Graduate Admissions

Information for International Applicants


Applicants who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents are encouraged to submit their applications early, to ensure that all supporting materials are received by the Office of Admissions by the deadline. More information specifically for our international student community can be found at the International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) website.

A helpful site to visit during your application process is EducationUSA. This website provides information and a list of advising centers in your country that can help you begin your graduate studies in the United States.

Please note that you do not need to submit financial documentation until after you are admitted to a PennDesign program unless you are applying for financial aid.


Check Your Email Setting

Universities in the US tend to have some difficulty sending emails to or receiving emails from some international email addresses due to firewall issues and restrictions. In the meantime, we recommend setting up an email address through Yahoo or Gmail in order to keep any contact issues to a minimum.

Official Transcripts

If you have completed, or are currently completing, undergraduate and/or graduate degrees from institutions outside of the United States, you are required to submit a course by course evaluation for each institution attended from World Education Services. If you receive your degree after you are admitted, you will need to submit an upgraded WES evaluation showing successful completion of your degree prior to entering PennDesign.


All international applicants whose native language is not English and whose undergraduate training of at least 4 years has not been conducted in the English language must submit satisfactory certification of adequate English proficiency sufficient to pursue graduate study prior to consideration for admission. This certification will encompass both comprehension and expression in the spoken and written word. Applicants must submit scores of either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), Pearson's PTE Academic, or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS Academic). Applicants may register for the IELTS Academic at, for the PTE at, and for the TOEFL at The correct institution code to use when requesting official TOEFL scores is 2926; you do not need a departmental code. Candidates admitted to the School of Design may be required to successfully complete an English Language Program prior to matriculation. To be admitted without conditions, most departments require applicants to obtain a TOEFL score of 100 (internet-based) or higher, a PTE Academic score of 68 or higher, or an IELTS band score of 7.0 or higher.

Obtaining Your Visa

After you officially accept our offer of admission to the School of Design by submitting your enrollment form, you will be assigned a nine-digit Student ID Number that you will use to log into our Office of International Student and Scholars Services' iPenn Services website. This website allows you to apply on-line for the immigration document (Form I-20 or DS-2019). After you fill out the online application form, you will be asked to upload your financial certification and passport copy. It will take International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) up to 3 weeks to process this information and send you your I-20/DS-2019. Once you receive your I-20 or DS-2019 form from ISSS, you will need to schedule a visa appointment with your local US Embassy or Consulate. ISSS has put together a useful video describing the visa application process here:

Foreign Nationals and Architecture Accreditation

Although students who are foreign nationals and who hold a professional degree such as a Bachelor of Architecture from their home country will not be considered for our accredited MArch program, it is still possible for them to seek licensure in the US with their degree through the NAAB. The three main requirements one must fulfill to be licensed in a U.S. jurisdiction include education, experience, and examination. To have your education evaluated by NAAB through their Education Evaluation Services for Architects (EESA) program, you can access the application at: Once your credentials have been evaluated, you will need to fulfill the training and examination requirements before you can be licensed. For more details about the accreditation process, go to