Application Process for Professional Studies in Education

Students in class

Application to Graduate School

Students may apply online. It is best to apply well in advance of the start of classes in order to ensure a seat in the class.Applicants interested in a graduate assistantship are encouraged to apply by January 1 to ensure they are considered in the first round of awards.

Admission Criteria

The following admission criteria have been established by the School of Graduate Studies and Research:

  1. An applicant must have a bachelor's degree from a college or university accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools or an equivalent regional accrediting agency. Official transcripts of all work must be sent school-to-school.
  2. The applicant's undergraduate transcript must show a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.6 on a 4.0 maximum scale.
  3. Test of English as a Foreign Language scores are required for international students who do not speak English as their first language unless the student has earned a master's degree in the United States. Scores should come from a TOEFL taken no more than one year prior to the expected date of enrollment. We look for a minimum TOEFL score of 600 paper-based (PBT), or 100 Internet-based (iBT), and a minimum TWE (Test of Written English) score of 5.5. Due to federal regulations, international students must enroll in the main campus cohort and are not eligible to enroll in the Dixon University Center or Pittsburgh East cohort.
  4. Two letters of professional reference are required from individuals qualified to assess the applicant's potential for doctoral-level work.
  5. Applicants are required to write a Professional Goals Statement that describes what they hope to achieve through doctoral study.

All of these materials are submitted to the Admissions Office in 120 Sutton Hall, not to the Professional Studies in Education Department.

Departmental Requirements

In addition to the School of Graduate Studies and Research's criteria, applicants to the Doctoral Program in Curriculum and Instruction must also meet the following departmental program admission requirements:

  1. The applicant's graduate transcripts will show a minimum cumulative quality-point average of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale.
  2. Applicants will complete an online writing task that is individually scheduled and evaluated by members of the Doctoral Screening Committee.

Upon notification of acceptance into the doctoral program by the School of Graduate Studies and Research, the student will be classified as a pre-candidate. As a pre-candidate, a student may enroll for classes on a full-time basis (nine credits in the fall and spring semesters and at least six credits in the summers) or a part-time basis (six credits each in the fall, spring, and summer).

Admission to the Program: Departmental Review Process

Applicants submit their materials during the school year before a cohort is assembled. Students considered for admission begin the program as part of a group, or cohort, that begins the program together and progresses through the required courses together. Ideally, the main campus cohorts and Dixon University Center/Pittsburgh East cohort are offered on an alternating basis.

If the cohort in which a student wishes to enroll will not be starting immediately, it is possible for the student to enroll prior to the fall cohort to complete the six credits of electives; please contact the program coordinator for advice on how to accomplish this. Electives and the dissertation are scheduled in a different sequence for full-time and part-time students.

The following steps will guide applicants through the admission process in the Professional Studies in Education Department.

Application Process

Analyze the match between your professional goals and the program's mission. The Doctoral Program in Curriculum and Instruction began in the 1960s as a doctorate in elementary education. It continues to place an emphasis on education, particularly the preparation of future teachers. Most graduates of the program become professors in colleges of education or supervisors of curriculum and instruction in public and private elementary and secondary schools. The Frequently Asked Questions brochure assists prospective students in defining the program's suitability for them.

Note: The Professional Studies in Education Department also offers a doctoral degree in Administration and Leadership Studies. Students who seek to become school superintendents will find that this program is better suited to pursuing their career goals than the degree in Curriculum and Instruction.

Consider the timeline. The program enrolls a cohort of approximately 20 students each year. All students in the cohort begin their classes together and follow the same sequence of required courses. Those interested in pursuing the degree must be interviewed and accepted the year prior to the formation of a new cohort. Admission to the Doctoral Program in Curriculum and Instruction is highly competitive, and usually fewer than half of the applicants are accepted for each cohort. Therefore, it is very important to complete the application process in a timely fashion. After the cohort is filled, a wait list is begun and even highly qualified applicants may not be accommodated.

Check on the status of your application to the School of Graduate Studies and Research. Apply online.As part of the application process, applicants must write a goals statement that describes their reasons for pursuing the doctorate in curriculum and instruction. This statement should focus on what you envision for yourself professionally if you are accepted into the program and earn the DEd in Curriculum and Instruction. Applicants also need two letters of professional reference from individuals qualified to assess their potential for doctoral study. Usually, these references are former professors and current supervisors in school settings. Official transcripts bear an official seal and are mailed directly from one institution to another rather than from the student to the institution. Transcripts must be submitted for all undergraduate and graduate work, even if the studies did not lead to a degree.

Note: The goals statement, letters of reference, transcripts, and application to the graduate school are submitted online and to the School of Graduate Studies and Research, 101 Stright Hall, 210 South Tenth Street, IUP, Indiana, PA 15705-1081. Do not submit them to the Professional Studies in Education Department.

The most common cause of a delay in processing applications is that a letter or transcript has not yet been received. Before an applicant's file is scanned and sent electronically to the Professional Studies in Education Department by the SGSR, it must be complete. Please contact the School of Graduate Studies and Research at 724-357-2222 or via email to make certain that your letters and transcripts have arrived and that your application package was forwarded to the PSE Department. After the application to the School of Graduate Studies is complete, the departmental admission process described below can begin

PSE Department Review

Visit the doctoral program website. The website includes information about the department and the doctoral program.

Complete the application process with the IUP Admissions office. If you have not done so already, apply to the School of Graduate Studies and Research. You may apply online.

IUP Admissions Contact Information

IUP Admissions Office
Sutton Hall, Suite 120
1011 South Hall
Indiana, PA 15705

Phone: 724-357-7730
Fax: 724-357-2715


Office Hours: Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to noon and 1:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Consider a graduate assistantship. Many students have found that, if they can manage to devote 10 hours per week to working with a faculty mentor, the graduate assistant program offers a unique form of support. Individuals who wish to be considered for an assistantship should indicate their interest on the graduate school application.

Note: You must be a full-time student enrolled in nine credits each fall and spring during which an assistantship is awarded in order to qualify for a 20-hour graduate assistantship. For the 10-hour graduate assistantship, you must be enrolled in at least six credits during both the fall and spring semesters.

Additional Department Requirements

Two things have to occur prior to an admissions decision. First, your complete application packet has to be received by IUP's School of Graduate Studies and Research; they maintain student records. Second, you complete an online writing sample as explained below.

Online Writing Task

All applicants complete a writing task online. Each applicant will be provided with a copy of a professional journal article and respond to it in three sections:

Describe the thesis or main point of the article and analyze the points or issues identified in the article.

  1. Evaluate and critique the article.
  2. Apply the content of the article to your professional experiences and state your position on the topic or issue.

Note: Please do not merely summarize the article.

Instructions for the Online Writing Task

After you have completed your application to the IUP School of Graduate Studies and Research, please contact the doctoral program coordinator to arrange a time when you can complete the online writing task from your home computer. The online writing task is a required component for admission. Please do not submit a writing sample that was completed previously with your application. This writing task is completed electronically using email.

Decision-Making Process

The applicant needs an average score of 2.6 or above on a three-point scale on the writing sample and credentials to be recommended for admission to the program. Applicants will be notified officially about the admissions decision in a letter from the School of Graduate Studies and Research. If a student's application is rejected, this decision is binding. If an applicant is accepted, but space is no longer available in the cohort, the applicant will be placed on a waiting list and contacted as soon as a seat in the class becomes available or when the next cohort assembles.

Application Checklist

Submit the following items to the IUP Admissions Office, 120 Sutton Hall, IUP, Indiana, PA 15705.

_____1. Complete the application form and pay the application fee.

_____2. Submit official transcripts (sent school-to-school in a sealed envelope) for all college-level study. Grade point average on a 4-point scale, where 4 = A must be 2.6 or higher for undergraduate and 3.5 or higher for graduate study.

_____3. Submit TOEFL scores for international students without a master's degree from the United States.

_____4. Send two letters of professional/academic reference written by those qualified to assess the applicant's potential for doctoral study.

_____5. Write a goals statement that explains reasons for pursuing the doctorate and professional plans.

Additional Departmental Requirements

Note: This item is evaluated after the application packet described in items 1-5 has been received.

_____6. Complete the online writing task requiring reading a professional journal article, analyzing and critiquing it, and stating a position on the issue within a 1.5-hour time period. Email the response by the end of the time allotted for completion in order that members of the Doctoral Committee can review the submission.

Note: It is only after (1) a completed application to the School of Graduate Studies and Research, and (2) the online writing task have been evaluated that an admissions decision can be made. Those seeking a graduate assistantship need to complete all tasks in order to receive consideration.