Apply to the Penn State Smeal Executive DBA

Information on how to apply to the Penn State Smeal Executive Doctorate of Business Administration program

Deadline Extended

Due to increased interest, we are now accepting applications for Fall 2024 cohort through May 15th. Visit the Program Admissions page to review admissions criteria.

Thank you for your interest in the Penn State Smeal Executive DBA. All components of the online application must be received by the applicable deadline to be considered for admission. As part of the online application, you will be asked to pay a $65 fee. Application fees cannot be reimbursed after an application has been submitted. The only accurate way to check the status of your application and whether or not your materials have been received is to contact us at

Online Application 

Use the Penn State Graduate School Application portal to access the application. You can return to this portal anytime during the process.

Desired Program 

You will be asked to select the desired program within the online application. Your selections for the Penn State Smeal Executive DBA Program should be:

  • Campus: University Park
  • Major: Business Administration – M.B.A., D.B.A.
  • Degree: Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)
  • Semester: Fall of 2024

Essay Question

Describe your professional and intellectual goals, and how you see the Penn State Smeal Executive DBA experience helping you to achieve these goals. What specific research question or dissertation topic would you like to explore throughout the DBA, and how does your experience tie into this area of interest?

  • Format: Upload your essay to the application in .pdf or .docx format.
  • Length: Limit your essay to 1,000 words.
  • Academic Integrity: Follow academic integrity guidelines regarding plagiarism – "using someone else's words or ideas without properly giving credit." Plagiarism includes use of material from sample essays and any website without properly citing the source. To ensure academic integrity, all essays will be confirmed through iThenticate authenticity software. Failure to follow these guidelines will result in a deny decision.


Submit a current version of your resume or CV including all work experience and secondary education until the date of application.


The Penn State Graduate School application will ask you to upload copies of official transcripts/records from all institutions attended. All transcripts and academic records uploaded to the application are considered “unofficial”. Official/original transcripts are required for any degree or diploma earned. If you are recommended for admission to a graduate degree program, you will be notified with detailed instructions on how to submit the official/original documents.

Letters of Recommendation

Two letters of recommendation are required, preferably from individuals that can speak to your leadership ability or work ethic. The Penn State Graduate School application will ask for the email addresses of your recommenders and send out automated requests to fill out their recommendation using our standard form.

If your recommenders are unable to complete their recommendations online, or if you would like to submit additional recommendations, please email us at