The Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences

Ecology Admission Requirements

Criteria you need to meet to be considered for admission to the Intercollege Graduate Degree Program in Ecology at Penn State.

Most applicants have undergraduate degrees in ecology, biology, fish and wildlife, forestry, or natural resources. However, applicants with other backgrounds are welcome to apply.

Students are selected by an Admissions Committee on the basis of overall promise for graduate work. To be considered for admission, you must have:

Note: International applicants are exempt from the TOEFL/IELTS requirement who have received a baccalaureate or a masters degree from a college/university/institution in any of the following countries:

  • An appropriate academic background, including a minimum Grade Point Average of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) during the last two years (junior/senior) of a bachelor's degree at an accredited college or university.
    • Ideally, you should have taken at least three undergraduate classes in the biological sciences (e.g., biology, ecology, physiology) as well as a minimum of five undergraduate courses in the physical sciences and mathematics with at least one course each in chemistry, physics, calculus.
    • However, a limited number of course deficiencies in these subjects may be remedied by taking undergraduate courses while a graduate student. Deficiencies must be made up in the first few semesters after admission.
  • Satisfactory GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) Aptitude Test scores. The general test is required; the subject test in Biology is optional.
    • Institution code: 2660
    • Department code: 0207
  • Proficiency in the English language. With some exceptions (noted below), international candidates are required to take the TOEFL (Test Of English as a Foreign Language) or the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) and submit the results of the test with application for admission.
    • Minimum acceptable TOEFL scores are: 550 on the paper test, 213 on the computer-based test, or 80 points on the internet-based test with a minimum of 20 points on the speaking portion. (Please note that this speaking score requirement is more stringent than that of the Grad School).
      • Institution code: 2660
      • Department code: 30
    • The minimum composite score for the IELTS is 6.5.
    • Australia
    • Belize
    • British Caribbean and British West Indies
    • Canada (except Quebec)
    • England
    • Guyana
    • Republic of Ireland
    • Liberia
    • New Zealand
    • Northern Ireland
    • Scotland
    • United States
    • Wales

    You must also complete the forms and send us the materials outlined in the instructions on how to apply.


    Commitment from a faculty member

    You need a commitment from an Ecology faculty member to serve as your adviser before admission will be granted. The adviser may be able to help the student obtain financial aid. Therefore, applicants are urged to initiate communication with the appropriate faculty member(s) as early as possible.



    Although applications will be accepted throughout the year, applicants are encouraged to submit materials before January 6. Complete applications that are received on or before December 15 will be given first consideration.


    Students are admitted in the Fall of each year.