Pennsylvania State University
#87 Overall Influence

Pennsylvania State University

Public university In State College and multiple campuses in Pennsylvania, United States

About This School

How does this school stack up?

By James Barham, PhD

Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) was founded in 1855 as the Farmers’ High School of Pennsylvania.

In 1862, the school’s name was changed to the Agricultural College of Pennsylvania. In 1874 it was changed once again, this time to Pennsylvania State College, at which time a classical liberal arts curriculum was married to the agricultural training program.

In 1953, under the presidency of Milton S. Eisenhower—the brother of former US Army Supreme Commander and then–US President, Dwight D. Eisenhower—the college was upgraded to Pennsylvania State University.

With 23 campuses statewide in addition to the flagship University Park campus, Penn State is the first-tier public university system in Pennsylvania (the University of Pennsylvania being a private institution). With a total student population of more than 96,000, it is one of the largest universities in the US.

Prominent Penn State connected individuals include the following:

  • Poet, Theodore Roethke
  • Novelists, John Barth, Joseph Heller, Alan Furst & Richard Russo
  • Screenwriter, Steven E. de Souza
  • Computer scientists, Jef Raskin & John M. Carroll
  • Physicists, David Bohm, Roger Penrose & Lee Smolin
  • Nobel laureate in chemistry, Paul Berg
  • Climate scientist, Michael E. Mann
  • Plant geneticist, Nina Fedoroff
  • Population geneticist, Masatoshi Nei
  • Anthropologist, Nina Jablonski
  • Radical social critic and Catholic priest, Ivan Illich
  • Online education pioneer, Michael G. Moore
  • Former US Senators Richard Schweiker, Rick Santorum & Kelly Ayotte
  • Prime Minister of Bhutan, Jigme Thinley

Admissions

What does this school look for?

Annual Applications

52,742

Acceptance

56%

Graduation Rate

86%

Median SAT Score

1260

Median ACT Score

27

Costs

How much does it cost to attend?

Tuition (in-state)

$17,416

Fees (in-state)

$1,038

After Graduation

Averages for 10 years after enrolling

Avg Earnings

$57,200

Employed

92%

Campus Life

What's it like to attend this school?

The People

Full time on-campus stats

Student Body

47K

Under-Grads

43K

Graduates

4K

The Campus

Where will you be attending?

Location

201 Old Main, University Park PA 16802-1503

On Campus Crime Rates

Property Crime

9k per 100k

Violent Crime

1k per 100k

Influence Rankings by Discipline

How’s this school influential?

#22 World Rank #16 USA Rank
Education
#54 World Rank #20 USA Rank
Mathematics
#55 World Rank #21 USA Rank
Earth Sciences
#61 World Rank #45 USA Rank
Engineering
#62 World Rank #34 USA Rank
Biology
#70 World Rank #58 USA Rank
Communications
#77 World Rank #46 USA Rank
Computer Science
#89 World Rank #35 USA Rank
Chemistry
#93 World Rank #53 USA Rank
Psychology
#94 World Rank #71 USA Rank
Criminal Justice
#106 World Rank #36 USA Rank
Physics
#121 World Rank #94 USA Rank
Business
#125 World Rank #94 USA Rank
Nursing
#134 World Rank #72 USA Rank
History
#134 World Rank #56 USA Rank
Literature
#141 World Rank #77 USA Rank
Medical
#148 World Rank #53 USA Rank
Philosophy
#165 World Rank #97 USA Rank
Political Science
#167 World Rank #79 USA Rank
Sociology
#200 World Rank #93 USA Rank
Anthropology
#219 World Rank #117 USA Rank
Law
#221 World Rank #95 USA Rank
Economics
#283 World Rank #137 USA Rank
Religious Studies
#340 World Rank #200 USA Rank
Social Work

Influential People

Who are Pennsylvania State University's Most influential alumni?

Pennsylvania State University's most influential alumni faculty include professors and professionals in the fields of Education, Mathematics, and Earth Sciences. Pennsylvania State University’s most academically influential people include Paul Berg, Valerie Plame, and Steven Levy.

Paul Berg
Paul Berg

American biochemist, Professor emeritus at Stanford University & Nobel laureate in Chemistry

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Valerie Plame
Valerie Plame

American writer, spy novelist and former officer who worked at the CIA

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Steven Levy
Steven Levy

American journalist

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Jacob Rubinovitz
Jacob Rubinovitz

Israeli engineer

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Ian Waitz

American aeronautic engineer

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Agha Shahid Ali
Agha Shahid Ali

Poet

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Benjamin Bloom
Benjamin Bloom

American psychologist

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Gene Kelly
Gene Kelly

American dancer, actor, singer, director, producer and choreographer

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Richard Bruce Silverman
Richard Bruce Silverman

American chemist

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William Hultz Walker

American chemical engineer

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Donald Bellisario
Donald Bellisario

American television producer and screenwriter

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Jerry Sandusky

American criminal

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