The Doctoral Admissions Coach communicates with prospective students and answers questions about completing the application. The Admissions Coach compiles the necessary documentation and forwards to the Doctoral Admissions Committee for review. The committee is composed of the Admissions Coach, Dean for Graduate Studies, Associate Dean of Graduate Studies, Doctoral Program Director, and doctoral faculty.

Admissions Requirements

  1. Prior Education and Professional Practice:  MA/MS in the discipline, or closely related discipline, plus 3-5 years of work experience in the field, or closely related field. Applicants holding other doctoral degrees and relevant experience (MD, DO, DC, DDS, DVM, etc.) may be admitted into a doctoral program at the discretion of the Doctoral Committee.
  2. Curriculum Vitae (CV) or Resume:  This biographical statement document includes work history, professional accomplishments, service to the profession, and as appropriate, teaching and research experience.
  3. Grade Point Average (GPA):  A master’s degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0 (or equivalent) is required.
  4. Three letters of recommendation: Individuals chosen to write a letter of recommendation should have a current or recent (within the past 3-5 years) professional association with, and knowledge of, the applicant’s background and potential to complete doctoral work. The letters should attest to the applicant’s professional accomplishments, leadership in the discipline or practice, communication strengths (writing and verbal), service activities and/or personal strengths necessary for successful completion of the doctoral program.
  5. Official Transcripts: All official transcripts verifying the awarding of a master’s degree and those for credit evaluation must be sent to APUS from the issuing institution and arrive in sealed envelopes or by official electronic copy (such as National Student Clearinghouse transcript). No faxed or unsealed transcripts sent by the student will be accepted, even for preliminary review purposes. Once received, all admission and transfer credit documents are a permanent part of the student record and the property of APUS. They cannot be returned to the student.
  6. Professional Goal Essay:  This 750-1,200 word essay discusses the following:  Describe a significant Problem of Practice relevant to your current professional context. Why is this problem significant? Discuss the potential underlying causes and the ways in which this problem aligns with your research interests or professional practice. Please include your rationale for earning a doctorate in this specific program and your long-term academic and/or professional goals.
  7. A Sample of Professional Writing: An original writing sample of at least 1,000 words, such as a report, white paper, project plan, memo, brief, or publication. Alternatively, the applicant may submit a video of a professional presentation such as a briefing, or a public lecture.
  8. Admissions Interview: Final candidates are interviewed by the Doctoral Director, Associate Dean of Graduate Studies, and at least one faculty member.
  9. English Proficiency:  Applicants from a country whose native language is not English (regardless of current residence) must provide proof of English proficiency in one of the following ways:
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores or higher in each of the four categories: 20 in Reading, 20 in Listening, and 21 in Writing, and 19 in Speaking, or an overall score of 80. IELTS overall band score or at least 6.5 with no band below 6.0.
  • Pearson Test of English score of at least 60.
  • Transcripts from a conferred bachelor’s degree or higher in residence at a regionally-accredited college/university in the United States.
  • Transcripts from at least 12 semester hours of graduate coursework with a GPA of 3.0 (out of 4.0) in residence at a regionally-accredited institution in the United States.
  1. Nonrefundable Admissions Fee of $100 (Applicant may request fee waiver due to financial hardship through the Admissions Coach).
  2. Applications are only be evaluated once the application package is complete.

Categories of Admission

  1. Admission to Doctoral Program: This category is used for students who satisfy all requirements. There is no provisional admission status due to Federal Student Aid requirements.

  2. There is no Post-Baccalaureate entry. Students must have already earned a master’s degree in the discipline or closely related discipline, and 5 years of experience in the field, or closely related field.

  3. Prospective students who do not meet the required grade point average of 3.0 in their master’s degree course work may choose to take a graduate certificate, micro credential, or learning track from APUS in their prospective field of study prior to admission into APUS doctoral programs. The resulting GPA must be 3.0 or higher.

Application Review: All complete applications are thoroughly reviewed by a doctoral admissions committee composed of Admissions Coach, Dean for Graduate Studies, Associate Dean of Graduate Studies, Doctoral Director, and Doctoral faculty. The committee selects students based on evidence of outstanding intellectual ability, strong commitment to applied research and practice in the discipline, and demonstrated ability to successfully complete post-baccalaureate study. The process includes an evaluation of the applicant’s curriculum vita/resume, professional goal essay, official transcripts, two letters of recommendation, writing sample, and prior education and professional practice. 

Application deadlines: Complete applications with supporting materials must be received by the following dates. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

  1. January cohort deadline for admissions is September 1 of previous year. Decisions made by 10/31.

  2. May cohort deadline for admissions is February 1. Decisions made by 3/31.

  3. September cohort deadline for admissions is May 1. Decisions made by 6/30.

Waiting List: Each Cohort consists of up to 30 students/program/term. A waiting list of 10 candidates is ranked and the committee uses the list to fill in should an accepted student not be able to attend during the selected term. For those on the list, they will have the option of having priority for the next cohort. 

Admission deferral: After acceptance into a specific cohort, students may choose to defer admission by one or two cohorts, not to exceed one year from date of acceptance with a guaranteed place in a cohort during that year. Students who do not enter the program within one year from date of acceptance may subsequently request to be re-considered for admission. To do so, students should update their application materials and must submit the nonrefundable admissions fee. Such requests will be reviewed by the Admissions Committee