Higher Education Leadership Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Education and Human Resource Studies – Higher Education Leadership Specialization

How to Apply

Application Deadlines

Students may be admitted for the summer semester. Fall and spring admission is not available.

Summer semester December 1

Start your application online and upload materials directly into the online system. You can save your progress and return any time.

Apply Now

1Review Admission Requirements

The higher education leadership (Ph.D.) degree requires applicants to have the following:

  • Master's degree from a regionally accredited postsecondary institution or a CSU-recognized international institution is required
  • A minimum of two years of professional work experience related to higher education, prior to applying to the program is required for admission
  • A minimum 3.00 GPA from master's level coursework is required
  • GRE scores are not required

Meeting the minimum requirements does not ensure admission. Admission will be primarily guided by the evaluation of each applicant's fit with the program mission and within the context of developing each incoming cohort's teaching and learning community, based on application materials (i.e., personal statement, professional experiences, recommendation letters, academic transcripts, and interviews with finalists.)

2 Prepare Application Materials

Prepare the materials below and upload when you apply online.

  • Statement of purpose

    Compose a 2-3 page Statement of Purpose regarding your personal and professional interests and goals in higher education. How will this Ph.D. program advance your professional and personal goals? How have your experiences influenced your views of equity and justice in higher education, which are two central values to the CSU College of Health and Human Sciences? Your essay may address the following:

    • What factors or experiences have led you to seek a Ph.D. in Higher Education Leadership from Colorado State University?
    • Describe your background and significant personal and professional experiences related to higher education leadership.
    • How do you see this program furthering your professional aspirations?
    • Applicants should demonstrate research interests that are compatible with the CSU School of Education faculty. Explain your research interests and how your interests may be compatible with our current School of Education faculty and its connection to equity and justice within higher education.
    • The values statement within the College of Health and Human Science states, "We are committed to principles of equity and inclusive excellence in all that we do." In what ways do you exemplify this statement in your past and/or current professional and/or personal work?
  • Resume or vita
    • Record of collegiate work, including names of institutions, periods of attendance, and degrees earned.
    • Record of all professional employment including dates of service (including military).
    • List of publications, exhibitions, awards, or other recognitions.
    • List of service activities, including professional, community, and charitable activities.
  • Three letters of recommendation
    Three professional recommendations are required. Recommenders should be able to speak to your current leadership ability and your ability to complete doctoral work, research and writing, and potential as a research scholar and/or scholar-practitioner. You will provide information about your recommenders in the online application. CSU will contact them with instructions and a link to a secure form they will submit on your behalf.

3 Complete Online Application

Complete the online graduate application and pay the nonrefundable application processing fee (payable online). As soon as you have completed the required information, please submit your application. Your application will not be reviewed until it is complete and all required materials have been received.

  • Select "Education and Human Resource Studies / Higher Education Leadership (Ph.D). - Distance" when choosing the program of study.

4 Request Transcripts

Request one official transcript of all collegiate work completed from every institution attended, whether or not you received a degree from those institutions. Transcripts from Colorado State University are not required. Official transcripts can either be mailed in or sent as e-transcripts.

Send e-transcripts to: gradadmissions@colostate.edu

Send paper copies to:
Graduate Admissions
Colorado State University – Office of Admissions
1062 Campus Delivery
Fort Collins, CO 80523-1062

5 Interviews and Writing Sample


  • The admission committee may request an interview. Interviews are by invitation only and will be conducted using video conference technology.
  • Faculty will select applicants to advance to the interview state around mid-January.

Writing Sample

  • If invited to interview, applicants will be required to submit a research or scholarly paper. They will have two weeks to write and electronically submit the paper. This requirement is intended to provide the faculty with critical information on the applicants' ability to frame, research/engage in inquiry, analyze, and offer a persuasive and cohesive written account on a current higher education issue of each applicant's choosing.

Check Your Application Status

View your application status at any time to ensure your application checklist is complete or to check on updates.

Selection Timeline
Application review begins after the December 1 deadline. Admit decisions will be made by mid-May. Summer courses will begin in mid-July.

Information for International Students

Official transcript translation

Ensure official copies include a certified translation into English (only one set of transcripts is required).

Official test scores

Colorado State University requires that proficiency in English language be demonstrated either by the TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE academic tests prior to admission. Please submit one of the official scores from the list below. Tests must be taken within two years prior to admission and submitted directly from the Educational Testing Service (select institution code: 4075).

  • The minimum TOEFL score for admission without condition is 550 (paper-based), or 80 (internet-based).
  • The minimum IELTS score for admission without condition is 6.5.
  • The minimum PTE Academic score for admission without condition is 58.

All applicants who are citizens of countries in which English is not the official language, and who do not have an undergraduate degree from the U.S. must submit TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE scores.

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