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Welcome Prospective Students!

The application deadline for the Fall 2024 cohort is December 1, 2023.

Please submit your application via the MSU Graduate Education Application Portal.


Register for the Upcoming Prospective Student Event

HALE Ph.D. Open HouseNovember 9 (Thursday), 2023, 5:00-6:30 PM (ET)Registration required by November 5 (Sunday), 11:59 PM (ET) Click here to register!HALE faculty invite all interested students to attend this year’s HALE Ph.D. open house. At this event, HALE faculty members will discuss the application process, admission criteria, and the program’s curriculum and requirements. Faculty will also cover topics such as funding opportunities. Join us virtually on Zoom for the HALE Ph.D. Open House.

Application Process

Please review each section of this webpage in its entirety to assist you with your application. If you have questions, please contact the HALE Program Assistant and/or the HALE Ph.D. Ambassador.

To apply to the HALE Ph.D. program, complete an application through the Office of Admissions Graduate Application portal and submit the application fee. Information about application fee waivers is available on the Graduate School website. A paid application fee or waiver is required for application review. Then, upload the required application materials (listed below) to the Graduate Application portal.

Please note: Once the application fee is received, you will be prompted to upload your additional materials. 

Application Materials

The HALE Ph.D. admissions committee considers the following criteria:

Three (3) Letters of Reference:

All applicants must include three letters of reference. At least one letter should be an academic reference from someone who can speak directly to the applicant’s academic ability and accomplishments, by documenting evidence on how the student will excel in graduate study. Academic references should be from a referee with a terminal degree. If possible, this letter should come from a faculty member from a graduate or undergraduate program in which the applicant was enrolled. The remaining letters may be academic or professional references from individuals who can speak to the characteristics, skills, and abilities the applicant has that will support their success in the Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education program. 

Personal Statement:

A personal statement of approximately 1000 words is required. The personal statement should address the following prompts:

  • What experiences led to your interest in pursuing the HALE Ph.D. program?
  • How will the HALE Ph.D. program at Michigan State University help you meet your professional and personal goals?
  • What qualities, characteristics, and skills do you possess that will make you a strong candidate for the HALE Ph.D. program? Be sure to include relevant leadership experiences and any adversity or challenges you have overcome.


Send official college-level transcripts from ALL higher education institutions attended prior to the HALE doctoral program at Michigan State University. If your degree has not yet been conferred from your current institution, have your institution send your current transcript to date. 

Official transcripts must be sent directly from each degree-granting institution. Many institutions offer electronic submission of official transcripts through an online service such as the National Student Clearinghouse. Contact the institutions you attended to confirm their required process. It is the responsibility of the student to ensure the submission and receipt of official transcripts to the program by the application deadline. 

Submitting official transcripts via electronic submission is preferred (e.g., via the National Student Clearinghouse). If this is not possible, official transcripts may be mailed from institutions to: 

Higher, Adult, and Lifelong Education
c/o HALE Admissions Assistant
Department of Educational Administration 
Michigan State University
Erickson Hall 
620 Farm Lane, Rm 423 
East Lansing, MI 48824-1034

We cannot accept unofficial transcripts. Hard copy transcripts are only considered official if they come directly from the institution or are received in the original, sealed envelope from the degree-granting institution with the official seal of the institution. Electronic PDF copies of transcripts uploaded to the application portal by the applicants or emailed to HALE administration office by the applicants are unofficial.

Writing Sample:

All applicants must submit a writing sample, which demonstrates their independent or non-collaborative, writing abilities. Appropriate writing samples may include former class papers and academic or professional publications. Single authored writing samples are strongly preferred. Papers taken for courses written several years ago may be updated for submission as a writing sample. If an applicant does not have a single-authored, English-language writing sample, they may submit a collaborative piece along with a cover letter explaining their role in and contribution to the writing process.

Application Check List

Application Check List
CURRENT RÉSUMÉ OR CURRICULUM VITAEUpload PDF directly to the Graduate Application Portal.
PERSONAL STATEMENTUpload PDF directly to the Graduate Application Portal.
WRITING SAMPLEUpload PDF directly to the Graduate Application Portal.
LETTERS OF REFERENCE (3)Three letters of reference are required for the application. References will be provided a link for uploading their letters.
TRANSCRIPTSE-mail or mail official transcripts from each institution attended to the HALE Program Assistant.

International Applicants

International students seeking admission to the HALE program are required to submit a Graduate Application for Admission and indicate their status as an international student. International students must also be able to provide both proof of financial support and proper proficiency in English.

For more information, visit the Information for International Applicants page of the Michigan State University Graduate School. Additional resources, support, and general information can also be found on the Office for International Students and Scholars website.

Transfer Students

Current graduate students who wish to transfer into the HALE program from another Michigan State University graduate program outside the Department of Educational Administration (EAD) must complete a new Graduate Application for Admission including all supplemental materials.