Application Deadline

Applications for the new doctoral cohort that begins in July are reviewed as received. One cohort per year is admitted.

Priority Deadline: January 31
Regular Deadline: May 1

Note: Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis and are accepted until the new cohort has been finalized.

Admission Requirements—Domestic Applicants

The university graduate and program admission requirements below must be met before an application is considered complete.

Note: Successful applicants to the Department of Higher Education normally have several years of full-time work experience in a college or university setting when applying for the PhD program. The theory-to-practice design across the four years of the program assumes that students are working in a higher education setting throughout their doctoral studies.

Applicants must possess:

  • A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution.
  • A master’s degree, preferably in higher education or a related field, from a regionally accredited institution.
  • A minimum 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale. (Provisional admittance may be granted to individuals who do not meet this criteria if competency can be shown.)

Applicants must submit:

  • Graduate application for admission
  • $45 nonrefundable application fee
  • Official transcripts from all institutions leading to and awarding the applicant’s bachelor’s and master’s degrees from a regionally accredited institution and all postbaccalaureate study

    An official transcript is one that Azusa Pacific University receives unopened in an envelope sealed by the former institution and that bears the official seal of the college or university. A cumulative minimum 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) grade-point average on the posted degree is required for regular admission status. Provisional admittance may be granted to individuals with a lower GPA if competency can be shown through multiple measures.

  • Two recommendation forms. (Additional letters of recommendation on letterhead are also accepted.) One reference letter should address the applicant’s ability to undertake doctoral-level academic work and the other one should serve as a reference of the applicant’s professional abilities and potential.
  • Current résumé
  • Letter of intent: Address the following in no more than 1,000 words, single-spaced: (1) why you are interested in pursuing a PhD in Higher Education, and at APU in particular; (2) your passions, interests, and professional goals; (3) your research interests and how earning a PhD in Higher Education from APU would support those interests; (4) what you would contribute to your cohort—what strengths you would bring and how your cohort would be a better learning environment because of your participation; and (5) your academic journey and what kind of learner you are, explaining what you think has helped you succeed academically thus far.
  • Professional writing sample that cites academic literature and demonstrates your ability to think critically and write cogently. If you do not have a writing sample readily available, you may submit your response to the following prompt:
    • In no more than 1,000 words, identify one critical issue facing U.S. higher education. This issue may be about policy or practice or both. Write about this issue from national and local perspectives. In other words, how is this a critical issue for higher education generally, and how does this issue manifest itself within your specific institution? Cite scholarly sources and write the paper in a scholarly tone.
  • Other evidence of potential for leadership as the applicant desires

Send official transcripts to:

Graduate and Professional Center
Office of Graduate and Professional Admissions
Azusa Pacific University
PO Box 7000
Azusa, CA 91702-7000

What to Expect

After all admission materials have been received by the Graduate and Professional Center, the faculty or department chair reviews the applicant’s file. The applicant is notified in writing of the admission decision.

Admission Requirements—International Applicants

This program is not open to F-1 or J-1 international students, because the low-residency format doesn’t meet the full time face-to-face requirement set by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. If you are an international student who does not require a F-1 or J-1 visa, you may be considered for this program.

To apply for a graduate program at APU, the following requirements must be fulfilled in addition to meeting the domestic applicant and program-specific admission requirements specified above.

International applicants must also:

  • Demonstrate proficiency in English through a TOEFL/IELTS score that meets program-specific requirements. Refer to APU’s English proficiency requirements to learn more. Request that official test scores be sent to APU. All other forms of proof indicated in the English proficiency requirements must be submitted directly to the International Services.
  • Submit a copy of a valid passport showing biographical data, including your name, country of citizenship, date of birth, and other legal information.

International applicants send official transcripts to:

International Center
Azusa Pacific University
901 E. Alosta Ave.
PO Box 7000
Azusa, CA 91702-7000

What to Expect

After the International Center receives all transcripts, a committee of department faculty reviews the applicant’s file. The applicant is then notified of the committee’s decision within approximately two weeks.

Note: This information is current for the 2023-24 academic year; however, all stated academic information is subject to change. Please refer to the current Academic Catalog for more information.

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