Pennsylvania state university  state college  pennsylvania   united states
US News Ranking 33
Qsranking 95
Timesranking 52

Brief background:

Pennsylvania State University, also fondly called as PSU or as Penn State, was started in 1855. As a Public Research University, Penn State is often considered amongst the Public Ivy League institutions in the country. The University offers graduate programs, many of which are highly ranked. The College of Engineering at Pennsylvania State University--University Park is an acclaimed school for engineering while the Smeal College of Business is quite respected as an undergraduate business school.


Pennsylvania State University world ranking is #101 in the QS Global World Rankings 2021. The university is ranked 114th in the World University Rankings 2021 and 109th in the US College Rankings 2021 by the Times Higher Education's World University Rankings.

Acceptance Rate

Pennsylvania State University acceptance rate is usually around 75% overall. Its acceptance rate for Indian students has been 39% historically.


Penn State is located in the rural area of University Park and the campus is spread over 5500 acres. The campus has two main libraries as well as 5 small libraries. All the libraries, combined together, have 2 million volumes of books. The heart of the campus is the HUB – a place where many students like to chill out or engage in something constructive. The campus is also dotted with numerous coffee shops.

Residing Options:

Penn State offers on-campus accommodation to students and charges $4,500 annually for it. However, most students prefer to live off-campus and can be found living in nearby areas such as Beaver Canyon, Beaver Avenue, and College Avenue.

Faculty and pedagogy:

Though the faculty at Penn State cannot be termed excellent, they are good enough and known in their respective fields too. Most of the faculty here are friendly and willing to help the students.


Pennsylvania State University tuition fees for Indian students is around $36,000, of course, depending upon the course the student is choosing. The annual off-campus living cost is around $5,000.

Financial aid:

Penn State, being a public University, has numerous scholarships. However, getting the scholarship depends on the profile of the student. And the competition for these scholarships is quite tough too. However, students can apply for Research Assistantships and Teaching Assistantships – which are not too difficult to get.

Jobs and placements:

As per the US News & World Report, The Pennsylvania State University ranks 59  in National Universities in 2019. If one looks at the ranking of individual departments, one would know that graduating out of the Penn State will guarantee one an excellent placement.

  1. Aerospace - 16th
  2. Chemical - 24th
  3. Civil - 17th
  4. Computer Engineering – 26th
  5. Electrical  - 30th
  6. Environmental – 17th
  7. Industrial – 7th
  8. Materials – 12th
  9. Mechanical – 16th
  10. Nuclear Engineering – Ranked 9th

As can be implied, all these departments are in the top twenty in schools in the US.
The overall average annual starting salary for Penn State graduates is  $70,997. The school has an extensive alumni network consisting of more than 645,000 living alumni all over the world which is one of the largest alumni networks among all US colleges. 
The Career Resource Center of the university provides support services to facilitate a student’s career development. Some of the services include a resume and cover letter review, job and internship search, interview prep, and so on.
The top popular companies recruiting from Penn State are Lockheed Martin Corp; The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc.; Penn State - University Park; Booz, Allen, and Hamilton; Pennsylvania State University (PSU)


Former CEO of KPMG Eugene O'Kelly, Chairman Emeritus and former CEO of Merrill Lynch William Schreyer and Former partner at Goldman Sachs Frank Smeal are some notable names who have passed out of Penn State.


Penn State is a good college with a reasonable fee structure. Though getting in quite difficult, it remains a favorite with Asians and certainly deserves being in your top choice too.


Penn State University has different campuses all over the State of Pennsylvania. The main campus and administrative hub named as University Park is located in a town called State College.  There are 19 other additional campuses, and one can enroll for an undergraduate degree in any one of them too. All 19 campuses are considered a part of Penn State's Commonwealth campus system, and all offer Penn State baccalaureate degrees. Five campuses are considered “college” campuses. Those five are Penn State Abington, Penn State Altoona, Penn State Berks, Penn State Behrend, and Penn State Harrisburg. It should be noted that although the first two years of education for any Penn State major are available at all campuses, some majors can only be completed at specific campuses.
The University Park campus is centrally located at the junction of Interstate 99 and U.S. Route 322 and is due south of Interstate 80. The nearest train station is in Lewistown which is approximately 48 km from University park though using the train is not a good idea.

The local airport in State College is the University Park Airport (SCE). It is located approximately five miles from the campus. The airlines that service the University Park Airport are: Delta Airlines Connection (from Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW) in Detroit, MI; United Airlines (from Dulles International Airport (IAD)  in Washington DC);  US Airways (from Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) in Philadelphia. 

Coming to bus services, the Megabus offers nonstop service from New York City, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, and Philadelphia and continuing service from locations in Ohio and Michigan. If purchased in advance, tickets can be less than $10.00.

Acceptance Rate for Indians 39%
STEM Masters Awarded to International Students 222
STEM Doctorates Awarded to International Students 104
TA Appointments 283
RA appointments 732
Research funding $103,583,458
Source : GyanDhan's analysis & partner data as of year 2018


Established in 1961, the Penn State Department of Aerospace Engineering has been recognized consistently as one of the top aerospace departments in the US. It is estimated that one in 25 holders of Bachelors of Science (B.S.) in Aerospace engineers in the US graduated from Penn State. It's graduate and undergraduate courses are ranked 15th nationally by U.S. News and World Report. 
The department offers a four-year Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Aerospace Engineering. The master’s level programs offered by the department are a two-year Master of Science (M.S.) in Aerospace Engineering (thesis-based program) and a one-year non-thesis program which leads to a Master of Engineering (M. Eng.) in Aerospace Engineering. The M.S program is ideal if you want to delve deeper into a specific area of research by enrolling into a Ph.D. program after the completion of the M.S. The M. Eng. on the other hand suits students who want to pursue a career in aerospace related fields.

Area of Expertise: Aircraft Icing; Signal Processing/Optics; Rotorcraft Engineering; Aeroacoustics; Multifunctional Structures and Nanomaterials; Architectural Acoustics, Aeroacoustics, and Vibrations; Medical Ultrasonics, Psychoacoustics, and Speech; Space Propulsion and Plasmas; Structural Dynamics and Adaptive Structures; Flight Control and Software; Experimental and Computational Aerodynamics; Intelligent and Autonomous Systems and UAVs; Hydroacoustics/Wave Propagation; Human-Machine Interface; Aerospace Vehicle Systems Engineering; Software Engineering; Thermoacoustics; Noise Control; Turbomachinery Propulsion and Heat Transfer; Computational Acoustics; Astrodynamics; Wind Energy; Electroacoustic Transducers; Structural Acoustics/Vibro-Acoustics; Physical, Physiological, and Basic Underwater Acoustics

List of Labs: Vertical Lift Research Center of Excellence


The Penn State Architectural Engineering Department offers the oldest and continually accredited architectural engineering program in the US. The department offers a 5-year program leading to a Bachelor of Architectural Engineering degree (B.A.E). There are four options available in this program as specializations which are as follows - Construction, Lighting/Electrical, Mechanical and Structural. The department also offers an integrated Bachelor and Master of Architecture and integrated Bachelor and Master of Science in Architecture programs.
There are three master’s level programs offered by the department - MS in Architecture, Master of Architecture and MS in Architecture and Human Dimensions of Natural Resources and the Environment (HDNRE). MS in Architecture is research based and the major areas of focus are a) Culture, Society, Space b) Design Computing c) Material Matters d) Sustainability. The professional masters/Master of Architecture covers principles, techniques, histories, theories, and technologies. The course has a thesis option wherein a thesis needs to be submitted in the last semester. MS in Architecture + HDNRE degree caters to topics such as global climate change; sustainable energy, food, and fiber supplies; threats to biodiversity; water pollution and availability; genetic modification; and sustainable design. In addition, one can go for a doctoral program, that is, Ph.D. in Architectural Engineering after the completion of the Masters. The Ph.D. program in Architectural Engineering has the following areas as its key research interests - building construction, building illumination systems, building structural systems. The department boasts of having around 9 research laboratories and facilities.

Areas of Expertise: Building Illumination and Electrical Systems; Building Structures; Building Mechanical and Energy Systems; Building Construction; Information Technology in Design and Construction

List of Labs: Mid-Atlantic Combined Heat and Power Technical Assistance Partner Center; Computer Integrated Construction Research Program; Indoor Environment Center; Partnership for Achieving Construction Excellence


The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology offers Majors in Biotechnology. The course offers two options – General (GEN) and Clinical Laboratory Science (specifically for students who want to work as Clinical Laboratory Scientists). The Huck Institute of Life Sciences at Penn State in collaboration with the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology offers a Master Degree in Biotechnology. There is also an option of pursuing the integrated B.S./M.S. in Biotechnology.
Areas of Expertise: Particulate Mechanics; Neural, Cardiovascular and Metabolic Engineering; Regenerative Functional Tissue Engineering, Stem Cells and Biomanufacturing; Water and Soil Resource Engineering and Management; Biologically-Based Energy, Products and Materials; Bioproduct Business and Marketing; Biomedical Imaging; Biomaterials and Nanomedicine in Drug Delivery; Multi-Scale Biomechanics; Nanocellulosics; Medical Devices; Mechanobiology; Computational Biology, System; Network Modeling and Large Data Analysis; Sustainable Livestock Systems; Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering; Agricultural Safety and Health; Agricultural Mechanization/Automation for Specialty Crops and Biomass; MEMS, Lab on a Chip and Nanotechnology;  Synthetic Biology


Established in 1948, the Penn State Department of Chemical Engineering is ranked in the 19th and 23rd  slots for their undergraduate and graduate programs respectively. The department offers a BS in Chemical Engineering. The John R. and Jeanette Dachille McWhirter Graduate Program in Chemical Engineering is a one-year non- thesis program leading to M.S. in Chemical engineering. This program helps students to explore areas of Thermodynamics, Transport, Reaction Kinetics, and so on. The department also offers a Ph.D. program where one can specialize in diverse fields such as nanotechnology, fuel and energy production, and bimolecular energy, to name just a few. Some of the research areas include Biotechnology and synthetic biology, Materials, and nanotechnology and energy and environment.

Areas of Expertise: Energy and Environment; Materials Synthesis and Characterization; Membranes and Separation Technology; Catalysis and Chemical Kinetics; Polymers and Advanced Materials; Computational Chemistry and Molecular Simulation; Bioprocessing and Cellular Engineering; Bimolecular and Metabolic Engineering; Fluid Mechanics and Tribology

List of Labs: Electrochemical Engine Center

Civil and Environmental 

Established in the year 1881, the Penn State Civil and Environmental Engineering Department is recognized as one of the top engineering departments at Penn State. In 2018, all the programs offered by the department were ranked in the top 20 in the US News and World Report rankings. In fact, its graduate program in Civil Engineering is ranked No 17, while its undergraduate program is ranked even higher at 14. For civil engineering, the undergraduate department offers a four-year Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree and its courses include environmental, geotechnical and materials, structural, transportation and water resources engineering. The two-year Graduate Degree includes a Master of Science (M.S.) in Civil Engineering and Master of Engineering (M.Eng). The department also offers a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering. 

For Environmental Engineering, the department offers an M.S. in Environmental Engineering and a Master of Engineering (M.Eng) in Environmental Engineering which can be completed in a year. The school also offers a doctoral program, that is, a Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering. There are no undergraduate offerings in Environmental Engineering in this department. The graduate programs in Environmental Engineering rank 17. 
Areas of Expertise: Geotechnical Engineering; Environmental Engineering; Materials Engineering; 
Structural Engineering; Transportation Engineering; Water Resources Engineering; Energy Science and Engineering; Petroleum and Natural Gas Engineering & Subsurface; Mining Engineering and Industrial Health and Safety; Energy Systems Engineering & Energy Economics

List of Labs: Protective Technology Center; Pennsylvania Housing Research Center; Engineering Energy & Environmental Institute; Larson Transportation Institute; Hydrogen Energy Center
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

The School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science was created in the year 2015. The undergraduate department in Computer Engineering is ranked 23 nationwide, while the Graduate Department is at 21. The department offers a B.S. in Computer Engineering and a B.S. in Computer Science. In terms of graduate courses, the department offers a Master of Science (M.S.) degree in Computer Science and Engineering as well as M.Eng. in Computer Science and Engineering. The latter is achieved after an intensive year of study. Most students after a graduate degree go on for a Ph.D. program in Computer Science and Engineering. Exceptional students who have completed their B.S. can also apply for this program. Research areas in this department include Biomedical Devices and Systems, Computer Architecture and Data Science, and Artificial Intelligence.
 In addition to the courses in Computer Science as described above, this department offers a 4-year B.S. program in Electrical engineering. The Electrical Engineering Department has two courses in its graduate program leading to the M.S degree. The first is a regular two-year M.S. in Electrical Engineering program. The second is a one-year program leading to the M.S. degree in electrical engineering which can be completed in one year by taking more courses during the fall and spring semesters and one course in the summer. The research areas under the Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering program include Biomedical Devices and Systems, Electronics Materials and Devices, and Integrated Circuits and Systems.
Areas of Expertise: Design for Human Variability; Innovation Management; Design Innovation; Engineering Design Pedagogy; Design Automation and Optimization; Design Theory and Methodology; Data-Driven Design; Design for Additive Manufacturing; Engineering Leadership Development;Design Decision-Making; Systems Design; Design for the Developing World; Simulation-Based Design Under Uncertainty; Product-Service Systems Design; Design Cognition; Quantum Computing; Operating Systems and Programming Languages; Mobile Computing; Signal and Imaging Processing; Optical and Photonic Materials and Devices; Power Systems; Remote Sensing and Space Systems; Bioinformatics;
Computer Architecture and Embedded Systems; Communications; Electromagnetics; Algorithms; Networking and Distributed Systems; Computer Vision; Control Systems; Machine Learning and Intelligent Systems; Information Theory; Data Science; Electronic Materials and Devices; Security

List of Labs: Communications and Space Sciences Laboratory; Computational Electromagnetics and Antennas Research Lab; Photonics for Communication, Sensing, and Illumination Center; International Center for Actuators and Transducers; Center for Machine Learning and Applications; Institute of Networking and Security Research

Industrial Engineering

The Harold and Inge Marcus Department of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering at Penn State University was established in 1908, and it boasts of being the first industrial engineering department in the world. Not surprisingly, its undergraduate program is ranked no. 9 nationwide, while the graduate program is at no. 7. This most sought-after department offers an undergraduate program leading to a B.S. in Industrial Engineering. The graduate school offers a regular two-year program leading to an M.S. degree in Industrial Engineering (thesis and non-thesis M.S. options). Further, this school offers a dual degree of M.S. in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research and a one-year Master's Degrees in Additive Manufacturing and Design. The Ph.D. program in Industrial Engineering offers the following areas as specializations - human factors and ergonomics, operations research, manufacturing, operations, services, and analytics.  

Areas of Expertise:  Manufacturing Process Modeling, Diagnostics, Prognostics, and Control; Power Grids and Energy Modeling; Human Factors and Ergonomics; Human-Centered Design; Healthcare Systems Engineering; Operations Research and Data Analytics; Six Sigma; Additive Manufacturing; Service Systems Engineering; Supply Chain Engineering

List of Labs: Center for Service Enterprise Engineering; Center for Health Organization Transformation

Material Science

The Penn State Department of Material Sciences and Engineering is Ranked no. 12 and no. 11 for its graduate and undergraduate programs respectively in the US by US News. One of the premier research facilities in the nation, the Millennium Science Complex (MSC), is a 275,600 square-foot science building housing one of the university's top research organizations—the Materials Research Institute. The department offers a B.S. in Material Science and Engineering. The master’s program, that is, M.S. in Material Science and Engineering is of two types - a two-year thesis-based program and an accelerated M.S. degree program which can be completed in one calendar year. The doctoral program called Penn State’s Intercollege Graduate Degree Program in Materials Science and Engineering (iMatSE) gives students the opportunity to be mentored one-on-one by the professors. Also, it allows the research student to pursue core coursework taught by the department as well as electives offered by other departments. 
Areas of Expertise: Ferroelectrics; 2D Materials; Polymers; Computational Materials Science; Glass Science and Engineering; Chemistry of Materials; Biomaterials; Electrochemistry; Materials for Energy; Metals; Physics of Materials; Semiconductors; Optical Materials; Composites; Ceramics; Nanomaterials; Additive Manufacturing; Materials for Sustainability; Analysis and Characterization of Materials; Piezoelectric Materials; List of Labs 

List of Labs: Center for Dielectrics and PiezoElectrics; Materials Research Institute; Center for Computational Materials Design

Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical Engineering offered by the Penn State Department of Mechanical Engineering continues to be one of the most popular programs at Penn State. In 2018, US News & World Report ranked Penn State's Mechanical Engineering undergraduate program 17th in the country. In 2019, the graduate program was ranked 14th. The department offers a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and also a dual B.S. degree in mechanical and biomedical engineering.
The Graduate degrees in Mechanical Engineering include a two-year M.S. in Mechanical Engineering as well as a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering. Battery and Energy Storage Technology (BEST) Center and Energy Nanostructure Lab are few of the renowned research centers this department harbors. 
Areas of Expertise: Advanced Manufacturing; Emerging Manufacturing Processes for Materials, Tissues and Devices; Controls and Optimization; Energy Storage and Energy Systems; Dynamic Systems, Acoustics and Vibrations; Mechatronics; Computational Fluid Dynamics; Smart Materials; Multi-Scale Computations; Turbomachinery; Biomechanics; Nanoscience and Engineering; Nature Inspired Engineering; Design and Optimization; Energy Infrastructure, Storage and Devices; Brain Science and Neural Engineering; Multiscale and Multiphysics Modeling and Multiphysics Modeling/Computational Analysis; Optoelectronics, Photonics and Lasers; Combustion and Propulsion; Advanced Materials and Devices; Thermal management; Applied Mechanics and Biomechanics; Two-Phase Flows; Structural and Human Health Monitoring

List of Labs: High-Pressure Combustion Laboratory; Center for Combustion, Power, and Propulsion; Turbine Heat Transfer and Aerodynamics Group; Battery and Energy Storage Technology Center

Pure Sciences

The Eberly College of Science at Penn State offers a plethora of courses in pure sciences. The College has courses offers degrees at undergraduate and graduate levels in Astronomy and Astrophysics, Biochemistry, Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics, Statistics, and also a pre-medical program. Most of these programs are offered by the majority of colleges of Penn State spread across the state, though the main campus remains the most popular.List of Labs: Center for Nanotechnology Education and Utilization; Center for Neural Engineering; Radiation Science and Engineering Center

Annual fees for Indians $36,000
Annual off-campus living $5,000
Source : GyanDhan's analysis & university's website as of year 2018

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