced a number of governors, members of congress, and judges.

Penn State has clearly set a vision for the future, which stresses on advanced global presence and sustainability, enhanced student success, improving diversity, serving the community, and applying the latest technology to expand opportunities.

As already discussed earlier, the largest of all campuses of the university is University Park, located in the State College borough, near the geographic center of Pennsylvania. It is the most selective campus within the system, mostly because students normally select University Park as their first-choice campus. The University Park Campus is composed of the following schools and colleges: the College of Agricultural Sciences, the College of Arts and Architecture, the Smeal College of Business, the College of Communications, the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, the College of Education, the College of Engineering, the College of Health and Human Development, the School of Information Sciences and Technology, the College of the Liberal Arts, the Eberly College of Science, and the Graduate School. On the main campus one can also find a theatre, two auditoriums, an art museum, and several other galleries, together with a number of research institutes.

On top of the University Park campus, undergraduate students are accepted in 19 other campus locations throughout the state. Over 60 percent of all students start their education at one of these campuses that actually offer a limited number of degree programs. Still, if a student achieves good academic success, they can have the opportunity to finish their degree at the main campus. Most of the students do this, and the procedure is known as ‘change of assignment’.

Finally, the university also operates the so-called ‘special mission campuses’. For example, Penn State Great Valley School of Graduate Professional Studies is such a special mission campus, located in Malvern, Pa. It offers master's degrees, master's certification, continuing professional education, as well as classes at the old Philadelphia Naval Shipyard.

Penn State Hershey Medical Center and College of Medicine located in Hershey, Pa. is Penn State's medical school and teaching hospital. Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center has become only the ninth hospital in the United States and 16th worldwide to implant the CardioWest temporary Total Artificial Heart, when a 60-year-old man suffering from end-stage heart failure received the device in May, 2008.

The Penn State World Campus was established in 1998, and offers more than 60 online education programs, degrees, and certificates. This is not surprising, because the university has a tradition in distance learning, as it was one of the first universities in the country to offer a correspondence course for remote farmers in 1892. Some options for online study are an MBA, master of professional studies in homeland security, a bachelor of science in nursing, and post baccalaureate certificates in geographic information systems and applied behavior analysis. Overall, the university’s World Campus offers 18 graduate degrees, 21 graduate certificates, 17 undergraduate degrees, and 11 undergraduate certificates. Online students come from 50 U.S. states, more than 40 countries, and all 7 continents.

All Programs Available:
  • Architecture, Building and Landscape
    • Landscape Architecture
  • Arts, Design and Crafts
    • Visual Arts
    • Graphic Design
    • Musical Theatre
    • Music Education
    • Art Studies
    • Music
    • Music Composition
    • Theatre
    • Performing Arts
  • Business
    • Art Management
    • Environmental Technology Management
    • Public Relations
    • Management
    • International Business
    • Marketing
    • Agro-Environmental Systems Management
    • Advertising
    • Supply Chain Management
    • Labour Management
    • Security Management
    • Business Studies
    • Corporate Communication
    • Parks and Recreation Management
    • Business Economics
    • Risk Management
    • Community Manager
    • Agribusiness
  • Communications
    • Creative Writing
    • Media Studies
    • Journalism
    • Cinema/Film Studies
    • Communications
    • Video
  • Computing
    • Information Systems Management
    • Information Technology
    • Management Information Systems
  • Economics
    • Economics
  • Education
    • Elementary Education
    • Kindergarten Teacher
    • Secondary Education
    • Early Childhood Education
    • Work Education
    • Special Education
    • Education
  • Engineering
    • Architectural Engineering
    • Engineering Science
    • Environmental Engineering
    • Petroleum Engineering
    • Materials Engineering
    • Electro-Mechanical Engineering Technology
    • Aerospace Engineering
    • Nuclear Engineering
    • Software Engineering
    • Mining Engineering
    • Electrical Engineering
    • Mechanical Engineering
    • Civil Engineering
    • Rail Transportation Engineering
    • Biological Engineering
    • Telecommunications
    • Surveying Engineering
    • Energy Engineering
    • Chemical Engineering
    • Computer Engineering
    • Bioengineering
    • Industrial Engineering
  • Finance
    • Finance
    • Accounting
  • Health
    • Veterinary Medicine
    • Immunology
    • Kinesiology
    • Rehabilitation
    • Nursing
    • Nutrition and Health
    • Health Occupations
    • Toxicology
    • Microbiology
  • Hospitality, Leisure, Tourism and Travel
    • Tourism Management
    • Hotel Management
  • Human Studies and Services
    • Family Sciences
    • Human Services
    • Applied Psychology
    • Child and Adolescent Services
    • Human Development
  • Humanities
    • Comparative Literature
    • Art History
    • Philosophy
    • Ancient Mediterranean Civilizations
    • History
    • Interdisciplinary Studies
    • International Studies
    • Religious Studies
    • Liberal Arts
  • Industries
    • Fisheries
  • Law
    • Criminal Justice
    • Law and Society
  • Occupational Training
    • Woodwork and Furniture Making
  • Philology, Languages, Literature
    • Chinese Language and Literature (in Universities)
    • Letters and Sciences
    • Spanish Language and Literature (in Universities)
    • Professional Writing
    • German language and literature (in Universities)
    • Russian Language and Literature (in Universities)
    • Classics
    • English Language and Literature (in Universities)
    • Italian Language and Literature (in Universities)
    • Japanese Language and Culture (in Universities)
    • French Language and Literature (in Universities)
  • Pre-Professional Studies
    • Pre-Medical Technology
    • Pre-Medicine
  • Public Administration and Services
    • International Politics
    • Public Policy
    • Justice Studies
  • Sciences
    • Agroecology
    • Wildlife Resources
    • Athletics and exercise science
    • Applied Behavioral Science
    • Geobiology
    • Naval Sciences
    • Biological Anthropology
    • Infectious Diseases
    • Sustainable Energy
    • Geosciences
    • Biology
    • Astronomy
    • Forensic Science
    • Work Science
    • Labor and Work Place
    • Biochemistry
    • Materials Science
    • Sciences
    • Geography
    • Computer Science
    • Statistics
    • Actuarial Science
    • Anthropology
    • Environmental Studies
    • Political Science
    • Physics
    • Mathematics
    • Psychology
    • Chemistry
    • Sociology
    • Food Sciences and Technology
    • Archeology
    • Animal Science
    • Energy Sciences
    • Agriculture
    • Astrophysics
    • Biomedical Sciences
    • Information Science
    • Horticulture
    • Forestry
    • Earth Sciences
    • Meteorology
    • Social Sciences
    • Cellular and Molecular Biology
  • Social and Cultural studies
    • Medieval Studies
    • African Studies
    • American Studies
    • Jewish Studies
    • Asian Studies
    • Women’s Studies
    • Global Studies
    • Afro-American Studies
    • Social Studies
    • Latin American Studies
  • Technology
    • Electrical Technology
    • Mechanical Engineering Technology
    • Construction Management Engineering Technology
    • Plastics Engineering Technology
    • Agricultural Technology
    • Electrical Engineering Technology
    • Information Technology Systems
    • Aerospace Studies
    • Computer Engineering Technology
Language of instruction


Type of school

Private University




201 Old Main, University Park, Pennsylvania, The United States

More information about Academic Programs

The University Park campus is organized into 14 distinct "colleges". The School of International Affairs, which was founded in 2007 and accepted its first classes in 2008, is part of the Dickinson School of Law at the University Park location. The College of Nursing is a separate college since 2008.

  • College of Agricultural Sciences
  • College of Arts and Architecture
  • Smeal College of Business
  • College of Communications
  • Penn State Dickinson School of Law
  • College of Earth and Mineral Sciences
  • College of Education
  • College of Engineering
  • Penn State College of Health and Human Development
  • College of Information Sciences and Technology
  • College of the Liberal Arts
  • Eberly College of Science
  • Graduate School
  • Schreyer Honors College

Admission Requirements

For admission to the university, the GPA standardized scores are not the main decision-drivers. Other factors are very important, too, and they include personal statement and activities list.

Besides, there are high-school requirements that include a certain amount of units in English, Social Studies/Arts/Humanities, World Language, Science, and Math.

For international students, all documents should be submitted in the native language, together with a line-by-line translation. All academic records submitted have to be original, which means either originals, or copies certified by the examination board. All students are expected to have completed courses in mathematics, physical science, social science and language in all years of high school.

Proof of proficiency in the English language is vital, too:

  • TOEFL: A minimum TOEFL score of 80 on the Internet-based TOEFL or 550 on the paper exam ;
  • IELTS: A minimum IELTS score of 6.5 on the academic test
  • SAT score of 530 or higher on the critical reading section
  • ACT score of 24 or higher on the English section ;
  • IGCSE score of A, B, or C on the English language exam,
  • IB score of 5 or higher on the English A 1 or 2 exam.
  • IECP: Successful completion of Penn States Intensive English Communication Programs (IECP)

Applicants who have been in a U.S. college or university and have completed two years of full-time academic course work and have a grade of C (2.0) or higher in a standard English composition course will also meet the language proficiency requirement.

Financial Aid

The financial aid provided by the university is in the form of grants, scholarships, loans, and work-study programs. The most important point about financial aid is that special attention is given to athletes, with over 500 athletic scholarships provided in various NCAA sports. As far as undergraduates are concerned, the FAFSA should be submitted as soon as possible. All students are automatically considered for university-wide scholarships, and if you wish to apply for a certain field, you should do this in the department that offers them.

Loans are very popular, too, with over 70% of recipients of financial aid, using this option. Usually the Office of Student Aid assists with the application for the appropriate loan program for each student, including Perkins Loans, Stafford Loans, and the PLUS loan for parents of undergraduates.


Penn State University provides seven housing complexes located on the main campus: East Halls, North Halls, Pollock Halls, South Halls, West Halls, Eastview Terrace, & Nittany Apartments. Each complex encompasses a few buildings that are dormitories, and a commons building, which has lounges, the help desk for the complex, mailboxes for each dormitory room, a small food shop, and a cafeteria-style room. Different floors within a building in the complex may be a Special Living Option, meaning students can sign up for that floor if they are in that major. All first-year students are required to live on campus, but on-campus housing is not guaranteed for current students. An equal opportunities policy is followed for all activities, programs, and services within the university, which means housing is provided to students with disabilities, too. Finally, partial-year contracts are offered to students who are planning to graduate early or who will be away from campus for study abroad, student teaching, an internship, a co-op, or a leave of absence.

Services and Activities

Pennsylvania State University is committed to complementing student’s academic life with a good range of diverse activities, offering opportunities in leadership, social responsibility, citizenship, volunteering, and student employment. The university has about 780 student organizations, striving to provide an excellent mix of cultural, educational, social, and recreational programs.

The Union and Student Activities within the school is divided into the following units: Student Activities, Event Management, Fraternity and Sorority Life, Art Galleries, Commonwealth Student Activities, and Finance Office. The Student Activities unit has clearly set its value statement, including Inclusiveness, Exploration, Responsibility, Innovation, Collaboration, Leadership, and Integrity. Another fact worth mentioning is that the university has one of the biggest Greek systems within the country, with about 12% of students participating in sororities and fraternities.

The university is putting great efforts to keep its facilities up-to date and this is reflected through the constant machinery work going on campus. A few of the facilities that students stress on are The Smeal Trading Room in the Business Building, which was the first of its kind in the country, displaying real-time stock information. There is also the IST building in the west side of the campus, which is considered to be the most tech-savvy place within the university grounds. The HUB is the ‘epicenter’ of the campus, comprising restaurants, study lounges, auditoriums, and an art gallery.

Students are extremely happy with the athletic centers and gyms, which are constantly being renovated, too. The Patee/Paterno Library is huge, and it has books on all subjects, including books in foreign languages. It also has a media library where students can rent DVDs and CDs.

The Centre Area Transportation Authority provides a bus service on and around campus. There is also a shuttle, available for students, faculty and staff. The shuttle operates every weekday from 7:00 a.m. to 6.00 pm.

State College is situated in the heart of Pennsylvania and is the center of the Penn State community’s branch campuses. Some of the local attractions worth mentioning are the Mount Nittany Vineyards and Winery, Penn’s Cave, the PSU golf courses, and Bald Eagle State Park. State College is also home to numerous museums and galleries, including the Matson Museum of Anthropology, Earth & Mineral Sciences Museum, and the Frost Entomological Museum.

The population of State College is doubled during the spring, when a lot of visitors come from across the country. This is also the time when a lot of the students turn 21 and bars become fuller, too. The most popular ones are Indigo and Cellblock.

As far as the area surrounding State College is concerned, it is almost always undergoing development, with new shopping plazas, restaurants, and movie theaters being constructed yearly.