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Admissions Requirements

The Higher Education program is growing! While in the process of hiring additional faculty members, we will not admit any new Ph.D. students for Fall 2019. We regret the inconvenience and hope you will consider our program when we resume admissions for Fall 2020

Below are the current admission requirements. Admission requirements may change for 2020 admissions so please check back for updates.

Admissions Requirements

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; and 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.

What You'll Need


Include a web printout or scanned copy of your transcripts with your online application.  If you receive an offer of admission and choose to enroll at VT, then arrange for an official copy to be sent to both Graduate Admissions and School of Education.

Department Graduate Testing Requirements

Official GRE is required for Higher Education (Ph.D.). 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.). 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

Include your most recent Curriculum Vitae.

Personal Statement

Applicants are asked to provide a brief (2­-3 pages) personal statement which includes the following:

  • 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

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

We require a minimum TOEFL score of 90 (IBT) or IELTS score of 6.5 for admission. Test scores should be sent to us using ETS institution code 5859.

Applying for Graduate Assistantships

The HED Admissions Coordinator will guide applicants through the process of applying for available Graduate Assistantship positions.  While funding is not guaranteed, admitted students are generally offered a “package” with an offer of admission and a graduate assistantship position. The GA position and provides a monthly stipend, a health insurance benefit and covers tuition (not fees)

Potential GA Opportunities Include:

  • Office of University Scholarships and Financial Aid
  • Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity
  • Department of Recreational Sports
  • Cultural and Community Centers
  • Career and Professional Development
  • Office of First Year Experiences
  • Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life
  • Office of Housing and Residence Life
  • Office of Multicultural Academic Opportunities Program
  • Office of New Student and Family Programs
  • Office of Student Engagement and Campus Life
  • Office of Student Conduct
  • Pre-College and Pipeline Initiatives
  • The Student Success Center
  • University Academic Advising Center

A question on the application for graduate admission asks whether you want to be considered for a teaching assistantship. Check yes. Please note that Indicating that you wish to be considered for an assistantship does not mean that you will be offered one, only that you wish to be considered for one, if available.

Learn more about other available funding opportunities

Application Fees

Degree-seeking students must include a $75 fee with their application, though check to see if you qualify for a waiver or reduced fee.

Submission Deadlines

Deadlines for Domestic and International Application
Applications for Fall are due on January 15

Additional Notes

  • You will be notified by the Graduate School about the action taken on your application for admission.
  • To apply to the Virginia Tech Higher Education (Ph.D.) program, select "Education, Higher Education (Ph.D.) " as your major. Choose degree option “Ph.D.” from the list.

To request further information about the program or the application process, please contact Admissions Coordinator.

Claire K. Robbins, Ph.D.
1750 Kraft Dr., Room 2007
Blacksburg, VA24060

The official transcripts showing degree conferral should be sent directly from your institution(s) to Graduate Admissions and School of Education:
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
402 Wallace Hall (0565)
Blacksburg, VA 24061