Application Process

Admission Information

Cohort members are drawn from all sectors of education, with an emphasis on professionals in leadership positions in public schools, community colleges, and universities. To apply for the Appalachian State Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership, applicants must hold a master's degree from an accredited institution.

Applications for all cohorts are due Feb. 1 each year.  Admission letters are typically sent 6 weeks after applications close. The Doctoral Program does not conduct rolling admissions. Admission to the Doctoral Program is competitive. All applications for a given entry term will be weighed based upon the number of seats available and the quality of the complete application packages. 

Applications are submitted online. Detailed application information can be found in Graduate Admissions.

 Cohort Schedule:

  • Online Cohort 3 begins Fall 2021
  • The 2022 cohort is planned to be offered on-campus only. 
    • Application Due: Feb. 1, 2022

Application Materials and Information

Required Entrance Exam: GRE (score must be no more than five years old). All students must submit current GRE scores (unless the student is eligible for the GRE waiver).

Standardized Exam Waiver Eligibility: The standardized exam (GRE) requirement may be waived for applicants with:

    • An earned graduate degree with a GPA of 3.0 or higher AND
    • At least five (5) years of professional experience in education


    • An earned Education Specialist (EdS) degree with a GPA of 3.0 or higher from Appalachian State University

*Please note that the MAT exam cannot be used in place of the GRE.

Required number of references to specify in the online form:  4

Application Materials: 

  1. A completed application form submitted with the application fee
  2. Official transcript(s) for all college credits (undergraduate and graduate) awarded
  3. A current curriculum vitae
  4. Evidence of three years of appropriate professional work experience
  5. Four references from professional colleagues qualified to address your potential as a successful doctoral student
  6. Letter of intent (upload on the Additional Information page in the online application)
    1. Your letter of intent gives us a window into your history, motivation, and goals for doctoral study, as well as your voice as a writer. It must be original work, and we will review it carefully as a sample of your writing ability. Please address the following, without exceeding five double-spaced pages. You may add an additional page for any references (using APA 7th edition citation style).
      1. What energizes you to pursue a doctorate in educational leadership? How would earning a doctorate advance your personal/professional goals?
      2. What educational problems are of greatest concern to you, given your context and standpoint as an educator? What experiences or theories have influenced your thinking about those problems?
      3. How would you describe your commitment to, and/or experience with, diversity, equity, and inclusion in education? How does that experience inform your educational practice?
      4. How would doctoral study and dissertation research help you lead educational change, especially toward greater equity and social justice?
  7. Applicants should arrange for an interview with the Director of the Doctoral Program prior to completing the written application
  8. A Graduate Record Examination (GRE) transcript, validating a competitive score on each subsection of the exam (the exam must have been taken within five years) with a GRE writing score of 4.0

Basic Conditions for Consideration of Admission: Meeting or exceeding the conditions below does NOT guarantee admission. All applications for a given entry term will be weighed based upon the number of seats available and the quality of the complete application packages. With special permission from the Graduate School, a program may admit a limited number of students with exceptional circumstances who do not meet the graduate school minimums.

Graduate School: 3.0 GPA in the last earned degree and official scores from the appropriate admission test(s), OR 2.5 GPA in the last earned degree, and official scores at the 25th percentile level from the appropriate admission test(s).

Admission to Educational Leadership: Master’s degree from an accredited college or university or the Education Specialist (Ed.S.) degree from Appalachian State University, GRE Writing score of 4.0.

Please refer to the Graduate School website for all information regarding admission into the Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership. If you are interested in an Online or Off-Campus cohort please reference the Appalachian Online website