Doctoral Admission

In addition to the general University requirements for admission to doctoral study, applications for the ETAP Ph.D program should include: 1) Graduate Record Examination aptitude scores; 2) official transcripts from previous undergraduate and graduate study; 3) three letters of recommendation from instructors familiar with the applicant's previous academic work; and 4) a personal statement of goals for doctoral study. Students for whom English is a second language should also submit results from the TOEFL or IELTS exam (The Department typically requires total scores on the internet-based TOEFL of 100 or better).

Applications are assembled by Graduate Admissions and come to ETAP for review only after all parts of the application are complete (including letters, transcripts, and test scores).

Qualified candidates are not normally accepted until a faculty member has agreed to serve as an advisor. An applicant who holds a master's degree with specialization in an appropriate field may be granted advanced standing after admission.

Admissions Criteria

Completed applications are reviewed holistically, including consideration of academic readiness, relevance of previous experience, and potential fit with the ETAP doctoral program.

  • Academic Readiness includes consideration of the depth and breadth of previous preparation, quality of writing reflected in the application materials and interest in research and scholarship. This will include a review of previous transcripts and GPA, scores on the GRE, letters of reference, and personal statement of interests and goals.
  • Relevance of Previous Experience is based on the applicant's statement of goals for doctoral study, and whether those goals are realistic given previous academic and professional experiences presented in the application and supporting materials.
  • Potential Fit reflects the extent to which the applicant's goals and interests can be adequately addressed by the courses and other experiences in the ETAP doctoral program. A strong fit, for example, would be reflected in a student whose interests closely correspond to coursework available in the department, as well as with the programs of research led by Department faculty.

See the the Doctoral Handbook for more details.

Unsuccessful Applications

Our programs are highly sought after, and we have a limited number of places in each of our programs; we have to turn away many qualified applicants. Having an alternative plan for another program is always a good strategy. An unsuccessful candidate does have the right to request reconsideration, but unless new and compelling information is presented, these requests are not successful. Requests for reconsideration should be sent to the Graduate Admission Office, and should include any new and compelling information beyond the original application.


Admissions criteria, posted above, can be used to reflect on the strengths and weaknesses of your application. Please do not ask faculty members or department secretaries to discuss with you reasons why your application was denied. Department policy forbids this. Each application is given a thorough review by an admissions committee, and all aspects of the application (previous academic record, letters of reference, responses to our questions, personal statement, fit to our program, and examination results (e.g., TOEFL, GRE, Praxis, if required) are carefully considered. We do not deny an application based on any single factor.