What You Need to Apply

Applying for the Wharton MBA:
Application & Admission Requirements

Below you will find full details on prerequisites, application fees, essay topics, GRE/GMAT test scores, references and other details you’ll need to satisfy the Wharton MBA Admission requirements. However, the most detailed instructions are included in the application itself. Remember, you must complete the online application to be considered for the MBA program. If you’re looking for deadline information and an overview of the application process, please see Application Timelines and Deadlines.

MBA Application Checklist & Prerequisite Requirements

  • Contact information (e.g., mailing address and phone number)
  • Date of birth
  • Academic degrees earned
    • Beginning with your high school, please complete the Education and Transcript section for all of your academic experiences, including your bachelor’s or bachelor’s-equivalent degree, study abroad, summer school, and post-baccalaureate classes. If you have more information than the three forms will allow, please use the Microsoft Excel Multiple Transcript Template to record your additional education.
    • To ensure the quick processing of your application, we are no longer accepting mailed transcripts at the time of application. Instead, please submit your transcript(s) as a scanned document or use the Transcript Template found here. Use the upload feature, provided at each school listing, to submit your self-reported transcript(s).
    • If admitted, you will be required to provide official transcripts of all previous academic work to verify the information provided in the uploaded documents. If there are discrepancies between the self-reported academic work and official records, your offer of admission will be withdrawn. Offers of admission are not binding until academic records are verified.
  • Professional experience
    • Beginning with your most recent position, please complete the Employment section with your full-time experience, including military and entrepreneurial experiences. You can also include any significant part-time or summer employment since the beginning of college.
    • The Employment section allows you to list your four most recent employments; however, all employment experience is important to us. Feel free to use the optional essay to explain any gaps in employment.
    • Please note that we will see all of your answer to the Reason for Leaving question, whether or not it is fully visible on your application when you print it using Adobe Acrobat PDF.  This field is fully visible in our review system.
  • Family information
  • Prior Conviction Information
    • If you have ever been convicted of or plead guilty or no contest to a felony or misdemeanor (excluding minor traffic violations), you must report this information. Failure to disclose this information may result in the withdrawal of any possible offers of admission. Answers will be reviewed by the Wharton MBA Admissions Review Officer. This information will not be provided to the admissions committee as part of the regular academic review process.

The application fee for Wharton’s MBA program is $275 and non-refundable. It can be paid by credit card (Visa, MasterCard, or American Express), with your application.

Essays for the 2022-2023 Application Cycle

The Admissions Committee wants to get to know you on both a professional and personal level. We encourage you to be introspective, candid and succinct. Most importantly, we suggest you be yourself. For additional essay writing resources, see the essay tips article!

Essay 1: How do you plan to use the Wharton MBA program to help you achieve your future professional goals? You might consider your past experience, short and long-term goals, and resources available at Wharton. (500 words)

Essay 2: Essay 2: Taking into consideration your background – personal, professional, and/or academic – how do you plan to make specific, meaningful contributions to the Wharton community? (400 words)

Required Essay for all Reapplicants: Please use this space to share with the Admissions Committee how you have reflected and grown since your previous application and discuss any relevant updates to your candidacy (e.g., changes in your professional life, additional coursework, and extracurricular/volunteer engagements). (250 words)

Optional Essay: Please use this space to share any additional information about yourself that cannot be found elsewhere in your application and that you would like to share with the Admissions Committee. This space can also be used to address any extenuating circumstances (e.g., unexplained gaps in work experience, choice of recommenders, inconsistent or questionable academic performance, areas of weakness, etc.) that you would like the Admissions Committee to consider. (500 words)

Please note:

  • First-time MBA applicants and re-applicants are required to complete essays 1 and 2.

Transcripts of all academic work completed at the baccalaureate/undergraduate level and beyond, whether or not for credit or a degree, are required to apply for the MBA program. When submitting your transcripts, you can do one of the following:

Please note: Official documents are required upon admission and matriculation.

The Letter of Recommendation component of our application will be broken into two sections:

  • A selection of positive personality characteristics. Recommenders will be asked to choose two characteristics from a list of ten that best describe the candidate they are recommending.
  • Two free-form questions:
    • Please provide example(s) that illustrate why you believe this candidate will find success in the Wharton MBA classroom. (Word count: 300)
    • Please provide example(s) that illustrate why you believe this candidate will find success throughout their career. (Word count: 300)

We require two letters of recommendations from individuals who are well acquainted with your performance in a work setting, preferably from a current or former supervisor.

The title or position of the recommender is not as important as his/her ability to comment knowledgeably and specifically about you. Submit recommendations from people who can speak directly about your aptitudes and capabilities.

We require all recommendations to be submitted electronically. After you have contacted your recommenders, please complete the form on the Recommendations page.

After selecting your recommenders, it is possible that you’ll need to alter this selection. If a recommender has not begun their recommendation, you can delete them and assign another recommender.  Please note that your new recommender will not appear on the recommendation page of your application, however we will see the new listing when you submit your application.

If you or a recommender have questions, please reach out to mbarecs@wharton.upenn.edu.

All applicants must submit results of a Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) or a Graduate Record Examination (GRE) that are no more than five years old.

We accept scores from tests taken at a test center or at home/online. All at-home tests are monitored by a human proctor online. Scores may be self-reported; when self-reporting your score(s) in the application please list your highest score first. Should you receive an offer of admission, official scores will then be requested for verification.

If you are applying in… Your GMAT and/or GRE test date must fall on or between
Round 1 September 7, 2017 – September 7, 2022
Round 2 January 4, 2018 – January 4, 2023
Round 3 March 29, 2018 – March 29, 2023
Deferred Admissions Round April 26, 2018 – April 26, 2023

The GMAT code for the Wharton MBA Program is G56-97-73.  The GRE code is: 6802.

The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE) is required for non-native English speakers with limited exposure to English. All international applicants whose native language (language first learned and spoken at home) is not English, or who did not complete a degree from an institution where English was the language of instruction, are required to take the TOEFL or PTE. If you earned a bachelor’s or master’s degree from an institution at which English is the language of instruction, the test may be waived.

If you are applying in… Your TOEFL or PTE test date must fall on or between
Round 1 September 7, 2020 – September 7, 2022
Round 2 January 5, 2021 – January 5, 2023
Round 3 March 30, 2021 – March 30, 2023
Deferred Admissions Round April 27, 2021 – April 27, 2023

TOEFL – The code for the Wharton MBA Program is: 2926.

PTE – Report your scores directly to The Wharton MBA Program

Please upload a one-page resume. We are interested in your functional job skills, breadth and depth of experience, demonstrated leadership and management skills, and your potential for growth. We are more concerned with what you have learned in your positions than we are with the length of time you’ve been in the workplace.

  • Only scan the important parts of your document. Do not scan pictures, graphics and unnecessary text.
  • Save the scanned object as a .pdf file with the proper 3-letter extension. Please do not attempt to upload a document that is password-protected or that contains macros. This will cause the process to fail.
  • Close the .pdf file.
  • Check the size of your file. It should not exceed 10 MB.
  • Upload your file using the buttons.
  • Make sure scanned documents are clearly legible. Illegible documents will not be accepted and will delay the evaluation of your application.

Francis J. & William Polk Carey JD/MBA Program Requirements

The Carey JD/MBA Program is a joint-degree program and therefore shares admissions requirements with the Wharton MBA Program. In addition to the elements of the full-time MBA application, the Carey JD/MBA application includes a Law School section that requests additional information specific to the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School JD program.

Note: You may not apply to the Carey JD/MBA Program and simultaneously apply individually to the Wharton MBA Program and/or the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School JD Program in the same application cycle. Once you have submitted an application for the Carey JD/MBA Program, you cannot switch to the other degree programs or vice versa.

For additional questions about the Carey JD/MBA Program, please contact jdmba@law.upenn.edu or visit the Carey JD/MBA Program website.

Application Eligibility Requirements

All applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree to be eligible to enroll in the Juris Doctor (JD) program. Applicants who are admitted to the Carey JD/MBA Program are admitted for the fall semester on a full-time basis only. All applicants must take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT). The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is not required. If an applicant takes the LSAT, they must also take the GRE or the GMAT. Regardless of test format, all applicants must register with the LSAC’s Credential Assembly Service (CAS) and all test scores must be reported. (See Standardized Tests and LSAC’s Credential Assembly Service (CAS) information below.)

Regular Decision

If you submit and complete an application for Round 1 or Round 2, you will receive a decision according to the Wharton MBA Admissions decision release timeline. Regular Decision applicants who are taking the LSAT should take the LSAT no later than September of the application year for Round 1 and November of the application year for Round 2.

Early Decision (Binding)

The Carey JD/MBA Program’s Early Decision option is designed for applicants who have thoroughly researched their law school options and determined that the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School is their first choice. Our Early Decision program is binding. Applicants who wish to be considered for early decision must commit to matriculate in the Carey JD/MBA Program if admitted. If admitted, you must withdraw your applications from all other law schools and refrain from initiating new applications. You may not submit an early decision application to more than one law school.

Note: Applications must be submitted through Wharton no later than September 7, 2022, for Early Decision Round 1 and no later than January 4, 2023, for Early Decision Round 2. Early Decision applicants who are taking the LSAT should take the LSAT no later than September of the application year for Round 1 consideration and no later than November of the application year for Round 2 consideration.

How to Apply

As an applicant to the Carey JD/MBA Program, you are required to submit your application through Wharton Round 1 or Round 2. Please do not fill out nor submit the Fall 2023 – First Year JD application through the LSAC Electronic Application service. Once you have submitted your application through Wharton, the MBA application process is conducted independently by each school but the evaluation and decision-making are conducted jointly. The Law School will begin processing Carey JD/MBA applications in early October.

Note: You may not apply to the Carey JD/MBA Program and simultaneously apply individually to the Wharton MBA Program and/or the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School JD Program in the same application cycle. Once you have submitted an application for the Carey JD/MBA Program, you cannot switch to the other degree programs or vice versa.


You are strongly encouraged to answer the application essay questions in relation to the Carey JD/MBA Program as opposed to only the Wharton MBA Program.

Standardized Tests and LSAC’s Credential Assembly Service (CAS)

All applicants to the Carey JD/MBA Program must take the GRE or the GMAT. We will accept at-home GRE, GMAT, and LSAT scores. The LSAT is not required. If an applicant takes the LSAT, they must also take the GRE or the GMAT. We will accept LSAT results from any exam taken from June 2017 or thereafter for the class entering in fall 2023. GRE or GMAT test dates must align with the Wharton MBA test date requirements for the appropriate application round. If you take a test more than once or take more than one testing format, all scores will be considered and must be reported in the application form. All test scores should be submitted in the JD/MBA application as directed. In addition, you must request GRE and/or GMAT official score reports from ETS and/or GMAC to be sent directly to the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School. The University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School’s school code is 4122 for GRE score reporting and G56-RV-81 for GMAT score reporting. The Law School will not accept test-taker score reports directly from the applicant nor can we accept score reports transferred from Wharton.

Regardless of the testing format you choose to use, each applicant must also register with the LSAC Credential Assembly Service (CAS) and arrange to have all transcripts sent to LSAC from each college or university attended. When the Law School receives your application from Wharton, the Law School will request your CAS report, and LSAC will send it directly to the Law School. Please note that your CAS report will not be released by LSAC until all required transcripts have been received and processed by LSAC. In addition, if you have not or will not take the LSAT, please select the GRE/GMAT only checkbox in the LSAT section of the Test Information section.

The University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School requires that any international transcripts be submitted through the LSAC Credential Assembly Service for applicants who completed any post-secondary work outside the US (including its territories) or Canada. You must use this service for the evaluation of your international transcripts. The one exception to this requirement is if you completed the international work through a study-abroad, consortium, or exchange program sponsored by a US or Canadian institution, and the work is clearly indicated as such on the home campus transcript. This service is included in the Credential Assembly Service registration fee.

Recommendation Forms and Letters

You must submit two recommendation letters through the LSAC Letter of Recommendation Service. If you have obtained two letters of recommendation to be used for the Carey JD/MBA application, these letters can satisfy the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School requirement but you must have your recommenders submit duplicate copies of these two letters to LSAC. Your CAS report will not be released to us until at least two letters of recommendation are on file with LSAC and assigned to the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School. This service is included with your Credential Assembly Service registration. You and your recommender must use the letter of recommendation form available online through the LSAC Letter of Recommendation Service for each letter submitted to LSAC. Please do not send letters directly to the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School. Note that we will accept up to four letters of recommendation through LSAC; however, your application is deemed complete with two letters of recommendation.

Carey JD/MBA Interview

Carey JD/MBA interviews are granted by invitation only. If you are invited to interview, you are required to complete the Wharton Team Based Discussion as well as a Carey JD/MBA interview.

Application Status/Questions

The University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School Admissions Office is committed to serving our applicants as efficiently and effectively as we can during the MBA application process. Please be advised that it may take approximately two weeks from the date that we receive the Carey JD/MBA application from Wharton to process and complete the applicant file. We will notify you of the date upon which we receive your application from Wharton and inform you of any missing documents upon receipt of your Credential Assembly Service report. We will also notify you of the date upon which your application is complete.

You can check the status of your application at any time using Application Status, the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School’s online status checker. To access the online status checker, please visit https://www.law.upenn.edu/admissions/jd/.

For additional Law School application instructions, please visit https://www.law.upenn.edu/admissions/jd/how-to-apply.php.

Tuition and Financial Aid

For detailed information on Law School tuition and financial aid, please visit https://www.law.upenn.edu/admissions/financing/.

Wharton/Lauder Institute Joint-Degree Applicants

The Lauder Institute offers a joint-degree MA in International Studies in tandem with the Wharton MBA or JD programs at Penn. The Lauder Institute shares MBA program requirements with the Wharton MBA program, and the application is reviewed in its entirety by both the Lauder and Wharton Admissions committees. Accepted Lauder MBA/MA students are admitted jointly into both programs, not independently into each. Lauder applications are accepted in all 3 application rounds.

In addition to the Wharton MBA application, Lauder requires that you complete a language assessment called the Oral Proficiency Interview(s), one Lauder essay, and answers to supplemental questions regarding international/cross-cultural experience. You will be prompted to submit these items in the online application.

For any questions you have about the Lauder/MBA application process, please contact the Lauder Admissions office at lauderinfo@wharton.upenn.edu

Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI)

An Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI) is required of all Lauder applicants and must be scheduled and completed with Language Testing International (LTI). To schedule an OPI, complete and submit LTI’s online application. When scheduling your OPI(s), please be sure to register as a Lauder applicant with LTI. There is no need to forward your scores to the Admissions Committee—Lauder OPI scores are available for the Admissions Committee to review through LTI’s online portal.

The OPI may be completed any time after July 1, 2022 to count for the current admissions cycle, but it must be completed by September 7, 2022 for Round 1 applicants or January 4, 2023 for Round 2 applicants. OPI ratings are valid for a single application cycle, and reapplicants to the Lauder program will need to retake the OPI(s). If you have any questions about scheduling the OPI please contact LTI by phone at +1-914-963-7110 (extension 115 or 127) or by email at testing@languagetesting.com. Please consult with the Lauder admissions office if you have questions regarding the language requirements for Lauder.

For applicants to one of Lauder’s five Programs of Concentration: An OPI in the proposed language of study is required. The ACTFL Proficiency Guidelines for the OPI range from Novice to Distinguished, and an Advanced rating is the expected level for admission to Lauder.

Native level Spanish, French, or Italian speakers will be considered for the Latin America/Portuguese program without prior knowledge of Portuguese. These applicants should test in their native level language (Spanish, French, or Italian), and in these cases a Superior rating is expected for admission. Native level Spanish, French, or Italian speakers who speak some Portuguese should test in Portuguese even if they expect their rating to be below Advanced.

For applicants to Lauder’s Global program: One OPI in a language other than English is required of all applicants to the Global program. Applicants to the Global Program must test at the Superior level. Applicants may test in their native language provided it is not English.

Lauder Essay

The essay for the Lauder application has two parts. In no more than 800 words, please answer the following:

Discuss why you are applying to Lauder and your chosen Program of Concentration. Applicants to the Programs of Concentration that involve language study (Africa-French; East and Southeast Asia; Europe; Latin America; or South Asia, the Middle East and North Africa) should also discuss what you hope to gain from advanced language and culture education.

All Lauder students are required to write a substantive academic thesis, known as the Global Knowledge Lab, in their second year to satisfy the MA degree research and writing requirement. Please describe a topic or research question that you might want to pursue related to your Program of Concentration and your motivations for that topic.

Lauder Interview

Lauder interviews are granted by invitation-only, based upon a full review of your submitted application. Typically, the Lauder interview is conducted off-campus with a graduate of the Lauder program or on-campus with a current Lauder student. If you are invited to interview, you are required to complete the Wharton team-based discussion as well as a Lauder interview.

Tuition and Financial Aid

The Lauder Institute is committed to supporting candidates who are admitted to the Lauder Institute. In fact, nearly all of our students receive some kind of financial support for the graduate degree in International Studies. Please visit our website for more information on Lauder fellowships, tuition and financial aid.

Lauder applicants may also apply for the University of Pennsylvania’s Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) Fellowships program.


Interviews for the MBA program are offered by invitation only. If you have been invited to interview, then you will participate in the Wharton MBA Team Based Discussion (TBD). Visit the Interview Process for more details and tips.

Admissions Decisions

After you apply to an MBA program, all decisions are released via Online Application System. Decisions released include:

Admission to the Wharton MBA

We offer clear admission to highly qualified candidates pending confirmation of official academic transcripts and test scores. Admissions are made on an individual basis & all applicants are measured against both the MBA admissions requirements & in the greater context of all applicants.

Conditional Admission

We offer conditional admission to candidates who clearly demonstrate significant potential for success both within the Wharton MBA program and post MBA, but whom we feel need additional preparation before beginning the Wharton MBA program. Conditional admission is typically based on the need for strengthening a candidate’s analytical background or improving English communication skills.


Candidates can expect to remain on the waitlist until the previous round of decisions are released. There is no rank order to the waitlist, and we are unable to offer feedback to candidates while they remain on the list.

The committee welcomes important updates that you believe add significant value, growth, or development to  your application since submission.

International Applicants

Requirements for the MBA program are the same for both international students and U.S. citizens. Recognizing the special challenges that international students face, both Wharton and the University of Pennsylvania provide information and resources to help you navigate the MBA application process, and we assist international students with issues like obtaining a visa and relocating to a new country.

Academic Requirements

The MBA Admissions requirements are as follows: a college-level education equivalent to a four-year American undergraduate or baccalaureate degree (the same as a first university degree). Several universities around the world offer three-year undergraduate programs. If you received a bachelor’s degree upon completion of one of these undergraduate programs, you are eligible to apply to the MBA program. Many candidates from three-year programs have a master’s degree as well, but it is not required.

When applying, list all of the post-secondary educational institutions you have attended, including technical and professional schools. Use the full names of the institutions attended, and provide the titles of all diplomas or degrees earned.

Please submit only official academic records from educational institutions. Official records are defined as original documents issued by the institution that bear both the actual (not photocopied) signature of the registrar and the institutional seal. Records issued only once by institutions should be photocopied and certified as official copies by school officials or legal authorities, such as embassies or public notaries. Please do not send the original copy of an academic record that cannot be replaced.

If you have attended more than one institution, submit official records from each institution, except study-abroad programs that are listed on your official undergraduate transcripts. If academic records and diplomas are not issued in English by the institution, submit both the official record and an authorized English translation.

All translations should be complete and literal renditions of the original record. Records should show the date of enrollment, courses taken, units of credit or time allotted to each subject during each term or year, your marks or ratings in each subject, and, if available, your rank in the total class or group.

The institutional grading scale (or other standards of evaluation, including minimum passing and failing marks and the definitions of grades between them) should appear on official records, or you should provide them as an attachment. For more information on the general MBA Application process, see the ‘Application Checklist‘ section above.

English Language Examinations

The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or PTE Academic test is required for all international applicants whose native language is not English. You may waive the TOEFL/PTE if you have earned an undergraduate degree or master’s degree in an English-speaking country or from an institution at which English is the language of instruction. You must provide evidence to support the waiver. If your test score is more than two years old (from the date of the exam to the date of application arrival), you must retake the test. Administered by ETS, the TOEFL is offered throughout the year at test centers worldwide. The PTE Academic test is administered by Pearson. Wharton only accepts official scores for English language tests.

Wharton’s TOEFL code is: 2926-02.

Student Visas

Should an offer of admission be extended and accepted, you are eligible to apply for either an F-1 or J-1 visa. To meet the eligibility requirements for a student visa, you must show proof of equivalent academic documents (diplomas), results from the TOEFL or PTE examination, and financial resources to pursue your course of study. Detailed information regarding the requirements and application process to obtain a student visa is sent to admitted students in the spring.

Interdisciplinary Program Applicants

Interdisciplinary study is central to our curriculum, with a wide array of dual and joint-degree options. In general, a dual-degree requires one  less year than it would take to pursue the two degrees separately. Joint degrees are fully integrated with the Wharton MBA curriculum and use a shared application. We offer two joint-degree programs: The Lauder MBA/MA in International Studies and the Carey JD/MBA.

Two programs combine the Wharton MBA with graduate study at other institutions; others combine a Wharton MBA with University of Pennsylvania biotechnology, design, engineering, law, medicine, nursing, and social work masters degrees.

Applying for Interdisciplinary Programs

You must apply to both Wharton and the second school or program. This means that the appropriate standardized test scores (e.g., LSAT, GRE, or MCAT), a completed application form, your transcript(s), and your letters of recommendation must also be sent to the partner school.

Admission decisions are made independently by each school, and you may pursue a dual-degree program only if admitted to both schools. Unless otherwise indicated, you may apply to both programs simultaneously. However, if you are admitted to both programs and do not want to begin at Wharton, you will need to request a deferral and will be subject to our deferral policy.

If you are already enrolled in a program, you may apply to Wharton in the fall semester following commencement of study in the co-sponsoring school. If you are applying to a three-year program, you may apply in the fall of your second year. If you are enrolled in the MD, DMD, or VMD program, you may apply to Wharton to start during any August up to and including the August following the third year of enrollment in the medical program.

To satisfy the MBA program requirements of the dual-degree program, you must take at least 15 courses at Wharton. Courses taken at Wharton prior to admission and matriculation into the Wharton MBA program may not be applied toward the degree requirements of the MBA.


Applicants to the three-year Carey JD/MBA Program must apply via a shared application. Given the unique nature of the program, applicants may not, after receiving an offer of admission, decide to enroll in one school and not the other (i.e., an applicant may not choose to only attend Wharton and not Penn Law, or vice versa, after a joint decision has been rendered). Applicants are encouraged to apply prior to matriculation in the Law School. However, since the first year of the three-year JD/MBA program takes place at Penn Law, Penn Law students have the option of applying during their 1L year, during Round 1 or Round 2 of the Wharton MBA admissions timeline.

Also, the joint-degree Lauder Program application is reviewed in its entirety by both the Lauder and Wharton Admissions Committees, and you must apply via a shared application. Accepted MBA/MA students are admitted jointly into both programs, not independently into each.


If you applied to a program and were not admitted, we encourage you to reapply for the next academic year. Reapplications make up approximately 10% of our applicant pool in any given year. The most important thing is that you demonstrate through essays, subsequent career growth, and/or academic preparation that you are a stronger candidate. We recommend you review the MBA Prerequisites before re-submitting an application to ensure they have not changed since you last applied.

Reapplicant Essays

If you are reapplying, you are required to complete the requisite application essays plus the optional essay. Please use this space to explain how you have reflected on the previous decision on your application and to discuss any updates to your candidacy (e.g., changes in your professional life, additional coursework, and extracurricular/volunteer engagements). You may also use this section to address any applicable extenuating circumstances. (250 words)