Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum and Instruction

Admission to the Program

Applications for admission will be accepted once a year and must be submitted to the Graduate Admissions Office by November 15th for enrollment the following fall semester.  (Students should not take courses prior to full admission to the degree program unless the program and strand coordinators agree, and then only under exceptional circumstances.)

Admission to the program is highly competitive and seating is limited.  Application materials will be carefully reviewed by Curriculum and Instruction faculty, and particularly those who teach within the requested strand of study.   The following criteria will be fundamental to the admission decision.  (Note:  Starred* items are required of applicants to any of UNC Charlotte’s doctoral programs.)

  • Master’s degree appropriate to the program of study
  • GPA of 3.5 (on a scale of 4.0) in a graduate degree program and an acceptable score on the Graduate Record Examination or Millers Analogies Test*  (within the last five years)
  • High level of professionalism and potential for leadership (shown through letters of reference and faculty interview)
  • Strong writing skills (demonstrated in purpose statement; professional writing sample such as published article, manuscript submitted for publication, research paper submitted in prior coursework with abstract of thesis; on site writing sample)*
  • Clear career objectives related to obtaining Ph.D. (evidenced in purpose statement, faculty interview, writing samples, references from persons who know applicant’s current work or academic achievement in previous degree)
  • International students must submit official test scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), with at least 550 on the written test or 220 on the computer-based test, or a score of at least 85% on the Michigan English Language Assessment (MELAB).  All tests must have been taken within the past two years.*

NOTE:  Each strand may cite additional admission criteria.  This is noted in the handbook section Planning Sheets and Information Specific to Strands.)

Specific Documents Necessary for Admission

  • Official transcripts of all academic work attempted (two copies)*
  • Official GRE or MAT scores*
  • At least three reference forms and letters *
  • Purpose statement*
  • Current resume or vita
  • Professional writing sample
  • TOEFL scores if the applicant is an international student 
  • Addendum to the graduate application

Additional program information is available at: https://education.uncc.edu/mdsk/academic-programs/phd-ci

Overview of Doctoral Program Admissions Process

Admission to the program is by recommendation of the Curriculum & Instruction faculty in the requested strand and the final approval of the Graduate School.  Each applicant is considered individually, and the applicant is responsible for ensuring that all application materials are on file by the November 15 deadline.  Folders will be reviewed once all materials have been received, and a limited number of applicants will be invited to the campus for interviews.  Following this campus meeting, the interviewing faculty will forward admissions decisions to the Graduate School for final review and processing.

Interview Process

Applicants selected as potential students will be invited to campus for an interview.  This face-to-face meeting will allow applicants the opportunity to become more familiar with the program and faculty in order to determine whether the program will help them achieve their individual goals.  It will also give the faculty an opportunity to observe the interpersonal skills of each applicant and to evaluate his/her suitability for the UNC Charlotte doctoral program in Curriculum and Instruction, Urban Education.  The doctoral coordinator will schedule these interviews, which will include members of the Curriculum & Instruction faculty within the candidate’s chosen strand of study (designated here as the Selection Committee).

Applicants will be asked a series of questions by the Selection Committee, which will provide information for the admissions decision.  The interview questions will focus primarily on information about the applicant’s educational background, commitment to urban education, and potential to contribute positively as a student in the program.  A rubric will be used to assess the interview. 

Following the interview, applicants may be asked to read a short passage and prepare a written response to a prompt that will be reviewed and rated by the Selection Committee. 

When the process has been completed, the Selection Committee will meet and consider all information from the admissions process before making final recommendations to the Graduate School regarding admission to the program.  At any point during the application review process, applicants may be asked to supply additional information to guide the committee’s decision.

NOTE:  Students with documented disabilities should refer to that section of this handbook (The Program, page 5).

Notification of Admission Decision

The Graduate School will notify applicants in writing of the Committee’s decision.  This notification usually occurs within four weeks of the candidate’s interview.


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