Pennsylvania State University

201 Old Main, University Park, PA

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Campus image of Pennsylvania State University

Pennsylvania State University is located in University Park. It is a state-related, space grant, land grant public research facility. Also known as Penn State, the school has twenty-four campuses in Pennsylvania. University Park is the main and largest campus.


On February 22, 1855, Pennsylvania State University was established as the Farmer's High School of Pennsylvania. The name was changed to Agricultural College of Pennsylvania in 1862. In 1863, with the passing of the Morrill Land Grant Act, the school was chosen to be Pennsylvania's only land grand college. Within the next few years, enrolment fell because students were only able to acquire and agricultural education. In 1882, when George Atherton became president, the curriculum was broadened. Engineering studies were then offered. Penn State became one of the ten largest engineering schools in the US.

By the early 20th century, Penn State had grown considerably. In 1936, satellite campuses were established by President Don Hetzel in order to allow students of the Depression era to attend college. Since these students were needed to work at home during that time, without the satellite colleges, they wouldn't have been able to further their education.

School President Milton S. Eisenhower changed the name of the college to Pennsylvania State College in 1953 and the institution became state-related in 1970.


The University Park campus has 13 distinct colleges. They are:

  • College of Health and Human Development
  • College of Arts and Architecture
  • College of Agricultural Studies
  • College of Communications
  • College of Liberal Arts
  • College of Information Science and Technology
  • Penn State Dickinson School of Law
  • Smeal College of Business
  • Schreyer Honors College
  • College of Engineering
  • College of Education
  • Eberly College of Science
  • College of Earth and Mineral Sciences


Since 1945, the Applied Research Lab has partnered with the United States Department of Defense. Research is primarily in support of the US Navy.

The library system of Pennsylvania State University began with 1500 book. Today it houses 500,000 maps, 5.2 million books, 180,000 films and videos and 5 million microforms.

Pennsylvania State University's University Park campus also hosts a Radiation Science and Engineering Center.

Student Life

Pennsylvania State University has one of the largest Greek communities in the US. In 1888, the Penn State Glee Club was founded. It is the oldest student organization on campus. Each year the Glee Club takes a spring break tour, which has taken them to a multitude of destination world-wide.

The Penn State Paranormal Research Society has earned an abundance of media attention in recent years. The A&E Network is working with the university to develop a reality series. Some filming will be done on campus.

Each year in February, students take place in the Penn State Dance Marathon. Millions of dollars are raised annually for pediatric cancer care and research.


Penn State's student newspaper is The Daily Collegian. Since 1996, an online version called The Digital Collegean has appeared online.

Radio station WKPS-FM was founded in 1995.  It broadcasts from the ground floor of the HUB-Robeson Center. It serves the State College and Penn State communities.


At one time a type of mountain lion roamed the University Park area. The Penn State mascot is the Nitany Lion. Some Penn State teams include:

  • Football
  • Soccer
  • Basketball
  • Volleyball
  • Lacrosse
  • Fencing
  • Women's rugby
  • Boxing
  • Gymnastics

Community Life

There is much to see and do in the University Park area. Take in the Arboretum at Penn State, which is also known as H.O. Smith Botanical Gardens.

Visit Penn State University creamery, also known as Berkey Creamery. Enjoy an ice cream or sherbet or purchase delicious cheese, all produced by the Department of Food and Science.

Take in a football game at Beaver Stadium or enjoy a basketball game at Bryce Jordan Center. Whatever you chose, there is a wide variety of attractions and events in the University Park area. Be sure to check for dates and times.

Admission Requirements & Details

The information regarding admissions below may provide a better idea of the applicants Pennsylvania State University accepts. The details may include application requirements and recommendations, as well as any AP or college credits that may be transferred.

College Credits Accepted

  • Dual Credits
  • Life Experience Credits
  • AP Course Credits

Student Enrollment

The total student enrollment at Pennsylvania State University is about 47,000, with undergraduate students making up about 86% of the total student population and graduate students making up the rest.


Estimated Costs & Financial Aid

The average "out of pocket" cost of attendance, after any grants and scholarships are considered, is around $25,000. In order to calculate a more accurate and detailed cost of attendance check out their cost calculator here. There is also a $50 application fee for those applying to a program. The figures listed below are for informational purposes only and do not represent current or future tuition, fees, and expenses.

Tuition & Fees Information

  • Annual tuition range estimates:
    • In-State Tuition: $17,000-$20,000
    • Nonresident Student Tuition: $30,000-$36,480
  • Part-time students are charged:
    • In-State: $690-$830 per unit
    • Out-of-State: $1,300-$1,500 per unit
  • May provide a prepaid tuition option, which allows tuition to be purchased at current rates for enrollment at a future date

Financial Aid Details

The financial aid table below details the types of financial aid, along with the percent of students receiving aid, and on average the amount of aid per student per year.

 Percent of StudentsAverage Amount
Any Financial Aid65%-
Receiving Grants & Scholarships37%$9,151
Receiving Student Loans47%$9,130

Academics & Student Services

Student Services

To help support students, Pennsylvania State University may offer services to students like those listed below:

  • Distance learning
  • Night and weekend classes available
  • Remedial instructional courses
  • Counseling assistance
  • Employing students to lower education costs
  • Employment search assistance
  • Child care

Graduation Rates

Pennsylvania State University has a high graduation rate when compared to other similar schools in the area.

Number of Year to GraduatePercent of Entering Class
Students Graduating in 4 Years65%
Graduating in 5 Years18%
Graduating in 6 Years2%

Specialized Programs & Accreditations

  • Art and Design Program
  • Clinical Psychology (Ph.D.) Program
  • Counseling Psychology (Ph.D.) Program
  • Dietetics Program
  • Health Services Administration Program
  • Music Program (more info)
  • Associate's Degree in Nursing (ADN) Program (more info)
  • Bachelor's Degree in Nursing (BSN) Program (more info)
  • Nursing (MSN, DSN) Program (more info)
  • Master's Degree in Nursing (MSN) Program (more info)
  • School Psychology (Ph.D.) Program (more info)
  • Speech-Language Pathology Program
  • Elementary and Secondary School Teacher Education Program (more info)
  • Theatre Program

Intercollegiate Athletics

Pennsylvania State University is a Member of National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), with many of the sports being in the NCAA Division I-A classification. The most popular sports played are listed below:

  • Baseball (Big Ten Conference)
  • Basketball (Big Ten Conference)
  • Track and Field (Big Ten Conference)
  • Fencing
  • Field Hockey
  • Football (Big Ten Conference)
  • Golf
  • Gymnastics
  • Lacrosse
  • Soccer
  • Softball
  • Swimming and Diving
  • Tennis
  • Volleyball
  • Wrestling

Programs Offered

The program list below is organized by areas of study. The programs that have a link will direct you to the program's profile page where you can learn more about education requirements and career pathways.

Get more information about the programs offered by Pennsylvania State University by clicking the request information to the right.

(C) Certificate or Award | (A) Associate's | (B) Bachelor's | (M) Master's Degree | (D) Doctorate (PhD,...)

Agriculture Operations


Biological and Biomedical Sciences

Business and Marketing Studies

Communications and Journalism

Computer and Information Sciences



Engineering Technology

English Language and Literature

Ethnic Cultural and Gender Studies

Family and Consumer Sciences

Foreign Languages and Literature

Health and Clinical Professions


Interdisciplinary Studies

Legal Professions and Studies

Liberal Arts and Sciences

Mathematics and Statistics

Natural Resources and Conservation

Philosophy and Religious Studies

Physical Sciences


Public Administration and Social Services

Recreation and Fitness Studies

Science Technology

Security and Protective Services

Social Sciences

Visual and Performing Arts

Other 4-Year Public Colleges

The list of schools below have been selected by researching which schools offer similar programs to Pennsylvania State University.

See a list of all the colleges and universities by clicking on one of the links below:

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Contact Information

General Contact

Admissions Office

Financial Aid Office

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