Jun 14, 2024  
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog


Application Process

Individuals may apply online at pennwest.edu. There is no paper application option. Applicants must pay the non-refundable application fee or enter a valid application fee waiver. Note: those applying to the M.S. in Speech Language Pathology must complete the application process through CSDCAS and remit the required fees as directed.

As part of the application process, applicants must submit official transcripts of the degree required for admission to the Office of Graduate & Online Admissions. Electronic transcripts are preferred and may be submitted to GradAdmissions@PennWest.edu. Paper transcripts may be mailed to Graduate & Online Admissions, Penn West University-California, 250 University Ave., California, PA 15419. The degree must have been awarded from a regionally accredited college or university. It is not necessary to send a transcript of coursework completed at California, Clarion, and/or Edinboro Universities.

An individual may begin the process by establishing login credentials on the University’s secure online application. Once established, the applicant may use the secure applicant portal to access the application, upload required documents, and communicate with the Office of Graduate & Online Admissions. The application and portal may be accessed via computer or mobile device. Each applicant is assigned a dedicated Enrollment Coach to provide assistance throughout the process. The Enrollment Coach is available to assist applicants via phone, email, text messaging, live chat and/or virtual or in-person meetings.

Admission Decisions

Admission requirements vary by program. Prospective students should refer to the requirements listed for each graduate program on the University website. Applicants who do not meet the minimum cumulative GPA for regular admission may be considered for conditional admission and are encouraged to apply.

In addition to GPA, some programs require additional documentation, such as letters of recommendation, references, specified entrance exams (GMAT, GRE, MAT) and/or other supporting material. Refer to the website or contact the Office of Graduate & Online Admissions.

When the Office of Graduate & Online Admissions has received all of the required application materials, the completed application is then reviewed for an admission decision. Offers of Admission are the result of a number of factors, including prior academic performance, professional experience, portfolio review, personal statements, interviews, and/or recommendations. Reviews are conducted by both the Office of Graduate & Online Admissions and specific program faculty. Additionally, some programs operate in a cohort model where new enrollment is capped at a certain number of highly qualified applicants. As a result, individuals who meet the minimum requirements for admission may be denied due to the overall quality of the applicant pool.

Offers of admission are communicated via the secure application portal.

An admission decision is valid for one academic year (two semesters and one summer term, i.e., the semester/term the student applied for and the following two semesters/terms). An admitted student has one year to register for courses from the date listed on the Admissions decision notification. If a student does not register for classes during that time, the acceptance is no longer valid and the applicant must reapply for admission, repay the application fee and resubmit all materials.


Residency is determined at the time of admission. A Pennsylvania resident is defined as one who is a bona fide resident of and domiciled within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for a reasonable period, typically not less than one year, immediately preceding the student’s registration for a term. Individuals who have been adjudged not to be a resident of Pennsylvania and would like to appeal the decision must petition after admission to the Office of the Registrar. A student who is dissatisfied with the University’s determination of his/her classification may challenge it by filing a written petition with the University officer or committee designated by the University President to consider challenges within 30 days after issuance of the determination. The petition shall contain a statement of reasons in support of the student’s claim of Pennsylvania domicile and supporting documentation the student may wish to submit. Untimely petitions may not be considered.

Admission Policy

Several types of admission to the graduate school are available. Admission types include:

  • Regular admit - the applicant meets all admission requirements and is eligible to begin coursework in the earliest possible term with financial aid consideration.
  • Conditional admit - the applicant meets most, but not all, admission requirements and is eligible to begin coursework in the earliest possible term with financial aid consideration. The applicant must satisfy a specific condition of his/her admission by the end of the first term. Generally, the condition is to earn a minimum GPA of 3.0 and will be clearly communicated on the offer of admission. An applicant may not enroll for additional terms if the condition is not met.
  • Provisional admit - the applicant meets all requirements of admission but has not yet provided a required material (such as an  official transcript showing a conferred degree, license, or other document). Typically, this type of admission is offered to an applicant who applies while still pursuing the required undergraduate or graduate degree. A provisionally admitted applicant is eligible to begin coursework in the earliest possible term but is not eligible for financial aid consideration. Upon proof of conferred degree or other required material (and meeting GPA requirements), the applicant may be offered Regular Admission with financial aid consideration. A provisionally admitted applicant may not register for coursework beyond the initial term.

Application Deadlines

Application deadlines vary by program and students are advised to apply for admission to the Graduate program as early as possible. Most programs have rolling deadlines and applications may be submitted and completed at any time prior to a start term. Start terms vary and are listed on both the program webpage on the University website and the Graduate Application for Admission.

Please view our graduate program pages for more information: https://www.pennwest.edu/academics/graduate-programs

Graduate Program Enrollment

Admitted applicants must accept an offer of admission and confirm their intentions to enroll by completing the Decision Reply Form which accompanies the offer of admission on the online application portal. Many Graduate programs do not require a deposit, though some do. If required, the applicant must secure his/her enrollment by remitting the $100 deposit through the application portal.

Once an enrollment is confirmed, the applicant will receive guidance from the Office of Graduate & Online Admissions on course registration and other onboarding items.

Admission for Other Programs

In addition to degree programs, the University offers certification programs, certificates and options for non-degree and visiting students.

Certification Programs

Certification programs prepare individuals to apply for a certification or licensure from a third party, which normally imposes experiences and requirements beyond university credits. These additional program requirements develop appropriate competencies in specific areas of specialization.


A certificate is not a certification but rather a formal, credit-based credential that indicates completion of a program of study that does not culminate in a degree or qualify the individual for certification. Typically, coursework and credits required for a Certificate may also be applied towards a full degree.


Although most graduate students at Penn West are enrolled in degree programs, there are opportunities to take a limited number of graduate classes as a non-degree student for personal or professional growth without pursuing a graduate degree.

Admitted non-degree students may take only 6 credits before they are required to apply as a degree-seeking student. Completion of these courses does not automatically lead to admission to a degree or certification program. Applicants interested in further exploration must reapply (fee waived).

Visiting Students

Graduate students from other universities (sometimes known as “visiting students”) may take courses at Penn West. Visiting students are responsible for knowing and adhering to the transfer policies of their home institutions.

International Students

Penn West welcomes applications from students from countries other than the United States. All international applicants studying on campus must follow the procedures and guidelines available at: https://online.pennwest.edu/admisions/international-students.

Graduate Assistantships

Applicants may express interest in a Graduate Assistantship (G.A.) as part of the online application process. G.A. positions and benefits vary. Admission into the University does not imply receipt of a graduate assistantship. Open positions can be found here: https://career.pennwest.edu/jobs/page/2/?ctag[0]=graduate-assistantships