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Department of Teacher Education

Ph.D. in Curriculum, Instruction and Teacher Education

Application Process


Summary of Application Process

We invite applications from persons interested in a wide variety of issues, perspectives and research methodologies pertaining to (and across) education, curriculum, instruction, schooling, teaching, teacher education and educational policy.

Students wishing to be considered for university and college multiyear fellowships must have their applications completed no later than December 1. All other applications must be completed no later than February 1.

On this page you will find:

Required Application Materials

Review Process


Application and Admissions Checklist

Additional Required Application Materials for International Students

Required Application Materials


University Application and Fee

Those seeking admission to an MSU graduate program must complete a university application to graduate school. The graduate application is completed online, and the payment (payable in U.S. dollars drawn on a U.S. bank or with credit card) is $65 for domestic applicants and $75 for international applicants. The MSU Office of Admissions website also includes considerable information about related issues at the university.


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Current Curriculum Vitae

Applicants may choose their own format of a curriculum vitae. A copy of the CV should be uploaded to the application portal.

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Statement of Professional Goals

Applicants also submit a statement of their professional and personal goals. The statement should discuss reasons for pursuing a doctoral degree. In the statement, applicants should respond to the following questions:

- How have your experiences and intellectual growth shaped questions that an advanced graduate program might help you to explore?

- What sorts of academic and professional leadership roles would the program and degree help you to assume?

This statement is a very important part of the file for the review committee. Candidates should present a thoughtful and extended verbal portrait (2-3 pages and single-spaced) of their reasons for pursuing advanced graduate study, the match between their goals and the program’s characteristics, and the major issues of scholarly and professional interest that they wish to explore during their graduate career. Statements should also include a discussion of any leadership roles the applicant has held as well as any professional/personal obstacles the applicant has overcome.

Applicants should upload their Statement of Professional Goals in the Graduate Education Application Portal by selecting "Academic Statement" or "Personal Statement".

Note: Please do not insert your Personal Statement or Academic Statement on the University application. You should upload your Statement of Professional Goals as explained above under the Graduate Education Portal.

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Writing Sample

Applicants upload to the application portal one or more examples of their academic writing (e.g., something that they have published, a master’s thesis or a paper submitted to fulfill graduate course requirements). The sample must have been authored exclusively by the applicant. The purpose is to demonstrate the candidate’s ability to write academic English in order to give the review committee a clear idea of how well the candidate will be able to carry out the kind of analytical writing that is such a central component of advanced graduate study. The paper should be at least 10 pages long (double spaced). International students in particular need to see this sample as a way to demonstrate their command of English. Toward this end, a translated abstract of a master’s thesis is of no help.


Letters of Reference

Applicants should submit three (3) letters written by those who can attest to their academic ability or their professional qualifications. In the application portal, click the "Letters of Recommendation" tab to add your recommenders' information. The purpose of these letters is to elaborate the qualities the applicant brings to the program that are likely to make him or her successful in advanced graduate study. As a result, it is most helpful to solicit letters from individuals who know the candidate’s academic and professional skills. Letters from instructors who taught the candidate at the master’s or undergraduate level are particularly effective for this purpose. Recommenders will upload letters and forms to the portal after the applicant submits the recommender contact information into the portal.

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Applicants must have one copy of their official transcripts sealed in the university envelope sent from all degree granting institutions attended, except MSU. We will pull your MSU transcripts. Transcripts should be sent directly to the program secretary.

Please visit the Graduate School's webpage with important details on transcripts from China.

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Graduate Record Examination

Applicants must take the GRE General Test as part of their application. If you have taken the test in the past, test results are valid for five years and must be valid on the first day of the first course the applicant intends to enroll in. The GRE is administered at a number of centers across the United States (including at MSU), and scheduling is quite convenient. When registering to take the GRE test, please make sure you provide them with the following code: The MSU institution code is 1465. The department code is not needed. GRE scores should be sent electronically from the testing institution to MSU. It generally will take six (6) to eight (8) weeks from the date of your test for your test scores to be received, so please allow for that time in considering the timeline for your application. To expedite the review process, applicants may wish to upload a copy of their unofficial scores to the application portal.


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Conviction Disclosure

If on the Graduate Application you checked "yes" to the question:


Have you ever been convicted of a criminal offense (including in juvenile court) other than a minor traffic violation, or are there criminal charges pending against you at this time?


The College of Education, in an effort to protect your privacy, requires that you submit a College of Education "Conviction Disclosure Form" (available at directly to our Assistant Dean for Student Affairs, Susan Dalebout, versus uploading the form to the Graduate Application Portal. The form can be e-mailed to or mailed to:


             Dr. Susan Dalebout

             College of Education Student Affairs Office

             620 Farm Lane

             Room 134 Erickson Hall

             East Lansing, MI  48824


It is helpful if you include the name of the program for which you applied. The form must arrive and be reviewed before you can be recommended for admission to Michigan State University.

Review Process

A committee of faculty members from the Department of Teacher Education reviews each application. The review committee considers the following factors in assessing applicants:

  • Strength of academic and professional education record

  • Potential for intellectual, educational, professional or civic leadership

  • Fluency in oral and written expression

  • Compatibility of applicant’s stated goals with those of the program

  • Conformity with university and college admission requirements

The committee may recommend acceptance or denial of admission to the program, or it may recommend holding an application and requesting more information. If the recommendation is to admit the applicant, a temporary advisor will be assigned to the applicant. Applicants are notified of the department’s decision by e-mail as soon as possible after the review.

Students are admitted to the program in the fall. Anyone wishing to qualify for one of the competitive fellowship awards must have a complete application on file by December 1. Moreover, assistantships and departmental fellowship monies are awarded in early spring. It is easier to match students’ interests with available opportunities if the Department knows earlier rather than later who is in the new entering cohort.

The department reserves the right to make a provisional recommendation to the program when the review committee identifies a particular area of weakness in the student's application that could be resolved within a year of the provisional admission to the program. How the student can meet the required provisions will be spelled out in detail in the letter of provisional acceptance, including specification of date when failure to meet those requirements will mean that the student cannot continue in the program.

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