How to Apply to the BBH Graduate Program


Applicants should be college graduates with an undergraduate (BA or BS) or master's degree, or a health professions degree in a relevant field (e.g., Psychology, Neuroscience, Health Promotion, Biology, Microbiology, Epidemiology, Biobehavioral Health, or others). A competitive candidate will tend to have: a 3.5 GPA or higher (3.0 minimum required ); GRE scores at 50th percentile or higher in all three core domains; three strong letters of recommendation; research or lab experience; and at least some basic training in statistical /quantitative methods (e.g., Introductory Statistics and Research Methods). Coursework or a Master’s degree is not required but is recognized as valuable. Similarly, publications and other accomplishments are valued but not required.
GRE scores are required for all prospective students. International students must also demonstrate competency in English (details below).

Application Process and Deadline

The process of applying for admission to the Graduate School at Penn State and to the Ph.D. Graduate Program in Biobehavioral Health requires the completion of an on-line application and other materials listed below. The deadline for submission of all application materials for fall semester is December 1st. Applications submitted by that date will be given full consideration; late applications may also be reviewed.

Codes for Testing

GRE Institution Code - 2660

TOEFL Institution Code - 2660

The Graduate School

If you are ready to proceed to the application but have not read the Graduate School requirements, please take a moment to review them here. If you have read the Graduate School and program requirements and are ready to apply, you may proceed to the application. For further information regarding the graduate school electronic application you may refer to the Graduate School website.

All Applicants

  1. Complete an online Graduate School Application
  2. Payment of the non-refundable graduate application fee
  3. Submit copies of official transcripts/documents (for institutions outside the U.S. documents may include marksheets, record of courses, degree/study certificate, original diploma, etc, from all post-secondary institutions attended and official English translation if the language of instruction is not English) (applicants will be directed to upload digital copies of documents during the electronic application process)
  4. Official scores from Graduate Record Examination Aptitude Test (GRE)
  5. Biographical sketch / CV (applicants will be directed to upload digital copies of documents during the electronic application process)
  6. Personal statement / essay (applicants will be directed to upload digital copies of documents during the electronic application process)
  7. Minimum grade point average of 3.00 on a 4.00 scale.
  8. Three letters of recommendation. Please see "list persons writing
    letters of reference" section via the electronic application.
  9. Student Interest Form(please complete and upload to the electronic application)
  10. If admission is offered and accepted, you will be notified directly, via email, by the Graduate School at Penn State with further instructions to complete the admissions process.
  11. If admission is offered and accepted, receipt by the Graduate School of official transcripts (or international equivalent as stated above) from all post-secondary institutions attended, together with an official English translation of all official documents if the language of instruction was not English will be required in addition to those digital versions uploaded during the application process.

International Applicants Only

The language of instruction at Penn State is English. All international applicants whose first language is not English must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOELF). Please have scores sent to institution code 2660.

TOFEL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) for The Department of Biobehavioral Health requires a minimum score of:

  • Paper-based: 600 for paper-based test
  • Computer-based: 250 for the computer-based test
  • Internet-based: Total score of 80 with a 20 on the speaking section for the internet-based test (iBT). Applicants with an iBT speaking score between 15 and 19 may be considered for provisional admission, which requires an institutional test of English proficiency upon first enrollment and, if necessary, remedial course work.
  • The minimum composite score for the IELTS is 6.5.

International applicants are only exempt from the TOEFL/IELTS requirement if they have received a baccalaureate or a master’s degree from a college/university/institution in any of the following: 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. If deemed necessary, the admissions committee may require an applicant to submit a TOEFL or IELTS score, regardless of their academic background and country of origin.

If the decision is made to extend offer of admission, the applicant will receive an offer letter. This offer is contingent upon verification of all academic credentials such as, to include but not limited to, academic transcripts, diplomas, test scores, etc. by the Graduate School. If approved, the Graduate School will process the offer and will automatically notify the University Office of Global Programs (UOGP) for action to commence the visa paperwork process. If the Graduate School does not approve the academic credentials, the offer of admission will automatically be withdrawn.

If approved, the University Office of Global Programs (UOGP) will contact the applicant directly to request all visa related documents.

If you are an international student who is interested in applying to the Graduate School at Penn State, please refer to the University Office of Global Programs for detailed information regarding the admissions process, essential pre-arrival information and other useful information for international students who are exploring the possibility of applying to Penn State.

The Graduate School will make the final admission decision.


If you have any questions on the status of your application, please contact Shannon Anthony (Graduate Program Staff Assistant) or 814-863-7424.