Question: Are there any online EdD programs that do not require the GRE or MAT for admission?

Answer: Yes – Many online Doctor of Education (EdD) programs do not require students to submit GRE, MAT, or other standardized test scores (e.g., GMAT) as part of the application process. Other programs that ask for the GRE/MAT may allow students to waive the requirement if they meet certain conditions, such as a minimum cumulative GPA in their master’s program or specific work experience. There are online EdD programs, however, that do require test scores from all applicants. As such, prospective students should be sure to carefully review admission requirements, or speak directly with an admissions counselor, before applying.

EdD programs are typically quite rigorous, requiring a considerable commitment from students in both time and effort. Applicants to these programs must be able to show they are ready for doctoral-level study, including intensive courses and a lengthy dissertation process. Due to this, programs generally have a number of requirements students must meet in order to be considered for admission. These typically include a master’s degree, relevant work experience, a writing sample, and multiple letters of recommendation.

Keep in mind, admission requirements vary by program. Additionally, the majority of online EdD programs have a selective admissions policy, meaning that even if students meet or exceed all the criteria for admission, they still might not be offered a spot in the program. Prospective applicants should always check with admissions staff from their programs of interest for the most up-to-date and comprehensive information regarding admission requirements and the application process.

Admission Requirements for Online EdD Programs

As mentioned above, the specific admission criteria for an online EdD program will vary from school to school. Most, however, require students to fill out and submit a detailed application form, along with a small fee. In addition to that, the following requirements are fairly standard:

  • Master’s Degree: Nearly all online EdD programs require that applicants hold a master’s degree from a nationally or regionally accredited college or university. Most require a master’s in education or a related field, but there are EdD programs that accept any master’s degree for admission. While rare, there are also some programs that admit students who only hold a bachelor’s degree. In these programs, applicants without a master’s degree typically must complete 20-25 additional credits of master’s-level coursework before beginning doctoral courses. (Note: While not common, there are also some online EdD programs that require an EdS for admission.)
  • Official Postsecondary Transcripts: Students typically must submit official transcripts of all their past undergraduate and graduate coursework as part of their application package. Most EdD programs require applicants to have maintained an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher either throughout their studies or during a specific portion of their postsecondary education (e.g., the most recent two years).
  • Resume: Online EdD programs generally ask for a current resume or curriculum vitae (C.V.) outlining applicants’ background in education or related fields. Depending on the program, students may need to possess a specific type or amount of work experience in order to be considered for admission (e.g., three or more years in an educational leadership role).
  • Personal Statement: In their personal statement essay, students are given the chance to explain why they would be a good fit for the program, detailing their motivations and relevant past academic and professional experience. Some programs may have specific questions or prompts for applicants to answer, such as describing a problem related to their practice that they are interested in addressing through research or their dissertation.
  • Letters of Recommendation: Finally, most online EdD programs ask for three or more letters of recommendation that speak to the applicant’s qualifications and competency to conduct doctoral-level work. While this requirement varies by program, most typically require a letter from either (or both) a professor from the applicant’s master’s program who can attest to their academic abilities, and/or a school/organization administrator who they have worked with closely in a professional setting.

Further admission requirements for an online EdD program may include additional writing samples, teaching certification, a background check, or an interview, typically conducted via Skype, telephone, or another video conferencing application. Applicants whose primary language is not English may also need to submit TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) scores as proof of English proficiency.

As mentioned before, programs also often have specific GPA requirements students must meet to be considered for admission. In most cases, this is a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 in both their bachelor’s and master’s programs.

Keep in mind, there are online EdD programs that require applicants to submit GRE or other standardized test scores as a way to provide further evidence of their verbal and quantitative skills. Those that ask for these scores typically stipulate that the exam must have been taken within a certain timeframe, such as the last five years, in order to be considered. Programs may also have a certain minimum score students must achieve. There are also EdD programs that do not explicitly require standardized test scores, but recommend or strongly encourage students to submit them along with their other application materials to support their overall case for enrollment.

Some EdD programs that require standardized test scores may allow students to forgo this requirement by applying for a GRE or MAT waiver. In these cases, applicants typically must meet certain criteria in order to be eligible for the waiver, such as a minimum graduate GPA over 3.5 or 3.75. For example, the University of West Florida’s online EdD program in Curriculum and Instruction allows students to waive the test requirement if they have a master’s degree with a GPA of 3.75 or higher.

Examples of Online Doctor of Education GRE/MAT Requirements

In order to give students a better understanding of typical standardized testing requirements, below are some examples of online EdD programs in various specializations, along with their criteria when it comes to GRE/MAT scores:

  • Arizona State University: Online Doctor of Education in Leadership and Innovation –GRE not required
  • Drexel University: Online Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Management – GRE not required
  • Fordham University: Online Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership, Administration, and Policy (K-12) – GRE required
  • Gwynedd Marcy University: Online Doctorate in Education Leadership – GRE required (students may be able to waive the GRE with a minimum graduate GPA of 3.5 or higher)
  • Johns Hopkins University: Online Doctor of Education – GRE recommended, not required
  • Northeastern University: Online Doctor of Education – GRE not required
  • Southern Wesleyan University: Online Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Assessment – MAT required (students may submit GRE scores in lieu of scores from the MAT)
  • Texas A&M University: Online Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction (P-12) – GRE required
  • University of Florida: Online Doctorate of Education in Special Education – GRE required
  • Wilmington University: Online Doctor of Education in Higher Education Leadership – GRE not required