Ph.D. Admission Requirements

Application Deadlines:

  • The application period for 2017 admission opened September 1, 2016, with a priority deadline of December 1, 2016. Applications received after December 1, 2016, will be accepted on a space available basis. 
  • Since the program starts in fall quarter each year, students are not normally admitted for winter or spring quarters.

Application Requirements:

  • Completion of a baccalaureate degree with a grade point average of at least 3.0 in the most recent academic degree program
  • Prior course work or background related to the specialization for which the student expresses interest
  • Completion of GRE general examination within the past five years and, for international students, TOEFL or IELTS taken within the past two years

Application Process:

    • Read Information for Prospective Students on the UCI Graduate Website and, if applicable, International Student Applicant Information
    • Complete the Online Application for Graduate Admission to UCI. As part of the online application, the School of Education requires that you submit both a Statement of Purpose and a Personal History Statement. You should also list the specialization you are interested in where the online application asks for "Specific Area of Interest." (If you are interested in more than one specialization, please list the one that represents your primary interest. You can discuss your interest in more than one specialization in your Statement of Purpose if you wish.) NOTE: You do not need to respond to the CSET or the CBEST categories; these are required only for Credential/MAT applicants, not for Ph.D. applicants.
    • Have one official copy of your transcript from all post-secondary institutions you attended sent directly to PhD Admissions, School of Education, 3200 Education, Irvine, CA, 92697-5500 (USA).
    • Have your GRE general examination scores sent to UCI (institution code 4859). Note: There is no minimum required GRE score.
    • International students must also submit a TOEFL or IELTS score.
    • Submit the following two documents in electronic format (PDF files only; no other format accepted) to using the designated document titles:
    • (a) an academic writing sample (e.g., thesis chapter, research paper, or academic article). Title your writing sample as follow:  LastName_FirstName_WS.pdf

    (b) a copy of your resume or CV. Title your CV/resume as follows: LastName_FirstName_CV.pdf
  • Have three letters of recommendation submitted electronically or by mail.
  • Pay the Application Fee.
  • After submitting your application, go to Application Progress Review to confirm whether your test scores or letters of recommendation (if submitted electronically) have been received.

Application Document Submission Instructions:

  • Your online application, statement of purpose, personal history statement, online letters of recommendation, GRE, and other test scores are submitted electronically to the UC Irvine Graduate Division via the posted application process.
  • Your writing sample and CV are submitted directly to the School of Education, Ph.D. in Education program at Please indicate in your email that these materials are to be uploaded to your Ph.D. in Education application file. 
  • Official sealed transcript(s) and paper letters of recommendation (if any) are mailed directly to the UCI School of Education.

Admissions Criteria:

Our program has two major criteria for evaluating applicants to our program:

1. Applicant's Potential to Conduct Educational Research

The goal of a Ph.D. program is to prepare people to conduct research, both to complete their dissertation and to have successful careers after graduation. Thus a major criterion for our program is our assessment of the applicant's potential to be a highly successful educational researcher.

2. Match with Our Program and Faculty

Beyond an applicant's potential as a researcher, we also consider the fit between, on the one hand, the background, trajectory, and research interests of the applicant and, on the other hand, the content of our program and interests of our faculty. We seek applicants who match well with our program specializations and with our faculty's research interests.

In evaluating these two criteria, we take into account all aspects of the application. An applicant's educational background (where studied, what studied, and academic performance), letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, writing sample, and standardized test scores (GRE and, when applicable, TOEFL) are all considered as evidence of potential to conduct educational research. The educational background, statement of purpose, and other aspects are considered as evidence of match with our program and faculty. All components of the application are considered together and no single component trumps all others (provided that basic application requirements, such as completion of bachelor's degree and submission of all required material, are met).

Finally, in assessing applicants on these criteria, we compare them to all other applicants to the program, with admissions decisions made on a competitive basis. We thus reserve the right to arrive at a decision on late applications even if they are not yet complete, as they will be compared to the completed applications already received. Note, though, that any favorable decisions made on incomplete applications will only be tentative pending the timely receipt of all required application materials.