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Higher Education Doctoral Program Admissions Information

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Admission to the doctoral program in Higher Education is determined by an admission committee composed of program faculty. Admission criteria include: 

  • An earned GPA of 3.3 (on a 4.0 scale) on previous graduate work. 
  • A master’s degree in counseling, student affairs, or a closely related field.
  • Three to five years or more of successful professional experience in student affairs or higher education administration. 
  • The student’s career goals should be consistent with professional status as an educational leader.
  • TOEFL/ IELTS  (For all non-U.S. citizens or non-U.S. permanent residents). Learn more about testing requirements.

GRE Scores are NOT required for application to this program.


Semester  Deadline
Fall   December 31, prior year


Note: Virginia Tech does not discriminate against employees, students, or applicants on the basis of age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, veteran status, or any other basis protected by law. For inquiries regarding nondiscrimination policies, contact the executive director for Equity and Access at (540) 231-8771 or Virginia Tech, North End Center, Suite 2300 (0318), 300 Turner St. NW, Blacksburg, VA 24061. 

Application Checklist


Include a scanned copy of your unofficial transcripts with your online application, then arrange for an official copy to be sent to both Graduate Admissions and School of Education after you receive an offer of admission.

Department Graduate Testing Requirements

The GRE is not required for the Higher Education and Student Affairs Ph.D. program. If you wish to submit scores, please have the testing agency send official scores to Virginia Tech Graduate School, code 5859.

Letters of Recommendation

Three letters of recommendation are required for Higher Education Ph.D. program. At least one from a college professor who knows the quality of your previous academic work, and at least one from a professional reference, such as a current or former employer.

Curriculum Vitae

Please submit your latest Curriculum Vitae/Resume.

In a separate document, please answer each of the following questions, restating the question at the beginning of your response. The faculty expects your responses to be composed entirely by you, without editing or review by others. Please make sure your name appears on the sheet before uploading the file, and limit your responses to no more than 250 words per question. The Graduate School application widget will allow the upload of a PDF or Word document into a your application record.

Personal Statement

In a separate document, please provide a brief (2-3 pages) personal statement, which includes the answers to the following questions. The faculty expects your responses to be composed entirely by you, without editing or review by others. Please make sure your name appears on the sheet before uploading the file. The Graduate School application widget will allow the upload of a PDF or Word document into a your application record.

  • Why do you want to undertake graduate work and what experiences have prepared you for doctoral work?
  • What do you expect to derive from your program of study?
  • What are your research interests? (understanding that these may change)
  • What are your professional aspirations following completion of the doctorate?


Interview with members of program faculty

After an initial review of applications, selected applicants are invited to interview weekend, which takes place on the last weekend in February.  During the weekend, applicants interview for both admission and graduate assistantships. They meet with faculty, GA supervisors, and current students; visit campus; and see firsthand whether the program fits their needs and aspirations.

Applying as an International Student

Applying as an International Student

The Graduate School requires that all non-U.S. citizens or non-U.S. permanent residents demonstrate English proficiency to ensure they enter the university with sufficient English skills necessary to function in a graduate program.

A TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System) test score is the most common way international applicants demonstrate English proficiency. We require a minimum TOEFL score of 90 (IBT) or an IELTS score of 6.5 for admission. Test scores should be sent to us using ETS institution code 5859. See this page if you qualify for an English language proficiency test waiver. Personal Statement

International students might be required to submit TOEFL scores, immigration documents, and other additional materials with their application.

Application Fees

Degree-seeking students must include a $75 fee with their application. If this poses a financial hardship, check with the Graduate School to see if you qualify for a waiver or reduced fee. All application fees are non-refundable.

To apply to the graduate program, students must submit the Virginia Tech Graduate School online application. 

 Send official scores to Virginia Tech Graduate School, code 5859.

In-state K-12 teachers are eligible for a 25% discount! Use this application form in order to receive the reduced costs. Otherwise, as with on-campus students, we refer you to the VT Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid for information on financial assistance. Generally, distance learners may qualify for federal loans if they take 5 or more credit hours per semester.

Find out what loans are available as a graduate student and other opportunities.

School of Education Scholarships

The Graduate School sends an official offer of admission to applicants upon the recommendation of the department faculty.

After you have received your official offer of admission from the School of Education, please arrange with your institution(s) to send your official transcript(s) showing degree conferral to Graduate Admissions and to the School of Education at the addresses below:

Virginia Tech Graduate Admissions
120 Graduate Life Center at Donaldson Brown
Mail Code 0325p 155 Otey Street NW
Blacksburg, Virginia 24061

Office of Academic Programs
School of Education
1750 Kraft Drive (0302)
Suite 2000
Blacksburg, Virginia 24061

Office of Academic Programs Support

Kathy Tickle
Enrollment Services Specialist
1750 Kraft Drive (0302), #2065

For Further Information, Contact the Program Leader:

Jodie L. Brinkmann, Assistant Professor of Practice and the Program Leader, smiles broadly at the camera. She wears a formal black dress with a pearl necklace
Chase Catalano, Assistant Professor and Program Leader, Ph.D. program

Dr. Chase Catalano, Ph.D.
Program Leader
1750 Kraft Drive (0302), #2038
Blacksburg, VA 24060

540-231-9034 |