Since you are applying to a PhD program that is preparing you to be a scholar and a researcher you should seek out letters from people who have worked with you in an academic capacity as recently as possible. You want your references to be able to talk about your writing skills, critical thinking skills, and if possible, your research skills and ability to work independently and on collaborative projects. Including one letter from a professional reference -- particularly from an educational context can also provide valuable information for the admissions committee. We discourage personal references from family or close friends.

You are required to submit GRE scores taken within the last five years. This is a requirement for all students, including international students who have taken the TOEFL or IELTS and students who have completed prior graduate degrees or coursework. We do not have official “cut” scores as we engage in a holistic review of your experiences and application. If you do have a below average score in any area on the GRE, it is helpful if you can address why you think that is and you can address your scores in your personal statement if you like. For example, if you get a low quantitative score: address how you plan to be successful in a full year course sequence in Quantitative Methods. You can include a paragraph about this in your personal statement.

Your GRE score can take several weeks to process. In order to avoid a late application requirement (which would disqualify you for admission), please plan to take the GRE no later than 3 weeks prior to the deadline. We encourage applicants to take the GRE early enough to retake it if desired prior to the application deadline. 

If you have a particular time in your academic history that does not reflect what you are capable of, it is helpful to note this in your personal statement. You do not need to provide extensive details, but it is helpful for the committee to understand that you experienced a hardship and your academics were impacted as a result.

Successful statements concisely and clearly state your interest in pursuing a PhD in our School of Education and help the committee understand general areas of interest for further inquiry as dissertation topics. It also helps program areas identify which faculty members might be best suited to support your research if admitted to the program. They should be well-organized and clearly written without too much academic jargon. It may strengthen your statement to include a few references to scholarship that has inspired you to seek further study. Generally, a statement of 3-5 pages (double spaced) is sufficient to accomplish these goals.

We discourage this as each program area makes their admissions decisions independently and it is difficult to consider an applicant for two different program areas at the same time. It also may indicate a lack of clarity in your focus and goals and may not benefit you during the application review process. If you have interests in working with faculty in different program areas, it is helpful to address this in your statement while still stating clearly your decision for applying to the program area you selected. Please note: the program area: Teacher Learning, Research and Practice (TLRP) can either be your primary program area that you submit your application to OR can be added on to any other program area after being admitted.

Our faculty have varying views on students reaching out to them prior to reviewing applications. Some really appreciate getting to hear from you and discussing your interests as you develop your application, others prefer to only review the applications submitted and meet only with students invited to our finalist weekend in February. It never hurts to reach out via email to express your interest in working with them and if they respond, great! If they don’t respond it just means they have a different approach to considering prospective students.

Faculty members with the following titles can accept PhD students: Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, Professor. Other titles such as Research Associate, Research Professor, Lecturer, etc. do not advise PhD students. You may email faculty members to ask if they are considering taking on new advisees during the next application cycle. Most are, but some faculty members may take a year off of admitting new students due to their current advising load.

There are two places where you can learn about our faculty’s research. Many faculty have information about current publications on the School of Education people directory page. You can also find some faculty research that is posted on CU Scholar.

All students admitted to our PhD programs are provided a 5-year funding guarantee which includes a tuition-waiver and stipend for fall and spring semesters for 5 years. There are additional funding packages (Chancellor’s Fellowship, Miramontes Fellowship, Diversity Recruitment Fellowship) that students are automatically considered for once a complete application is submitted. To be considered for the Miramontes Fellowship you do need to indicate an interest in being considered and submit an additional brief statement about your commitments to equity and justice in education.

Finalist decisions will be made and posted by mid- to late- January. All finalists will be invited to join us on campus for Finalist Weekend in late February. Please hold the weekend of Feb. 21-23, 2020 open so you can attend if invited. Admission and funding decisions will be made after Finalist Weekend and are generally posted by mid- to late- March. Admitted students are required to respond to their offer of admission by April 1.

Our program is designed to be completed within 5 years though students sometimes finish sooner or take a bit longer depending on their particular circumstances.

Our program is designed to prepare graduates to pursue a variety of paths including: faculty positions at research-intensive (R1) or teaching-intensive college and universities, researchers at think-tanks, policy advocacy, or educational research organizations, leadership positions at school districts or state departments of education, independent scholars and consultants to name a few.

You can browse our student dissertations on the CU Scholar website.