Doctor of Philosophy

Admissions Requirements

Application Materials

To be considered for admission, all applicants must submit the following application materials unless a particular requirement can be waived or additional/alternative documentation can be accepted as stated in Admissions Requirements below.

  1. The University’s Graduate Admissions Application.
  2. Official Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores submitted in a sealed envelope or recorded on an official transcript. The College of Education requires all students who apply to the Curriculum and Instruction doctoral programs to submit GRE scores as part of their application. Each program may require specific minimum scores for admission, and the selection committee will review the scores as part of the student selection process. For test preparation and related information, see Evaluation and Testing at USF
  3. A current professional vita or resume.
  4. A cover letter including a statement of professional and personal goals, reasons that earning the doctorate is important to those goals, and research interests.
  5. Three Program Recommendation Forms completed by former professors or supervisors rating the applicant’s likelihood of success in the doctoral program. Download Program Recommendation Form.
  6. Official transcripts from previous educational institutions.
  7. Other application materials as required for international students who must apply through the Office of International Admissions. For a complete list of related requirements visit the International Admissions website.

Applicants are responsible for evaluating their individual alignment with criteria for admission to the program (see Admissions Requirements below) and ensuring that all pertinent materials are submitted for application to the program.

Admission Requirements

Program faculty employ a comprehensive approach to admissions consideration, taking into account all of the information provided by applicants to balance test scores, previous grade point averages, recommendation forms, professional experiences and successes, etc. However, program faculty give preference to candidates presenting the following:

  1. A master’s degree from a regionally accredited university with 3.5 or better Graduate Point Average (GPA) on a 4.0 scale.
  2. GRE scores on verbal and quantitative reasoning are required. If a score in one area is below the 33rd percentile, the other should be considerably higher.
    1. Students not meeting this criterion may submit additional or alternative documentation of their potential for success in doctoral level studies. In such cases, program faculty will evaluate GRE scores in light of all available evidence to make a recommendation for admission.
    2. GRE scores may be waived in exceptional cases for applicants who have graduated from master’s degree programs in the Leadership, Counseling, Adult, Career, and Higher Education Department at USF with a GPA of 3.9 or higher (on a scale of 4.0) and having received excellent ratings from program faculty (i.e., recommendation forms).
  3. Evidence of significant successful professional experiences supporting the fit between professional background, goals, and the applicant’s potential for the doctoral program of study.
  4. Demonstrated commitment to personal and professional growth and development and to the completion of the rigorous course and research demands of the PhD program.
  5. Excellent academic, analytical and communication skills.
  6. In addition, applicants whose native language is not English or who have not earned a degree in the U.S. must submit a TOEFL score with a minimum of 550 (or 213 computer-based). See the Language Requirement page for further clarification and possible exemptions. An evaluation of academic transcripts may be required at the discretion of the department. More information for international applicants can be found on the International Admissions website.

Admission Process 

The program faculty considers each applicant’s qualifications and likelihood of success, first by reviewing the submitted materials and then through a personal on-campus interview with candidates meeting Admissions Criteria. In some cases, telephone interviews could be arranged if a visit to campus is not feasible.

Applications are considered on a rolling basis throughout the year. Applicants should be aware that meeting admissions requirements does not guarantee admission to the program. To ensure appropriate faculty support, the program will accept only a limited number of students every year.


Fall: February 15
Summer: February 15
Spring: October 15

Submission Procedure

Applicants are responsible for submitting applications, GRE scores and official transcripts directly to the Office of Graduate Admissions before the program or university application deadlines (see Graduate Admissions website).

The following application materials cover letter, vita or resume, and letter of recommendation should be sent directly to the Program Coordinator:

Dr. Victor Hernandez, Associate Professor
Office: EDU 151B
Phone: (813) 974-1277
Fax: (813) 974-3366