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Ph.D./M.A. Admissions

What we look for

Admission to our masters and doctoral programs are competitive and we look for candidates whose goals and interests align with the program’s research and scholarship. Program faculty make admissions decisions based on the candidate’s experience and research competencies, along with compatibility of research goals. Please look at our current faculty membersresearch interests.

Our masters and doctoral candidates display

  • Evidence of strong interest in research and in the development of research competencies
  • Evidence of substantial experience in the discipline
  • Strong writing skills
  • Bachelor's degree from an accredited U.S. institution or foreign equivalent; 3.00 GPA preferred

Dates and deadlines

December 1st is the priority deadline for Fall admission the following year.

Applications submitted after this date are considered on a case-by-case basis and may not be reviewed until the following year. Faculty review applications in mid-late December, and the Graduate School will notify applicants about admission decisions shortly thereafter. Final admission decisions are based on complete applications. All application materials (listed in the “how to apply” section) must be included for the application to be released for review.

If you have missed the December 1 priority deadline, please contact Graduate Studies Coordinator, Kristina Pearson to find out if space is still available in your desired program area

Required application documents

  1. Unofficial transcripts. Upload your transcripts into the application system. Please include all transcripts from any institution you have attended, even if you did not earn a degree or certificate. Please do not mail your transcripts. Official transcripts are required only after you are admitted. Tips for uploading your transcript(s).
  2. GRE scores. Only the general test is required. We do not have a minimum score requirement since we view each application holistically. University of Minnesota code: 6874. Average GRE scores of admitted students.
  3. Resume.
  4. CI Application Form. Upload in the graduate program additional materials section.
  5. Three letters of recommendation. Ask professors, employers, or supervisors to speak to your potential for successfully completing your degree; they will upload their letters directly into the online application.

Required Written Statements

  1. Personal statement. Upload to the Applicant Statements section of the online application. Please trace how you became interested in research in this discipline, as well as what problems interest you the most and why. Be sure to speak to:
    • Why you want to study in our department
    • What strengths, expertise, and research experience would contribute to your success in our program
    • Your professional goals for pursuing a research-focused degree

    We have no minimum page requirement for the personal statement, though most applicants write 1.5 to 3 pages single-spaced.

  2. Diversity statement. Upload to the Applicant Statements section of the online application. Identify the distinctive qualities, characteristics, and life experiences you would contribute to our community. You may wish to include examples that address your contribution to the diversity of the student body and illustrate your motivation to succeed by setting high standards for accomplishing intellectual and other goals, overcoming obstacles to achievement, and/or helping others to gain access to the resources necessary for success. (please do not exceed one page in length)
  3. Short writing sample. (Optional except for Literacy Education applicants). For example, an excerpt from a term paper or research paper for publication. No longer than five pages in English.
  4. Common Ground Consortium Fellowship. (Optional) for African-American students CGC develops proactive and collaborative Black intellectual leaders in education. If you wish to apply, submit a statement that describes how your participation as a CGC scholar would a) enhance your graduate student experience, b) prepare you for your chosen career, and c) benefit the public. Upload to graduate program additional materials section.

Transfer credits

M.A. students must complete at least 60 percent of their coursework (not including thesis credits) within our program. Ph.D. students may transfer no more than 15 credits from an outside institution.

A maximum of 12 graduate course credits taken as non-degree seeking or non-admitted status at the University of Minnesota can be transferred; this is counted separately from the maximum 60 percent or 15 non-UMN credits. For example, a Ph.D. student could transfer a maximum of 27 credits (15 non-UMN and 12 non-degree from UMN).

If you earned a M.A. at the UMN, please contact the Graduate Studies Coordinator to discuss transfer procedures. Thesis credits cannot be transferred.

After you are admitted, you will work with your advisor to determine which credits may transfer.

International applicants

International applicants may also need:

  • An English translation of your transcripts, if the transcript is not in English. Please note: the Graduate School Admissions Office will not accept an evaluation of your international coursework by an outside agency such as ECE or WES; they only accept the original transcripts.
  • TOEFL/IELTS or MELAB. You may qualify for an exception if you have completed 16 semester or 24 quarter credits within the past 24 months in residence as a full-time student at an accredited institution of higher learning in the United States or other country where English is the official language (i.e. U.K, Canada). Score requirements and submission guidelines

Financial Aid, Fellowships, Graduate Assistantships

Accepted applicants who have indicated via the CI Application Form that they wish to be considered for graduate assistantship funding will be notified before April 15 if the Department of Curriculum and Instruction is able to offer them a funding package. No other application is necessary for these positions.

There are a few fellowships that accepted applicants may be nominated for including the CEHD Graduate Student Fellowship and the DOVE Fellowship; accepted applicants will generally receive notification of their nomination to these fellowships by mid-January.

Graduate students are also eligible to apply for fellowships and graduate assistantships through other University departments. You may explore assistantships available outside our department on the University's employment page or fellowships through the Graduate School's Graduate Fellowship Office.

Find more detailed federal financial aid and graduate tuition information.

Application Checklist

Before applying online, go through the application checklist to ensure you have all the required materials. We are here to help! If you have questions, please contact the Graduate Studies Coordinator Kristina Pearson.

If you are a returning Graduate School student, follow the Readmission guidelines. If you are a current Graduate School student and need to change your program, follow the Change of Status guidelines.

Application Checklist