Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) Application Process

The HESAL Ph.D. program admits a cohort of 8-12 new doctoral students for the Fall Semester annually at the main campus (Greeley, CO) and every other year at the Lowry campus (Denver, CO). Applications for the Fall 2014 Lowry cohort will be accepted starting January 1, 2014. Students may enroll in the preceding summer term if they wish, and may take elective courses and coursework to meet research requirements.

Admission to the HESAL Ph.D. program entails a two-part review process, and requires that materials be submitted both to the Graduate School and the HESAL program. These two parts must be pursued concurrently.

The HESAL program has established two deadlines for reviewing applications to our Ph.D. and M.A. programs. The first is January 31, 2014 and is recommended for individuals seeking graduate assistantships. The second is April 30, 2014.

Note: It takes up to 20 working days for the Graduate School to set up a student record, evaluate eligibility for admission, and prepare a screening packet for our HESAL Selection Committee.

*Applicants interested in graduate assistantships should check out the new HESAL Graduate Assistantship Initiative!

General Admission Requirements

Successful candidates should meet the following criteria:

  1. Hold a master's degree from an accredited college or university with a grade point average of 3.00 or better
  2. Minimum GRE Scores: 140 Quantitative, 146 Verbal Reasoning, Combined score of at least 297, and Analytic Writing 3.5. The Educational Testing Service (ETS) code for the University of Northern Colorado is R4074.
  3. SRM 600 or an equivalent introduction to graduate research course (this requirement may be waived, in which case the student must make up the deficiency; coursework to make up the deficiency will not count toward Ph.D. requirements)

A higher GRE score can compensate for a lower GPA and a higher GPA can compensate for a lower test score. For doctoral applicants who do not meet minimum requirements, the Graduate School will consider departmental recommendation for admission. A written explanation must accompany the recommendation explaining circumstances and factors considered justifying acceptance of the applicant.

Checklist of Materials to be Submitted for Admission

Part 1 - Submit to the UNC Graduate School:


Please refer to the graduate school website for complete requirements and details:

  • UNC Graduate School Application Form - U.S. citizens may file this form online or may submit a hard copy by mail. International students must submit the International Student Application for Graduate Admission.
  • Non-refundable processing fee
  • Official GRE Scores (no more than 5 years old)
  • Official transcripts of all previous undergraduate and graduate work
  • Submit materials to:

    Graduate School
    Campus Box 135
    University of Northern Colorado
    Greeley, CO 80639

    Part 2 - Submit to the HESAL program:

  • Background Information Sheet (PDF)
  • Vita/resume of professional and academic experiences and accomplishments
  • Three letters of recommendation - Recommendations should be from individuals who can address your potential for study at the Ph.D. level and/or your professional experience and potential and should be submitted using the HESAL Candidate Recommendation form. (PDF)
  • Writing sample - The writing sample should illustrate your ability and potential to engage in scholarly writing. This may be a paper that has been published, a paper written for a Master’s degree program, or an equivalent sample of your best scholarly work.
  • Statement of goals - Your statement should include your professional goals, and the relationship of those goals to the purposes and opportunities of the Ph.D. program in Higher Education and Student Affairs Leadership. You are encouraged to carefully review the various materials provided by the HESAL program (the UNC Catalog, the HESAL website, etc.) so that the statement provided is specific to this program.
  • Submit materials to:

    HESAL Admissions Committee
    418 McKee Hall, Campus Box 103
    University of Northern Colorado
    Greeley, CO 80639