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Graduate Program

Doctoral Programs

General Information for Ph.D. Applicants

Thank you for your interest in the PhD program. The most important point about our admissions process is that we look at each student as an individual and review the complete application for strengths and indications of ability to be successful in our program.

We make our final decisions about offers of admission based on whether a student's interests are a match for one of the faculty who has decided to admit a student for the coming year. Thus, it is possible for a student to apply with solid credentials, but not have a place in the PhD program because there is no research match with an available faculty member. Applicants should, therefore, carefully read faculty profiles and learn about the various department sponsored labs and research projects described elsewhere on this website.

The faculty who can serve as primary mentors for PhD students include:

  • Marina Bers
  • Eileen Crehan
  • Ann Easterbrooks
  • Sasha Fleary
  • Calvin Gidney
  • Sara Johnson
  • Richard Lerner
  • Tama Leventhal
  • Christine McWayne
  • Jayanthi Mistry
  • Ellen Pinderhughes

In addition to matching with a faculty member, we look at several other factors when deciding if a candidate is a good fit for our department.

  • Generally, the median verbal GRE score among our enrolled (not our accepted) applicants is low 600. The median math GRE score is 700. The GRE is one piece of a student's information that we review when considering applicants. When applicants present with scores outside our range, we look for other indications that they might be successful in our program.
  • We look for experience in research and/or applied settings. We admit students who have diverse combinations of research and applied experiences. Typically, applicants with strong profiles who have had no experience with research might be offered admission into our MA/PhD program, through which they would first complete their MA thesis before undertaking the PhD program. These students, if successful in completing the MA thesis, move on to doctoral work without reapplying. Other applicants who lack research experience might be offered admission into our MA program in order to allow them the opportunity to obtain that level training while demonstrating their ability to handle graduate level work. In those cases, MA students interested in the PhD program would reapply.
  • Letters from references from 3 individuals who have taught or advised the applicant, are very important as they typically address the applicant's ability to thrive in an academic setting. We also look to letters from references who supervised the applicant (or a colleague of the applicant) as they can provide important information about the applicant's intellectual work, ability to work with others, perseverance, etc.
  • The personal statement is extremely important as it provides an indication of how the applicant has thought about the match between his/her interests and what Eliot-Pearson as well as specific faculty members have to offer. The personal statement is also used as an indication of the applicant's writing ability.
  • Finally, we also give consideration to the undergraduate experience, the course of study undertaken, and GPA at the respective institution where the applicant studied.