Program Admissions

Learn about the admission criteria and application process for the Penn State Smeal Executive DBA program. The program seeks candidates who have demonstrated professional and academic accomplishments, as well as the potential for future success. Admissions requirements include a minimum of 10 years of relevant leadership experience, a master's degree or equivalent experience, evidence of a foundational background in statistics and/or analytics, and submission of all required application materials. Both domestic and international candidates are encouraged to apply. The application process involves submitting a completed Penn State Graduate School Application, resume, admissions essay, official transcripts, letters of recommendation, and possibly English proficiency test scores. Application deadlines are spread throughout the year, with decisions made on a rolling basis. Keywords: Penn State Smeal Executive DBA, admission criteria, application process, leadership experience, master's degree, statistics, analytics, international candidates, application materials, deadlines, decision process, admissions office, Graduate School, confirmation, contact information, Penn State Smeal College of Business.

Admission Criteria

Criteria for evaluating Executive DBA applicants include professional and academic accomplishments and data from application forms that provide indications of future goals and aspirations.

The student cohort reflects today’s international business environment with selective admittance. With this in mind, admissions requirements include:

  • A minimum of 10 years of relevant leadership experience
  • A master’s degree or equivalent experience
  • Evidence of a foundational background in statistics and/or analytics
  • Submission of all required application materials

Application Information

Domestic and international candidates are welcome to apply. International candidates are encouraged to review essential guidance regarding visa requirements, enrollment regulations, document processes, and other important considerations by visiting the International Student Considerations for Executive DBA Applicants page.

The Penn State Smeal Executive DBA features a multi-step application process, during which you will be asked to submit the following: 

  • A completed Penn State Graduate School Application
  • Resume
  • Admissions Essay (800-1000 words) Describe your professional and intellectual goals, and how you see the Penn State Smeal 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?  
  • Official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended
  • Letters of recommendation
  • The language of instruction at Penn State is English. English proficiency test scores (TOEFL/IELTS) may be required for international applicants.
  • Application Fee: $65

An interview will be required of all applicants, which will be conducted either in person or remotely. Individuals without foundational statistics/analytics may be required to complete additional education prior to starting the program.

Application Deadlines 

The Penn State Smeal Executive DBA features multiple application deadlines throughout the year. Application reviews and decisions are made on a rolling basis. Class size is limited. To ensure your application is considered, we highly recommend that you apply early. All aspects of the application process must be completed, submitted, and received to be considered for admission.

Application Deadline Rounds  Submit Your Application By Expect a Decision By
1st Round October 1 December 1
2nd Round December 1 February 1
3rd Round February 1 April 1
4th Round April 1 June 1

Admission Decisions

All applications will be reviewed by both the Penn State Smeal Executive DBA Admissions Office and the Penn State Graduate School. The Smeal admissions office will be evaluating for program requirements and admissions criteria, and the Graduate School will be verifying educational documentation, credentials, and international visa requirements. Students may be contacted by parties from either area.

Admission is granted first by the Smeal Executive DBA program followed by the Graduate School. To confirm receipt of your application materials or check your application status, contact

Personalized Adviser Matching

Here at Smeal, we proactively match candidates with potential research advisers even before acceptance into the program. This approach ensures that students are paired with advisers who share similar research interests. While candidates’ research interests may evolve, we will make every effort to connect them with an appropriate faculty member so that they get the most out of their research journey. Partnering with Smeal means choosing a supportive community where your success is a priority from the beginning.

Ready to begin your application? Visit our Apply page to take the next step.