Information for International Students

Information for International Students

Penn State University and the School of Labor and Employment Relations value racial, ethnic, and international diversity in its student body.

Our students’ diversity contributes to a vibrant community. Recently, our students have come from a variety of countries including Colombia, Nigeria, the Netherlands, the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, South Korea, Canada, India, and Italy.

Language Proficiency

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 or a total score of 80 with 19 on the speaking section on the internet-based test (iBT). The minimum acceptable composite score for the IELTS is 6.5.

  1. The TOEFL/IELTS is not needed for permanent U.S. residents or anyone with a Penn State or other U.S. institution’s undergraduate or Master’s degree, including international students.
  2. International applicants are exempt from the TOEFL/IELTS requirement if they have or about to receive a baccalaureate or 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. You must submit a transcript that shows you have attended college in one of these approved locations.

Financial Guarantee Requirements

The U.S. government requires schools to determine that individuals can meet expenses without resorting to unlawful employment or public funds. To be issued an I-20/DS-2019, you must:

  • Be admitted into a full-time program.
  • Provide proof of finances for the first year to receive an I-20 or provide proof of financing for the length of the program for a DS-2019.
  • Provide information/documentation for how your educational expenses will be supported in all succeeding years at Penn State.

Please visit Global Penn State for more information on these requirements as well as sources of scholarship and financial help.


It is important that international applicants understand that employment opportunities for full-time positions and internships in the U.S. are restricted by strict immigration laws. Because of this, an increasing number of U.S. organizations are only able to hire U.S. citizens and permanent residents. We provide career assistance and some of our international students are ultimately successful in obtaining internships and full-time employment with U.S. companies, but many are not. Although we will assist you in finding U.S. based internships and jobs, we cannot guarantee a U.S. based internship or job upon graduation.