FAQ

Do I have to have a bachelor's degree in engineering in order to apply to one of your programs?

Some of our programs do require a BS in Engineering. However, several of our programs do not. We recommend examining the description and prerequisites for our programs. You can also contact the department directly to discuss your specific background:

Can I apply if I have not yet completed my bachelor's degree?

Yes, you can apply while you are completing the last year of your bachelor's degree. You'll need to submit transcripts that are current at that time. If admitted, you will be required to submit a final transcript and proof that you have received your degree prior to matriculation.

What if I do not have a background in science or engineering?

We strongly recommend examining the description and prerequisites for our programs. If your specific degree is not in an engineering or science discipline, it may be possible to be admitted depending on the program and your background. Some programs may require taking certain prerequisites prior to beginning your degree. You can also contact the department directly to discuss your specific background.

What are the prerequisites for admission?

Aside from successful completion of a bachelor's degree we do not have a centralized list of prerequisites. Each program makes its own decision and has its own criteria for admission. You can view some of these criteria on the program description pages, here:

For more specific information, please check directly with the department.

Should I contact faculty members prior to applying for the program for support for my application?

No, it is not necessary to contact Penn faculty prior to applying for your program. If you have questions about the program, courses, or research, you are welcome to reach out to the department/s of interest. You can find their information here.

Do you accept transfer master's students?

Master's students may request transfer of up to 2 graduate level-courses completed elsewhere or prior to enrollment in the program. Once you have been admitted, please contact your program to find out if they will accept any transfer credit.

Can I pursue multiple programs at once?

Yes. We have several multiple degree options. Students may do a dual degree within Penn Engineering. You can find more information here.

Can I apply directly to a Ph.D. program if I only have a bachelor's degree?

Yes.

When is your application deadline?

Most master's programs have two deadlines: November 15 and March 15. There is no difference between the two except for when you receive your decision notice. The MSE: IPD program deadline is Feb. 1.

The doctoral programs have different deadlines depending on the program. The most up-to-date deadlines can be found here.

Can I pursue a master's program part-time?

Yes, you can potentially pursue a master's degree part-time. Once you have been admitted you can discuss this with your program. It will depend on the flexibility of your schedule and the requirements of your program. However, International Students are not eligible to for part-time enrollment.

Can I pursue the master's program if I work full-time?

Yes, you can potentially pursue a master's degree if you work full-time. Most of our courses are offered during the day, with the latest beginning at 4:30 p.m., so it depends on the flexibility of our schedule.

Do you offer evening and weekend graduate courses?

No, we do not offer evening or weekend courses. The latest courses typically begin at 4:30 p.m. Some of our programs allow students to take courses at other schools within the University which may have later start times.

Is there a non-degree option?

No, Penn Engineering does not have a non-degree enrollment option.

Can I switch programs once I'm admitted?

Yes. After one semester, students may request transfer into one of the other engineering master's programs. Approval is based on a review by the current program and approval by the new program.

Can I switch to a Ph.D. program before I finish my master's?

Yes, you can switch to a Ph.D. program before completing your master's. You will need to go through the application process and admission is not guaranteed. You should begin by talking to faculty and staff of the Ph.D. program you are interested in regarding the program's requirements.

Does the master's degree require a thesis?

No, our master's programs do not require a thesis. Most of our programs allow students to complete their program either completely with coursework or with 2-3 credits worth of research towards a thesis or an independent study.

How long does it take to complete a master's degree?

Our programs can generally be completed in 1 to 2 years depending on how many courses a student takes each semester.

How many courses does a student have to take to complete the program?

All of the master's programs require 10 course units (Penn's “credit”), except for Biotechnology, which requires 11. While most of our courses are 1cu, a small number are .5, so overall students may end up taking 10-12 courses for the degree depending on the program and their course choices.

Would I automatically get a master's degree while pursuing a Ph.D.?

No, students in a Ph.D. program do not automatically receive a master's. A Ph.D. candidate is welcome to talk to their department about coordinating their Ph.D. coursework with the master's requirements, so that they can get that degree as well.

How much will the master's program cost?

Engineering graduate tuition is charged per course unit (Penn's credit), not per semester or year. How much a student pays per term will depend on the number of courses they're registered for. The overall degree can cost from approximately $55,000US to $63,000US. Please visit this link for more information.

Are financial aid, scholarships/fellowships, assistantships available?

The School of Engineering and Applied Science does not provide financial assistance for master's students. Master's students may apply for a limited number of positions as research assistants and teaching assistants. Upon enrollment to a master's program, students may contact the program department to check availability of assistantships and other research opportunities.

How do students pay for the program?

It varies from one student to the next: loans, external scholarships/grants, private funds, part-time job, etc.

Is it possible to work on campus to help with tuition?

Students are welcome to apply for part time jobs on campus, but there is no formal association between an on campus job and tuition. Students may qualify for work study positions upon the completion of their financial aid application.

Is there professional development available for students?

The University's Career Services office offers a great deal of professional services for the students. They offer various events, seminars, etc to help students with resume writing, interview skills and many other topics of interest to students preparing for entering the workforce or continuing to an advanced degree. The department does not provide funding for master's students professional development.

Does the school help students find internships and full-time jobs?

The University's Career Services office is an excellent resource for students. They manage all on campus recruiting which includes company presentations and interviews.

Is the campus safe?

Yes. The University of Pennsylvania has its very own campus police force. In addition, the Philadelphia Police also patrol in and around campus. The university employs security officers as well. There are officers on the streets, on bikes and foot. There are shuttles and other services available for making sure students are safe as they travel on and around campus at night. You can go to the Penn Police website and learn more here.

Where do graduate students live?

Penn has on campus housing for our graduate as well as undergraduate students. Students also live off campus and we have an office that will help you with that search. Both of our housing offices are extremely informative and helpful.

Can a graduate student participate in student organizations and activities?

Yes. There are several student organizations specifically for graduate students both in the Engineering School and the University at large. The School offers a wide array of resources for master's and doctoral students. In addition, the Graduate Student Center is a terrific resource for the entire Graduate Student population at Penn.

May I contact faculty, students, alumni from the program(s) that I'm interested in?

Yes, we encourage prospective students to contact the specific department you are interested in for more information. A list can be found here.

Can I visit campus?

Please contact your department of interest to schedule a visit. Then check out our Visit Penn Engineering page for for more information to help with your visit.

What do students do after graduation?

A student's own goals and academic experience often shape what path they take after graduation. Some will go out into industry while others pursue further degrees (PhD, MD, JD or MBA). You can find out about our alumni by checking out Penn Engineering magazine.

Alumni often get involved with mentoring current students and you can find out more information about this process here.

I have a question not covered here, who can I contact?

Feel free to contact the Graduate Admissions office with questions specifically related to the application process or Graduate Recruiting with general questions regarding pursuing your master's or doctoral degree at Penn Engineering. You can also contact the specific department(s) you are interested in applying to with your questions.