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Frequently Asked Questions

Fee Waivers
How do I apply for a fee waiver?
Applicants requesting a fee waiver can send their inquiries, with proof of financial need to  If you are a McNair Scholar, please mention that in your email and you will be granted the fee waiver.
I submitted a fee waiver, but I have not heard back. What should I do?
Fee waivers are processed through Graduate Division. They process hundreds of fee waiver requests each year, so requesting a waiver as early as possible is your best chance of receiving an application waiver. If you have questions about the status of your fee waiver, please contact the Graduate Divison directly at
Does the department have fee waivers for international students?
The University of Pennsylvania as an institution does not provide fee waivers for international students, including the Philosophy department. 
Application & Admissions
How do I apply? 
The application for admission to the Master’s and Doctoral program opens on October 1st and closes on December 15th at 11:59 pm P.S.T. You can apply HERE
I submitted the wrong document to my application! Can I switch them out?
Please contact the graduate coordinator for assistance.
I haven't heard back about my application. Who should I talk to?
The Penn Philosophy doctoral program receives between 150 - 200 applications each year. The admissions committee reviews the applications throughout the month of January and February. Applicants should not expect to hear until late February or early March. Please do not contact the department for updates on your application.
When should I expect to hear back about my application?
Applicants should not expect to hear until late February or early March. 
My letters of recommendation were not submitted by the Dec 1st deadline! Will my application be discarded?
Letters of recommendation do not have to be submitted by the Dec 1st deadline, as long as your application was submitted in time. Recommenders have until December 31st to submit their letters. Applications start to be reviewed in early January so please encourage your letter writers to submit by the December 31st deadline.
Standardized Testing Scores
Are GRE scores required?
GRE scores are not required by the philosophy department for admission in the doctoral program and will not be considered if they are sent.
Is there a minimum score that I need to score on the TOEFL / IELTS to be considered?
The department considers applicants using a holistic approach. For that reason, there are no minimum requirements but competitive applicants typically have either (1) a composite score of 100 or above on the TOEFL or (2) an overall band score of 7 or above on the IELTS. All applicants must demonstrate consistent competence in all four sections of the exams (reading, listening, speaking, and writing).
What is the institutional code to submit my TOEFL / IELTS scores?
The institution code for electronically submitting scores to GAS is 2926.
I'm an international candidate that graduated from a school or university that primarily used the English language. Do I still need a TOEFL/ IELTS?
If you have completed a degree in higher education from an institution in which the medium language of instruction is English, we are able to waive the TOEFL/ IELTS requirement. To request the testing scores be waived:

  1. Uploaded your unofficial transcripts to the graduate application
  2. Complete and submit the graduate application
  3. Send the graduate coordinator an email requesting the English Language Test requirement be waived

General Inquiries
Please note, the best way to contact the department about questions is by email. To be fair to all applicants who have submitted information requests, phone calls will not be answered or returned. Emails will be answered in the order they are received. During peak admissions season, it may take up to a week for faculty or staff to respond to email. Please be patient while we work to assist everyone with their admissions needs. 

  • If you have questions about your application or submitting materials for consideration, please contact the Graduate Coordinator
  • If you have questions about the department, curriculum, or structure of the program, please contact the Graduate Chair.