Penn State Online MBA

The Penn State Online MBA seeks to prepare learners to become more effective business professionals by exposing them to principles and practices essential to modern management.

Penn State University offers the online MBA program through the Penn State Smeal College of Business.

It provides opportunities for students to apply knowledge to solving real-world business problems.

The program runs on the Penn State semester system. It incorporates a focus on business strategies, collaborative teamwork, strategic leadership, and an integrative curriculum along with all functional areas of business.

The school accepts all students from different backgrounds and allows them to concentrate on the functional areas while working at a pace that best suits them.

Penn State Online MBA Highlights

  • The Penn State online MBA program offers an excellent opportunity for working individuals to earn their degrees online.
  • The online MBA program at Penn State University is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).
  • Penn State has a rolling application deadline for both US residents as well as international students.
  • Penn State has an acceptance rate of 89% and students have an average GMAT score of 546.
  • 100% online program
  • 48 Credits – $1,236 per Credit
  • Duration: 2 years
  • Avg. GMAT score: 660
  • Avg. Undergrad GPA: 3.4
  • The Penn State Online MBA is highly ranked by U.S. News & World Report.
  • The AACSB–accredited MBA incorporates a focus on business strategies, collaborative teamwork, strategic leadership, and an integrative and interactive curriculum across all functional areas of business
    Students participate in many team-based projects, which encourage networking with and learning from peers of diverse backgrounds and specialties.

Video: Why the Penn State Online MBA

Penn State Online MBA Rankings

Penn State is ranked #8 in US News Best Online MBA Program.


Penn State Online MBA Tuition Cost

Tuition rates cost $1236 per credit. The program office pays for residency lodgings and meals. 

The tuition cost of the Penn State Online MBA program is $1,236 per credit for both in-state and out-of-state residents. This fee also includes meals and housing during your 5-day residency held at University Park, Pennsylvania at the commencement of the program.

Similarly, financial aid is much available to help students finance their education. Payment includes an installment plan and third-party payments.

In order to graduate, students are required to have 48 credits, creating a total of $56,880 for the program. 

Additionally, Penn State charges an information technology fee, each semester.

  • 9 or more credits: $252
  • Between 5 and 9 credits: $189
  • Less than 5 credits: $86

Penn State offers a payment plan for students to pay their tuition. Students are allowed to take up to 3 months to pay for classes using this system.
Employer Reimbursement and Deferment
Students that have an employer reimbursement plan are allowed to use this program. It allows for payments to be made after the end of the semester, with no finance or interest charges.

Penn State Online MBA Financial Aid


Scholarships are available though few and highly competitive to online MBA students and are based on merits. Students who have been accepted to the program are automatically eligible for these merit-based scholarships. Students have to demonstrate extraordinary personal, professional or academic achievements, or the ability to contribute a unique perspective to the class for consideration. Applicants are required to submit their completed application portfolio for scholarships at least three months prior to the application deadline.

Everyone who applies to the online MBA program at Penn State is automatically considered for a few merit-based scholarships. Because of the volume, students should submit their application portfolio at least 3 months in advance.

These scholarships are provided to those who have received achievements in one of the following areas:

  • Personal
  • Professional
  • Academic
  • Payment Plans

Federal Student Loans

The government allows students to borrow up to $20,500 per year, based on the Stafford Loan.
Private Loans
Students have the option of looking for private loans to finance their education, as well as food and housing.

Penn State MBA Curriculum and Courses

A cutting edge curriculum is offered and consists of a 48-credit program out of which 39 are General Management credits at the core of the program and 9 credits of concentration coursework from more than 20 concentrations available. Through these courses, students are able to develop skills integrated throughout the online MBA program such as business analytics, problem-solving, influencing others, critical thinking and cross-functional business savvy. The courses are three credits each and require approximately 10 hours of work each week. All courses are asynchronous hence students are not required to log in at a particular time each week. Aside, there is a five day residency held at University Park, Pennsylvania at the start of the program. The residency provides students an opportunity to meet their student peers, immerse themselves in a team performance class and attend workshops covering student advising services, career management, stress management, alumni relations and networking, time management and online technology.

Penn State uses ICE, a 3-part plan to help students succeed. I is for integration, C is for collaboration and E is for engagement. This framework is designed to help students have the best possible experience in learning and problem-solving. Classes also have group projects that students must complete. These projects are designed to help students work well on a team and collaborate with others.

In order to graduate with your Penn State online MBA, you will need to complete 48 credits of education. However, 39 of these credits will be received by taking core courses, which include the following classes.

  • Team Performance – 3 Credits – Teaches team processes.
  • Financial Accounting – 3 Credits – Teaches accounting practices.
  • Leadership Communications – 3 Credits – Highlights communications for managers.
  • Data Analysis for Decision Making – 3 Credits – Informs students how to use statistics for business.
  • Marketing in a Global Environment – 3 Credits – Teaches students marketing strategies.
  • Financial Management – 3 Credits – Informs students how to make financial decisions.
  • Managing Supply Chains – 3 Credits – Teaches students to analyze strategies in the management of supply chains.
  • Economics for Business Strategy – 3 Credits – Basis of pricing, marketing structures and creating a formula for competition.
  • Managing and Leading People in Organization – 3 Credits – Teaches how to deal with people in various situations.
  • Ethical and Responsible Business Leadership – 3 Credits – Shows students how to manage ethical conduct.
  • Global Strategic Management – 3 Credits – Teaches students how to tackle business issues and improve performance.
  • Corporate Innovation and Entrepreneurship – 3 Credits – Teaches an understanding of concepts and principles involved in new ventures.
  • Managing the Digital Economy – 3 Credits – Shows students how the digital age is transforming business.

More About Curriculum.

  • The core course work will prepare you to become a more effective business professional by exposing you to the principles and practices essential to modern management.
  • You will also develop skills that will be integrated throughout the Online MBA curriculum, including business analytics, problem-solving, influencing others, critical thinking, and cross-functional business savvy.
  • The program provides opportunities for you to apply your knowledge to solving real-world business problems in a team setting.
  • To enhance our course offerings and to provide expertise in various areas of business specialization, world-renowned faculty from the Black School of Business, Penn State Behrend; The School of Graduate Professional Studies, Great Valley; and Penn State Harrisburg School of Business Administration will also be teaching various courses within this program.

MBA Concentrations

There are more than 20 concentrations available. These are,

  • Accounting foundations
  • Advanced accounting
  • Business analytics
  • Business architecture
  • Business sustainability strategy
  • Community and economic development
  • Corporate innovation and entrepreneurship
  • Cyber-security intelligence leadership
  • Engineering leadership and innovation management
  • Finance
  • General management
  • Health care business
  • Homeland security
  • Human resource management
  • International affairs,
  • Management consulting
  • Marketing analytics,
  • Negotiation and influence
  • Project management
  • Public administration
  • Strategic leadership
  • Supply chain management

Student Support and Career Services,

Getting an MBA degree is just one step ahead but maximizing on that investment is another vital step altogether. The Penn State Smeal College of Business together with Penn State World Campus and Penn State Alumni Association offers career resources for all online MBA students. Students may take interests in:

  • Self-assessments such as Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and Career Leader
  • Tools for job seekers including LinkedIn profile services, cover letter review, resume review, interview preparation, and job search strategy planning
  • Access to job postings and career fairs
  • Career-focused webinars

Additionally, students will also gain access to Smeal-specific job postings through the Nittany Lion Careers job posting system, access to Smeal Career Fairs, and information about additional activities and events for Smeal students and alumni. Penn State boasts of major powerful alumni network raking over 692000 graduates worldwide.

  • Will have access to an array of resources as a Penn State student.
  • The Online MBA program team consists of expert full-time faculty, a top-ranked Penn State World Campus Technical Support team, experienced career advisers, and highly qualified administrative staff.
  • The team provides personal assistance and advice in regard to your academic plan and career goals throughout your time as a Penn State student.
  • You will receive the same educational support resources that our on-campus students receive in their MBA program.

Employment Report Report

  • Ninety-six percent of students are already employed when they first enroll.

Class Profile

  • 30% women out of the 475 students
  • Average GMAT of 577 for 2017 academic year students


Military benefits are available to veterans, spouses and dependents. The school’s experts help military students navigate through admissions, leverage their benefits, manage the impact of deployments and many more other services. The program was ranked among the best online MBA for veterans in 2020 by U.S. News & World Reports

Application Deadline

The school offers 5 starting dates each year to online MBA applicants. These are:

Spring deadline                  apply by October 15 to start January 19

Summer early deadline   apply by January 15 for priority considerations to start May 17

Summer deadline             apply by February 15 to start May 17

Fall early deadline            apply by March 1 for priority considerations to start August 23

Fall deadline                     apply by May 1 to start August 23

Admission requirements

  • A baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or a tertiary degree that is deemed comparable to a four years bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution.
  • Two years of post-undergraduate, full-time professional work experience
  • Official transcripts from each institution attended, regardless of the number of credits or semesters completed. It must be accompanied by a certified translation if transcripts are not in English.
  • GPA and GRE/GMAT test scores
  • English Proficiency tests for International students including TOEFL and IELTS scores.
  • Resume of 1-2 pages
  • Essay response to 6 short-answer questions of 50-100 words each
  • Online interview

GMAT Waiver

GRE/GMAT waivers may be available for highly qualified candidates with a focus on one or more of the following:

  • Advanced degrees such as M.D., D.O. and Ph.D. is automatically waived
  • Have at least 5 years of relevant and progressive post-undergraduate work experience
  • Significant leadership experience particularly in the armed forces
  • Able to demonstrate a readiness to complete graduate education, quantitative ability and advanced analytical reasoning skills