Admission Requirements for Education Doctoral Programs at Top 20 American Universities

By Walker, Gabriela | College Student Journal, June 2008 | Go to article overview

Admission Requirements for Education Doctoral Programs at Top 20 American Universities


Walker, Gabriela, College Student Journal


A quantitative analysis of the admissions requirements guidelines of the education doctoral programs at the top 20 American universities was conducted. An Internet search was used to obtain information on top-ranked world and U.S. universities. Admission requirements typically include, at minimum, an application fee (mean 55.5 USD), previous coursework GPA (mean 3.40), previous field experience, GRE scores (mean 542.8 for Verbal and 617.7 for Quantitative), TOEFL scores (mean 570.7 for the Paper Based Test), professional writing sample(s), letters of recommendation, and enrollment. Results indicate that the admission requirements and perhaps the quality of the instruction of the top 20 graduate education programs in the U.S. is comparable to that of the top 20 universities around the world and to that of the top 20 universities in the U.S.

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Education is currently a field of growing employment needs in order to develop and provide better services and opportunities for individuals who need it in the areas of administration, counseling, curriculum, educational psychology, education policy, elementary education, secondary education, higher education, special education, vocational education, and related areas. The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act has been in effect since President George W. Bush signed it on January 8, 2002. NCLB emphasizes stronger teacher accountability for results, flexibility in the use of federal education funds, usage of educational methods shown to be effective by means of research guidelines, and increased informed choices for parents (U.S. Department of Education, 2004). Some jobs that involve research or administration require persons with doctorate level training to maximize continued progress in this area.

Many of the top education graduate programs are offered at American universities. In one of the few rankings available on the World Wide Web of best universities in the world, Shanghai Jiao Tong University's Web site (2006) ranks 17 U.S. universities among the best 20 in the world (also see India Education.Net, 2006; MSNBC, 2006; National University of Singapore, 2006). Eleven of the best universities from the Jiao Tong University's Web site are also listed in a U.S. News & World Report ranking (2006b) of the best 20 universities in the U.S.A. Of the American universities with the best graduate programs in education according to the US News & World Report assessment (2006c), six are among the best 20 universities in the world, and five are among the best 20 universities in the U.S.A.

Educational attainment may be an important income predictor. One would conclude that opportunities to earn a higher salary should increase with the number or the level of degrees that one attains. A table compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau and entitled "Earnings by Occupation and Education, United States, Both Sexes" (2005), summarizes data from the 2000 census and suggests that people with an advanced degree (defined as higher than a bachelor's degree) earned, on average, 2.02 times more than high school graduates. Furthermore, the table shows that people with high school diplomas were earning incomes which had increased 1.5-fold by the end of their employment career, whereas people with advanced degrees were earning incomes that had increased 2.2-fold by the end of their careers. According to the 2000 census, 15.54% of the American workforce had earned a bachelor's degree, and 8.86% had earned a graduate degree (Free Demographics.Com, 2005). Two of the highest graduate degrees are Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.-Philosophiae Doctor) and Doctor of Education (Ed. D. or D.Ed.--Doctor Educationis). While a Ph.D. program typically prepares students for research positions, an Ed. D. degree may prepare individuals for research, teaching, or administration positions in colleges and universities. Both degrees may lead to leadership positions in various educational agencies.

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Admission Requirements for Education Doctoral Programs at Top 20 American Universities
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