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FAQs About The Application Process

The Application Process

Once you have completed your application, several processes begin. First, the Graduate Admissions office processes your online application, your application fee, your transcripts, your GRE scores, and your TOEFL, MELAB or IELTS scores if you are an international student. Statements of intent, letters of recommendation and writing samples are all uploaded into a document storage and retrieval system.

Second, you will receive an email from the Graduate Admissions Office about your next steps including setting up your Ohio State username and password and setting up your application for online letters of recommendation. We require that letters are uploaded through the online application system, so please be sure to follow the instructions in this email. If you don't receive it within the first five days of applying, please check your junk mail.

When everything is received, we will inform the appropriate faculty that your file is ready for review. Your file must be complete before the faculty will review it. Once the faculty receives your file, the admission process begins in earnest.

Getting Started

How do I apply to Ohio State and the Department of Educational Studies?

You can to apply graduate school using Ohio State's online application.

Application fees are $60 for domestic applicants and $70 for international applicants and are subject to change without notice.

Instructions for applying to Ohio State are available by clicking on the "Application Instructions" link on the right side of the page.

Follow the directions on both the Graduate Admission website and the Educational Studies website to insure you are turning in all necessary documents prior to the published deadlines. Deadlines are published on application checklists available for prospective students.

What is the deadline date for submitting my application?

All PhD applications are due on December 1 for admission to fall semester of the next year. The EdS (School Psychology deadline) is also December 1. The EdD-Educational Administration deadline is December 1. The MLT deadline is March 1. Other deadline dates for master's programs vary by program area. Please see the appropriate application checklist for the specific program to which you wish to apply to, under the "Admissions" tab, for specific application deadline dates.

Generally you should remember the following guidelines:

  • If you would like to be considered for a fellowship, all application materials, including all required documents, should be in no later than December 1. Priority is given to PhD applicants.
  • If you are interested in Graduate Associate funding, the deadline for consideration is mid-January. Be sure to fill out the GA Application.
  • The College of Education and Human Ecology Scholarship deadline is mid-January. To be considered for those scholarships, your application, including all required documents, must be complete by that time. Information about applying for these scholarships and applications are available on the Scholarship and Student Enrichment website. Information is updated during fall semester each year.
  • Please note that most our programs and specializations admit for autumn semester only. Only the MA Programs specializing in Biomedical Education, Workforce Development and Education admit in spring and summer semesters.
Can I apply to more than one program in the Department of Educational Studies or at Ohio State?

You may apply to one or more specializations within the Department of Educational Studies. Be sure to note all your choices on the application in the space marked specialization. You should write a separate statement of intent for each specialization. 

You may also consider applying to more than one College or program across the University. You should also note that on your application in the space marked "major" and/or "specialization." If you decide to apply to more than one College, School or Department across the University, you may be expected to pay a $60 application fee for each application. Please note the directions on the Graduate Admissions website.

If you decide to make a change after you have submitted your application, you should call the Graduate Admissions office at 614-292-9444 or contact the office by email at

As an international student, what special information do I need in order to apply? Do I need to submit my TOEFL scores?

All international students must submit TOEFL scores unless they meet one of the following exemptions:

  • Applicants who have been educated primarily in one of the following countries are exempt from the TOEFL requirement: Australia, Belize, the British Caribbean and British West Indies, Canada (except Quebec), England, Guyana, Ireland, Liberia, New Zealand, Scotland, the United States and Wales.
  • For most graduate programs, applicants are exempt from English proficiency requirements if they have received a bachelor's or higher degree from a university in one of the above countries.

Information about the TOEFL is available online or you can email them at

What do I need to do if I am already admitted to Ohio State and the Graduate School, but want to transfer to Educational Studies from another program?

If you have already been admitted to the Graduate School and are looking to change to a program within Educational Studies, follow the steps on our Intra-University Transfer Checklist.

If you have any questions about the intra-university transfer process, please email, call 614-688-4007, or visit our Prospective Student webpage for an application checklist.

Are there any undergraduate course prerequisites that I should take?

There are no specific undergraduate courses required for admission to the Department of Educational Studies however some PhD candidates who completed some master's course work in an area other than education may find it useful to take a couple of master's level courses. This will be determined by the adviser and the student. If the program to which you are applying leads to a professional license, you may be required to take pre-requisite coursework. An exception to this is the Counselor Education program. All students admitted to the PhD program must have a master's degree in Counselor Education to be considered for admission.

What's Required?

Do I have to have an undergraduate degree in education in order to be admitted to Educational Studies programs?

While you are required to have a baccalaureate degree, there is no required undergraduate major for most of our programs. Given the interdisciplinary composition of our faculty, a diverse scholastic background is encouraged. Some programs are designed for students with preschool through grade 12 teaching experience and that may be a factor in your admission to a program. These include Curriculum and Instruction, Principal and Superintendent Licensure, Special Education, and the PhD specializing in Teacher Education.

Do I need to take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE)? Are minimum GRE scores required?

OSU’s institution code is 1592. For scores to be valid, they must be from a GRE administration within the past five years AND be sent directly from ETS to Graduate and Professional Admissions. GRE Scores are required for Educational Administration-PhD, Educational Psychology, Learning Technologies-PhD, Quantitative Research Measurement, and Evaluation. Other specializations do NOT require GRE scores.

What is the minimum grade point average for admission?

A 3.0 undergraduate GPA is recommended by The Ohio State University for graduate studies. Faculty may expect higher grade point averages from applicants in our more competitive programs. However, faculty do not publish minimum expected grade point averages because they do review entire application files before making a decision to admit or deny. A grade point average of less than the stated minimum also requires the review and approval of the Graduate School. If an offer of admission is approved by the Graduate School, it would include certain academic conditions that must be met in order to maintain enrollment. Those conditions will be specified at the time you are notified of your admission to the Graduate School and the Department of Educational Studies.

What types of information should I include in my statement of purpose?

When writing your statement of intent, it is important to include the following information:

  • Semester of intended enrollment
  • Intended program section
  • Area of concentration

You should also include any biographical information that is important and pertinent to your decision to pursue this area of study. An important aspect of your statement of intent is to include your educational and professional goals, particularly as they relate to the pursuit of this degree. Be sure that your statement of intent is focused on the area of concentration or specialization you would like to pursue. If your statement is vague or so general that it could apply to any area of specialization, the faculties are likely to deny admission.

It is important for doctoral students to clearly articulate their research interests and show how there is a fit between their interests and the expertise of our faculty. To determine if your research interests and the expertise of the faculty are aligned, please spend some time reviewing our faculty directory and their faculty webpages. Consider searching professional journals to read abstracts of faculty publications. When an abstract is interesting, spend time reviewing the full article. All of these efforts will pay off as you write your statement of intent.

All applicants are cautioned to check the Prospective Students page for the appropriate degree to see if more specific instructions are included for your intended program.

Who should write my reference letters? Do I really need a previous professor to write one of my letters?

At least one letter should be written by a professor who previously taught a course you completed.

Other letters of recommendation can be from supervisors or co-workers when appropriate. Examples of when such references are appropriate include those applicants who are applying for admission to the Educational Administration program and want to work on Principal Licensure. Letters of reference from your building principal or other school district supervisors or coworkers attesting to your leadership potential and other qualifications to become a principal would be helpful. Applicants to the Higher Education and Student Affairs program who have worked on a college campus may also find this type of reference letter helpful.

It is very important for a previous professor to write a letter of recommendation because the faculty who review your file are looking for some indication that you are suited for graduate study and research. This is particularly important for PhD students. The letters should thoroughly and directly address your academic ability.

Will I need to be interviewed?

The decision to interview rests with each academic section of the Department of Educational Studies. An interview is required of some master's and doctoral applicants. Program websites will clarify if interviews are required.

The purpose of the interview is twofold. First, it is an opportunity for you and faculty members to get acquainted. Secondly, it is the final step in determining if Ohio State's program is the one that will best suit your needs. The process of asking and answering questions during the formal interview should help clarify your decision to pursue your research interests at Ohio State.

If you are admitted to the Master's program in Higher Education and Student Affairs, you will be required to interview for assistantship placement. Please review Student Personnel Assistantship program's website for further information.

Next Steps

How can I check the status of my application?

You may check the status of your application online. Log into your account at to find your current application status. Click on "Help" the "FAQs" then click on the file tab "After you Apply." Choose the list of questions, "Application Status."

What should I do if I applied for admission in one semester but have to defer my admission to a later date?

If you find that it is necessary to defer your admission to a later semester, you should first contact your assigned adviser to let him or her know. Be sure to request the deferral in writing before the start of the semester to which you were admitted. Let them know when you were admitted and to which semester you would like your admission deferred. A brief explanation of why the deferral is necessary should be included. Your adviser will review your request and let you know whether you can defer your admission or not. You will receive a response from your adviser, either by mail or email as to the final decision to defer your admission.

If you have been awarded a fellowship or a Graduate Associateship, there is no guarantee that it will be carried over to a later semester.

How are admissions decisions made?

Once a prospective student's application file is complete [with the application, application fee, transcripts from all colleges and universities attended, GRE and TOEFL scores (when necessary), three letters of recommendation, a statement of intent and writing sample (when required) and resume or vita], it is then forwarded to the faculty in the section to which you are requesting admission. Faculty will first review the minimum GPA and review GRE scores (when they are part of the file).

While reviewing your file, the faculty will examine all aspects of your academic record. They examine your transcript and look at other information including the rigor of your undergraduate and previous graduate institutions, the type of degrees you have completed, and the difficulty of the coursework you have taken. They will read your statement of intent for focus and clarity of educational goals. They will also look at the quality of your writing. Faculty will read each of your letters of recommendation for evidence of your ability to do graduate level academic work and research. Letters of recommendation that are thorough and address all aspects of your academic ability as related to both the level and focus of your future area of study are extremely helpful. Non-specific letters may be detrimental to your efforts.

What can I do to enhance my chances of being accepted?

A strong GPA is important, as are GRE scores that are competitive with the rest of the application pool. Please see application checklists for our programs. A well-focused statement of intent and strong letters of recommendation that are comprehensive and address all aspects of your academic ability will all enhance your chances of being accepted.

If you are applying to a PhD program, you will find it helpful to examine faculty websites. You will want to take an in-depth look at their research to see how closely their interests and expertise relate to your research interests. You will also want to look at a list of the faculty members and perhaps read several of their articles to expand your knowledge of their previous and present work. Be sure to address, in your statement of intent, how your research interests and the expertise of the faculty intersect. PhD candidates should consider contacting faculty in the appropriate section to express an interest in their research.

How long does it take to make an admission decision?

Several factors can influence the amount of time it takes to make an admissions decision. Those factors include but are not limited to the type of degree you are seeking, the section to which you are applying and the time of year you are applying.

The average time to decision is much less if you are applying for a master's degree. That decision can be made in a few days or a few weeks depending on timing. Most section faculty meet several times during the semester and will discuss admission decisions at that time.

Will my professional experience be a significant factor when my application is being considered?

Yes, your experience is a significant factor contributing to the total picture you present as part of your application. It is helpful to remember that our faculty attempt to build as complete a picture as possible to determine if your research interests and abilities fit well with the aims of the program that you have chosen.

Am I more likely to be admitted if I take some Graduate Non-degree coursework prior to applying?

Often taking graduate courses as a graduate non-degree student allows you to become acquainted with the faculty member who is teaching the class. This is an opportunity not only for you to build a relationship with one of the faculty members but also to demonstrate your ability to do graduate level work. While we cannot guarantee acceptance into the department or the University, successful completion of non-degree coursework with a GPA of 3.3 or higher may enhance your chance of admission. Not all programs allow graduate non-degree enrollment. Please see specific program information to determine if this is an option.

Whom should I contact if I have questions about my application?

You should contact the Office of Student Services and Graduate Studies, (Phone: 614-688-4007; email: