Doctoral Degrees

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Application Process

All courses in each of the doctoral programs are taken as a cohort. Cohorts begin each fall. First review of applications starts on January 15th of each year. After this date, applications are reviewed on a rolling basis and considered on a space available basis.

Application materials required for an admission review include:

Application for Admission

Complete and digitally sign the online Application for Admission.

Résumé or Curriculum Vitae

A current professional résumé or curriculum vitae is required. Please include information regarding current and/or past employment history as well as professional development, internships completed, and volunteer experiences.

Statement of Interest

A brief statement of interest is required with a suggested word limit of approximately 500-1000 words.  

This personal statement is a request for admission and should include:  

  • Reasons for pursuing the doctoral degree
  • Overview of professional background and goals
  • Discussion of professional philosophy. 

Letters of Recommendation

Three letters of recommendation are required. When selecting your references, choose individuals such as professors and employers who can attest to your potential for success in a graduate program.

You will enter the names and email contacts for your three references into the online application. Your references will be contacted electronically with directions for submitting our letter of recommendation form on your behalf.

EdD or PhD with Principal or Superintendent Licensure

For those applying to the EdD or PhD with Principal or Superintendent licensure, one letter of recommendation must specifically be from an immediate supervisor and a second letter of recommendation should be from an administrator who can speak to the candidate’s potential for effective district-level leadership. 

Transfer Credit Policy

In general, students may receive credit for academic courses taken through doctorate programs at accredited institutions. 

  • Graduate credits completed up to five years prior to admission will be considered for full credit transfer whereas graduate credits completed from five to ten years prior to admission will be considered for half credit transfer.
  • Courses accepted for transfer credit must parallel courses offered at Drake University or otherwise be appropriate for doctorate level credit.
  • Graduate courses considered for transfer must be beyond the required 36 masters-level credits required for admission into a Drake doctoral program.
  • The maximum number of credits that can be transferred into a Drake doctorate program can be no more than a third of the total credit for the full degree program. 

Submitting a Request for Transfer Credit Acceptance

  • Transfer credit requests must be at the time of application into the program. Syllabi should be provided at time of request. Typically, research courses are not accepted for transfer, but will be considered by the committee for exceptions.
  • Transcripts must come directly from the institution; we will not accept any transcripts from students.
  • Requests are formally evaluated by a subcommittee of the doctoral faculty. Applicants will be notified of accepted transfer credits in writing.
  • You must have earned a grade of "B" or better in the transfer course. 

Transfer Credit Considerations 

  • Financial aid implications
  • May not change graduation date
  • May be gaps in coursework
  • Cohort model may require duplicate courses

Contact the Coordinator of Graduate Admission to request a review of transfer credits.  

Official Transcripts

Transcripts must provide evidence of 36-graduate credit, completed master's degree from an accredited institution.  It is recommended that applicants have a graduate grade point average of 3.5 or better on a 4.0 scale.

We require official transcripts from:

  • Any institution where you earned (or will earn) a bachelor’s degree. 
  • Any institution where you earned a post-bachelor’s (graduate) degree.
  • Any institution where you earned credit you would like considered toward an endorsement or graduate degree.
  • Upon application review, you may be required to provide additional transcripts, including those with courses taken while in high school or at a community college.

Official transcripts are designated as those coming directly from the university or college of attendance to Drake University.
Official transcripts may be sent via secure electronic transmission from the issuing institution to or via postal mail to:
Coordinator of Graduate Admission
School of Education – Drake University
Collier-Scripps Hall – Rm 221
2702 Forest Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50311

Transcripts and other supporting materials are not returned to the applicant and become the property of Drake University.




PhD Essay Requirement

Individuals applying to the PhD program will need to submit a 1-2 page essay explaining their research interests and reasons for pursuing a research intensive degree.  This requirement is not necessary for the EdD or EdD with Principal or Superintendent Licensure programs.  


International Candidates

Academic records and examination results must be submitted to Drake University in official form, which will differ from country to country. Faxed transcripts and transcripts photocopied without a fresh seal from the secondary or post-secondary school are not considered official records, and an admission decision cannot be made until the official records are submitted. Any translated record should be a literal translation, not an interpretative one, and should be accompanied by the original-language record. Both records should be freshly certified by the school, not by notaries or translators. 

Original or certified copies of academic records or transcripts in official form from all institutions attended, including exam results, must be submitted by the educational institution directly to Drake University either by mail or electronically. Candidates are also required to submit an official course-by-course credential evaluation for each international institution attended through World Education Services. 

Official records may be sent via secure electronic transmission from the issuing institution to or via postal mail to: 

Coordinator of Graduate Admission
School of Education – Drake University
Collier-Scripps Hall – Rm 221
2702 Forest Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50311

All applicants whose native language is not English are required to submit official evidence of language proficiency from one of the following exams. The minimum scores accepted are:

  • Internet Based TOEFL (iBT) 79
  • IELTS 6.6
  • DuoLingo English Test 110 

Scores dated within the last two years are acceptable and must be reported directly from the testing agency. Exemptions are granted to applicants who have earned a U.S. bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree from a college or university accredited by a regional accrediting association in the United States, or the international equivalent degree from a university of recognized standing in a country in which all instruction is provided in English. 



Coordinator of Graduate Admission, School of Education

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