Program Code

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

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 Ph.D. 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.

The university graduate and program admission requirements below must be met before an application is considered complete. Each Ph.D. program application is evaluated as a whole.

International students have a separate application procedure that precedes the standard admission process. View international requirements below or contact the International Center at +1-626-812-3055 or by email.

Applicants must possess:

  • A master’s degree
    A master’s degree from a regionally accredited institution
  • A minimum 3.0 GPA
    A 3.0 graduate grade-point average (GPA) on a 4.0 scale is required. (Provisional admittance may be granted to individuals who do not meet this criteria if competency can be shown.)

Applicants must submit:

  • Application for Graduate Admission (Apply Online | Download PDF).

  • $45 nonrefundable application fee
  • Official transcripts for the applicant’s baccalaureate degree and all postbaccalaureate study. An official transcript is one which APU receives unopened in an envelope sealed by the former institution and which bears the official seal of the college or university. Applicants may also deliver the transcripts in person.
    • 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.
    • Minimum grade-point average (GPA) of 3.0 in master’s-level work on a 4-point scale.
  • Three recommendation forms (Download PDF). (Additional letters of recommendation on letterhead are also accepted). At least one reference letter should address the applicant’s ability to undertake doctoral-level academic work; at least one should serve as a reference of the applicant’s professional abilities and potential.
  • A current résumé
  • A Letter of Intent, double-spaced, describing educational goals as well as short-term and long-term professional goals. The Letter of Intent should also articulate one’s current job setting and responsibilities, current interests, why and how APU’s Ph.D. program fits the applicant’s personal and professional goals, potential research interests, and what the applicant anticipates contributing to the incoming cohort of 15–18 doctoral students.
  • A writing sample that demonstrates the applicant’s ability to think critically and write cogently, using research and professional literature effectively in developing ideas and arguments (e.g., a master’s thesis, a scholarly article published in a journal, or a comprehensive course paper).
  • Results of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) taken within the last 5 years should be sent directly from the testing agency to the Graduate and Professional Center. Although the Doctoral Admissions Committee considers the applicant’s entire application, combined verbal and quantitative scores of 297 or higher and analytical writing scores above 4.5 are predictive of success in the program. Contact Joshua McGowan for more information.

    Applicants who have graduated from any of the respective programs at the institutions listed below may waive the GRE requirement in applying for APU’s Ph.D. in Higher Education IF one of the three references required as part of the application process is completed by a faculty member who has taught—or is teaching—in the respective master’s program and can attest to the applicant’s academic readiness for doctoral studies. Upon admittance to the Ph.D. program, the requirement of two units of elective credit will also be waived:
    • Abilene Christian University: Master of Education in Higher Education
    • Azusa Pacific University: Master of Science in College Counseling and Student Development (CCSD); previously College Student Affairs (CSA)
    • Baylor University: Master of Science in Education Program in Student Affairs Administration
    • Geneva College: Master of Arts in Higher Education Program
    • Messiah College: Master of Arts in Higher Education Program
    • Taylor University: Master of Arts in Higher Education Program
  • Other evidence of potential for leadership as the applicant desires.

Send all materials to:

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

(626) 815-4570
Fax: (626) 815-4545

What to Expect

Once all admission materials have been received by the appropriate office, the Graduate and Professional Admissions and department faculty review the applicant's file. The applicant is then notified of the committee's decision.

Admission Requirements—International Applicants

Azusa Pacific University is authorized under federal law by the U.S. CIS and the U.S. Department of State to enroll nonimmigrant, alien undergraduate and graduate students. APU issues and administers both the I-20 and DS 2019 (F-1 and J-1 status documents respectively).

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 by the program.

International applicants must:

  • Meet all standard admission requirements above
    International applicants must fulfill the domestic applicant and program-specific admission requirements specified above in addition to meeting the following criteria.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in English
    Applicants should refer to APU’s English Proficiency Requirements to learn more.

International applicants must also submit:

  • An International Graduate Application
    ( Apply Online | Download PDF)
    Note: This application should be used instead of the domestic graduate application.
  • A $65 (U.S.) nonrefundable application fee
  • Official transcripts
    Request that official transcripts be sent to APU’s International Center for all degrees, certificates, and credentials earned prior to application to APU. Read more about APU’s international applicant transcript policy.
  • Proof of English Proficiency
    Request that official TOEFL/IELTS test scores be sent directly to APU. Any other forms of proof indicated in the university’s English Proficiency Requirements must be submitted directly to the International Center. Applicants applying for conditional admission through ALCI must submit an American Language and Culture Institute (ALCI) Application (PDF). For more information, read our English Proficiency Requirementsfor Graduate and Doctoral Programs.
  • An affidavit of financial support and a bank statement
    International applicants must provide an affidavit of support and a bank statement proving financial ability to pay for educational costs through personal, family, or sponsor resources.
  • A copy of a valid passport
  • A résumé showing work experience
    International applicants must submit a current résumé or curriculum vitae (CV) that demonstrates recent work experience.
  • Three recommendations
    Two from academic and/or professional sources, and one from a personal source (no family members). All recommendations must use the APU Graduate Recommendation Form (PDF).

Submit all materials to:

International Center
Azusa Pacific University
901 E. Alosta Ave.
PO Box 7000
Azusa, CA 91702-7000
Fax: +1-626-815-3801
Email IC

What to Expect

After the International Center receives all admission materials, a committee of department faculty review the applicant’s file. The applicant is then notified of the committee's decision.

Note: This information is current for the 2017-18 academic year; however, all stated academic information is subject to change. Please refer to the current Academic Catalog for more information.