PhD Admissions

A female student looks onward at graduation

Application Requirements for PhD Students

Congratulations on your interest in joining the PhD program at the Pitt School of Education. You will soon have the opportunity to work alongside the leading minds in education research. The University of Pittsburgh is a Research 1 institution, which means that we engage in the highest levels of research activity. Our faculty are working on groundbreaking research that has a transformative effect on education policy, practice, and science. 

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PhD Admissions Deadlines

The admissions deadline for PhD programs is December 1.  All PhD programs begin in the fall term. 

PhD Admissions Guidelines

To be considered for our PhD programs, your admissions materials must include the following basic elements. Please visit the web page of your program of interest to see if there are additional program requirements. View our PhD program by areas of discipline.

Online Application

  1. The GRE exam is not required.

  2. Applications are submitted through the Pitt Education Online Application Form.

  3. There is a non-refundable application fee of $50 (USD) to be paid by credit card.

  4. Your online application must include (a.) a Goal Statement (b.) your resume or curriculum vita; and (c.) contact information for three academic or professional contacts to later be invited to provide letters of recommendation.

  5. The instructions for your goal statement are as follows: "Please share your reasons for pursuing a degree at the University of Pittsburgh School of Education, focusing on your long-term goals and how your academic program will help you achieve those goals. Include any aspects of your experience, skills, and background which may aid the admission committee in evaluating your fit for the program for which you are applying. If applying for an EdD or PhD program, please also discuss your area(s) of research, academic and/or professional interests and identify 1-3 faculty you're interested in working with and why. Your goal statement should be a maximum of 750 words."

  6. There is an optional essay for students interested in our Equity and Justice Fellowship program, which provides scholarship support.

Need-Based Fee Waiver

Applicants may be eligible for a need-based application fee waiver due to:

  • Pell eligibility within the last three years
  • Recent participation in federal, state, or local programs that aid students from low-income families
  • Qualification for public assistance
  • Otherwise demonstrable financial hardship, including emergency expenses or unexpected medical bills

If you believe that you are eligible for a need-based fee waiver, please submit your request HERE. Our admissions staff will review your request, and reach back out to assist you in completing your application. The School of Education reserves the right to request any necessary documentation.

Transcript Submission

  1. In the Academic History section of the online application, please request that official transcripts from all U.S. institutions attended are sent to GRADCAS. If your previous institution is unable to send transcripts electronically, please contact an Admissions & Recruitment Manager at 412-648-2230 or

Additional Requirements 

  1. Submission of a professional writing sample in the form of a previously completed term paper, master's thesis, article, etc. that does not exceed 20 pages in length. The paper can be uploaded as part of your online application.