Master of Professional Studies in Homeland Security Admissions Criteria and Application Procedures

There are two ways in which you can apply to the program

Accelerated Admission

You can qualify for an accelerated application process for admission to the Intelligence and Geospatial Analysis Option in the MPS in Homeland Security by earning a 3.67 GPA or above and after completing your first three classes as a certificate program student. Any of our geospatial program certificates are eligible for this route of admission. After completing your third certificate course, you must start your MPS Homeland Security application and submit a professional statement of purpose explaining your goals for obtaining the degree. The Admissions Chairperson will review your personal statement, verify you have met the GPA threshold, and then make a decision regarding your admission to the master's program. Admissions will be made in this manner on a rolling basis year-round, but you must have your application complete and submitted for consideration at least 4 weeks before the term in which you intend to start the program. Ready to apply? Please use the below guide to submit your accelerated application.

We also welcome applicants who have completed a graduate certificate program from another university. We review eligibility for this situation on a case-by-case basis, so contact us and we'll be happy to talk about your options.

Advantages of Accelerated Admission:

  •     No GRE test is required
  •     No professional experience is required
  •     No letters of reference are required
  •     Admissions are made on a rolling basis, year-round

Applying Previously Earned Credits:

Penn State's Graduate School policies state that credits earned in a graduate program that are more than five years old are not eligible to count towards a new program of study. We work closely with each student on a customized curriculum plan, and we will take previously earned credits into account at that time. We will make every effort to ensure that you do not have to complete coursework that duplicates what you already know.

Not sure if you qualify for Accelerated Admission? Drop us a line and we'll explore your options.

Regular Admission

In addition to the accelerated admission option, the Program Admissions Committee accepts applicants who do not wish to take courses as a certificate student before joining the program.  Individuals who are enrolled in a certificate program but do not qualify for the accelerated admission process may also apply via the regular admission process.  All application materials must be received for your application to be considered. Please contact our program office to make sure we have all of your materials. Every application is scored, discussed, and ranked by the Committee, with the Committee Chair making the final selection of students to admit.  Admissions are made prior to the start of each term.

Application Checklist for the MPS in Homeland Security

  • Complete the Graduate School Application (including a nonrefundable application fee of $65).

    Your degree application, including receipt of all application materials, must be received to be considered complete.

    Start the degree application here.

  • On the Select Admission Type page, under Campus, Major, Degree & Semester:

    • Campus -  "World Campus"
    • Major - "Homeland Security"
    • Degree - "Master of Professional Studies (MPS)"
    • Option - "Geospatial Intelligence Option"
    • Semester - Choose appropriate starting semester
  • Provide names of three references (Accelerated Admission can skip this step)— Upon submission of your application, an email will be sent to each reference requesting the completion of a reference form contained in the email. Please inform all references they must submit the form in order for your application to be complete.
  • On the Program-Specific Questions page:
    • Upload your Résumé - Include your professional and educational experience.
    • Upload your Statement of Purpose — While there is no specific format or content requirement, your statement of purpose should be a personal statement to the admissions committee and may include any of the following: your reasons for pursuing the degree, why you feel you are a good candidate for the program, and any information you would like the admissions committee to know about you personally and/or professionally.
    • If you are applying under Accelerated Admission, check Yes at Question 3.
  • Send an official transcript from each undergraduate and graduate institution that you attended regardless of the number of credits or semesters completed. (Penn State even has a convenient transcript request form. Penn State alumni do not need to request transcripts for credits earned at Penn State.) Transcripts not in English must be accompanied by a certified translation. Mail transcripts to:
Graduate Admissions
Swatara Building
Penn State Harrisburg
777 West Harrisburg Pike
Middletown PA 17057
Phone: 800-222-2056
  • Send your official Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores. (Accelerated Admission can skip this step) You may request a GRE waiver if you meet one of the following criteria:

    • 3.00 undergraduate grade-point average (GPA) either overall or of the last 60 credits
    • 5+ years of professional work experience
    • 3.00 GPA upon completion of graduate certificate
    • successful completion of a graduate or professional degree

International Applicant English Proficiency — The language of instruction at Penn State is English. All international applicants must take and submit scores for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS), with some exceptions. Minimum test scores and exceptions are found in the English Proficiency section on the Graduate School "How to Apply" page.

Technical Requirements

Review the technical requirements for this degree program.

Important - please read:

Once you are registered, log into LionPATH  regularly to see messages about semester bills. If you don't check your PSU email often, consider forwarding those messages to another email address.

Students who fail to pay their semester by the due date run the risk of being dropped from their courses, and in many cases are not able to be reinstated. A notification will be sent to your PSU email account when your bill is available to view and/or pay on LionPATH. Reminders and several warnings will be sent to your PSU email account should your bill become past due, so please be sure to check or forward your PSU email. This is especially important for the courses that occur in the second term (Sp2 or Fa2). The bill is sent to LionPATH, but you will not receive the same notification that occurs for the first term courses. See the FAQ about Completing Your Registration.

You might still need to take action on your bill - even if someone else is paying it. Third Party Payment of your tuition and fees may be made by a third party — your company, for example. If your company is paying for your tuition and fees, our Student Financial Services office must receive an Authorization to Bill. An Authorization to Bill is a form from your company on letterhead and must include your name, semester, company name, company address, and payment amount. The Authorization to Bill may be faxed directly to the World Campus and Continuing Education Student Financial Services office at 814-863-1385 or emailed to If you have questions, you may call the office at 814-863-8300. Once the Authorization to Bill is received, Penn State will adjust your tuition as showing expected payment, and the company will be billed. Your employer must then pay your tuition within 30 days. Action is still required to complete your registration regardless of any amount due, including a zero balance. You will be responsible for any additional money owed. If you don't complete your registration, there could be academic and financial implications.


If you have any questions on how to get started, please email us at

Frequently Asked Questions about Completing Your Registration