Admission Process

Global Labor University students standing as a groupApplicants must hold either (1) a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or (2) a tertiary (postsecondary) degree that is deemed comparable to a four-year bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution.  This degree must be from an officially recognized degree-granting institution in the country in which it operates.  Students who do not have a GPA of 3.0 will be considered on a case-by-case basis depending on the quality of their overall application. Applicants who are still completing their baccalaureate requirements at the time of application may be admitted to the Graduate School conditional on the awarding of the baccalaureate degree. Students are also expected to have a minimum of three years of full-time work experience in some area related to labor unions or worker-oriented research/employment for admission. Exceptions may be made by the program chair.

Admission decisions for the program are based on the quality of the applicant's credentials as determined by a review of the complete application portfolio. During the admission process, students who seem better suited for a different graduate program will be encouraged to apply to the appropriate program.

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

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

The following supporting documentation should also be electronically uploaded through the application portal:

  • A personal statement: a 2-3 page essay explaining your background in the area of workers' rights and articulating why you are interested in earning a master's degree in labor and global workers' rights. Please consult our program curriculum
  • Documentation of a minimum of three years of full-time work related to workers' rights and a resume should be attached as a supplement;
  • Three letters of recommendation that attest to the applicant's readiness for graduate study and document the requisite minimum of three years of work experience. You will enter the names and email addresses of your references in the graduate application.  Once you submit your application, your references will be contacted electronically to complete a recommendation for you.
  • Transcripts: Applicants are required to electronically upload copies of transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended, in the language of instruction (and copies of an official English translation if English is not the language of instruction).  Applicants recommended for admission who accept an offer through the online graduate admission system will be notified by the Graduate School that the official/original transcripts/documents must be sent from the originating institutions in the official language of the institution(s) attended (and if the language of instruction is not English, an English translation must also be sent).  The Graduate School will review all official documents to finalize the offer of admission.  An offer of admission will be revoked if official/original documents are not received by the Graduate School within the specified deadlines, or if official/original documents differ from the copies uploaded by the applicant prior to the offer of admission.  For applicants whose degree conferral is in progress at the time of uploading copies, the deadline specified for receipt of official/original documents will allow for the passage of the reported date of degree conferral, and that conferral must be confirmed on the official/original documents received by the Graduate School, in order for the offer of admission to be finalized.


International Students must submit the following additional items with their application:

Because the language of instruction at Penn State is English, international applicants must take and submit scores for the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or the IELTS (International English Language Testing System), with the exceptions noted below. The minimum acceptable score for the TOEFL is 550 for the paper-based test, 213 for the computer-based test, or a total score of 80 with a 19 on the speaking section for the internet-based test (iBT).  The minimum acceptable composite score for the IELTS is 6.5.

  • International applicants are exempt from the TOEFL/IELTS requirement who have received a baccalaureate or a graduate degree from a college/university/institution in any of the following countries: Australia, Belize, British Caribbean, and British West Indies, Canada (except Quebec), England, Guyana, Republic of Ireland, Liberia, New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Scotland, the United States, and Wales.

The Graduate School application must be submitted electronically. This reduces your processing time and ensures receipt of your application. The deadline for LGWR application submission is March 1st  (ALL materials must be submitted by this deadline).