International Applicants

A quality education should help you explore new ideas and different ways of approaching problems.

For this reason, our international student population, which comprises about 25% of each year's full-time class, is an extremely important part of our academic program. Most international students come to Fels to learn American public management techniques, which they then put into practice in their home countries after graduation, but American students benefit just as much by learning about the strategies used to address common challenges in other countries.

We aim for diversity, so our international students hail from all parts of the globe, including Britain, India, Japan, Ghana, Korea, Mexico, Pakistan, Peru, Spain, and Thailand. Most have professional experience, often in local or national government, NGOs or international organizations, or in the private sector. Over the years, we've hosted a number of Fulbright and Thouron Fellows as well as individuals sponsored by their employers.

Applying to graduate programs in the United States can be a confusing process. In anticipation of the questions you may have, we have created a page of Frequently Asked Questions to help make the application process easier. Also, please review the following:

All international applicants must submit:

Translated transcripts: WES Credential Evaluation for International Transcripts

  • If your post-secondary credentials are from an institution outside the US, you are required to submit all post-secondary credentials* (undergraduate and graduate) to World Education Services Inc. (WES), a third-party verification agency for a course-by-course evaluation. Your application will be reviewed by the admissions committee once the WES evaluation is received.
  • WES must complete a course-by-course evaluation of all post-secondary credentials. The course-by-course evaluation should include the comparability level of your education and list each of your courses along with the equivalent US marks and credit. Please select the WES basic course-by-course evaluation (with GPA and course levels) and request that WES send your evaluation to our school's admissions office. The school can be found by searching the University of Pennsylvania and then selecting College of Liberal and Professional Studies. The evaluation provided becomes an official academic record upon its receipt.
  • WES evaluations will be reviewed, and the determination of degree equivalency to US degrees is at the discretion of the admissions committee.


  • International applicants whose first language is not English must also submit Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores to demonstrate English proficiency. Please note that the TOEFL is rarely waived; therefore, we encourage applicants to take the test to avoid delays in completing the application. The minimum TOEFL scores required for admissions consideration are 100 (iBT), 250 (CBT), or 600 (PBT). The TOEFL must be sent from ETS using the institutional code 2986. To locate a testing site near you or schedule an exam, visit the TOEFL website. International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is also accepted, and the minimum score for consideration is a 7. You may upload a copy of your IELTS test to the standardized test score section of the application.
  • GRE and TOEFL scores must be sent to code 2986, U Pennsylvania Coll Lib Prof Stdy, which is the office that processes applications for Fels.

Standardized test scores

  • All international applicants MUST submit standardized test scores.
  • Applicants taking the GRE should submit their scores to code 2986 (no department code is necessary).
  • LSAT scores are also accepted in lieu of GRE scores. Please note that LSAC will not report official scores to non-law/non-business schools. Applicants submitting LSAT should upload a copy of their score report to the online application.

With more than 100 countries represented at the University of Pennsylvania, international students at Fels join the largest community of international students in the Ivy League. Penn's International Student and Scholar Services provide assistance to the international community. They offer English classes, information about the Visa process and other immigration needs, as well as opportunities to meet other international students and get involved in campus life. Some students also get involved with the Philadelphia International House or the International Visitor's Council during their time here.

The intimate size of the MPA programs allows international students to be quickly welcomed into the Fels community and allows for close and enduring relationships with other students, faculty, and program administration.

International applicants should complete the same application as national students and will be considered for scholarships unless otherwise stated. To be considered for funding, no additional applications or proof of income is required. International applicants should have their transcripts translated into the American grading system by the translation service provider World Education Services (WES).

If you would like to speak to a current international student or alumnus or will be in the area and would like to schedule a campus visit, please email us at

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Contact Information

Fels Institute of Government
University of Pennsylvania
3814 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Phone: (215) 898-2600
Fax: (215) 746-2829