An application to the Lynch School consists of:
1) Application Form
2) Application Fee
3) Personal Statement
7) Admissions tests
PhD applicants must also submit a writing sample.
For greater detail on requirements, please visit the page in the Academics section for the specific program to which you are interested in applying.
All Lynch School of Education requirements are necessary to apply to the MESA program. We are interested in applicants with research experience, previous coursework in assessment, statistics, and measurement (particularly for the M.S. and PhD. programs), excellent grades, and a strong reason for this particular degree and program.
Yes, GRE scores are important. Although we look at multiple pieces of evidence, we are a testing department and high GRE quantitative scores are often related to success in our statistics courses. In addition to GRE scores, your personal statement is also very important.
Our GRE-Verbal range averages around 155-164, GRE-Quantitative scores average around 158-167, and GRE-Analytical around 4.5-5.
The personal statement is very important, particularly with respect to why you are interested in this degree, what you would like to study and research while here, what you would hope to do when you graduate, and how this program will enable you to make a contribution to your field.
Good reference letters will address your research, decision-making and responsibility experience, as well as the potential contribution you might make in your area of interest.
There is no restriction on either subject or pages but less than 20 pages would be preferred.
The M.Ed. degree requires a minimum of 30 credits.
The Ph.D. degree requires a minimum of 54 credits beyond the master’s degree. The Direct Admit Ph.D. degree requires a minimum of 72 credits beyond the baccalaureate degree.
The M.Ed. can be done in a fall/spring/summer sequence, but it is usually done over two years.
Coursework typically takes 3 years; the dissertation typically takes 1-2 years. Students often complete the Ph.D. degree between 4 and 6 years.
Yes, many students attend the M.Ed. program part-time. Often students, who are working full-time, elect to enroll in the M.Ed. program on a part-time basis. Most of the MESA courses are offered in the early evening which accommodates students attending class after work.
One year of residency is required for the doctoral program. Part-time students are rare in our program because we only admit six per year and engage doctoral students as our primary researchers on our projects. In general, part-time enrollment is discouraged at the doctoral level. However, in the past we have made accommodations on a case-by-case basis.
A degree or other background in math is not required for admission to the MESA program. Some MESA students have a moderate math or statistics background, and a few students have a deep math or statistics background. Your bachelor’s or master's degree may be in any field. We have had students with backgrounds in music, business, sociology, psychology, etc. The critical issue is your interest and intentions with attaining this form of specialized training.
Nearly all MESA students have some education background. For admission to MESA, teaching experience and/or an education degree is not required, but some exposure to important issues in education is a benefit. Of more interest to us is what you want to study and research while in the program and what you want to do when you graduate.
No, you can apply to the Ph.D. program with a bachelor’s degree only. This is considered applying for the Direct Admit Ph.D. degree. This route is available for the occasional BA/BS student who has a strong undergraduate quantitative research background. It is 72 credits, which is 12 credits less than the normal 30 credit M.Ed. degree and 54 credit Ph.D. programs combined.
No, if you hold a master’s degree, even if it is in a program somewhat different than educational research, you would qualify for the regular 54 credit Ph.D. program.
One way to think of the M.Ed. degree versus the Ph.D. degree is what you plan to do with what you learn. If you want to become a more informed and critical reader of research and to develop more sensitive assessment and evaluation skills as a teacher or other education professional, then the M.Ed. is a good choice. If you are thinking of a significant career change in the sense of becoming a full-time graduate student with goals of becoming an independent consultant, director of institutional research, or college professor of measurement, etc. then the doctoral degree is the way to go. If you are unsure, it is best to request a meeting with the department chair, Dr. Larry Ludlow, to discuss your interests.
It is excellent! You will be well-prepared for many different types of careers (you can see examples on our webpage). We are one of the largest educational research specialty programs in the U.S. (there is an article on our webpage that compares us to other programs) and we have been doing this for more than 40 years.
Yes, we welcome prospective students and will be glad to help you schedule appointments with other faculty or students if you would like to meet and talk with them.
Incoming students are assigned a MESA faculty academic advisor to help with course selection. Students often take between 1 and 4 courses a semester, depending on their part-time or full-time status. Students determine their sequence of courses with their academic advisor. Most students begin with the 7460, 7462, 7466, and 7468 courses. ERME 7460 is the only course offered over the summer, so many students save this one for that time.
New students must receive a PIN Code from the Office of Graduate Student Services before registering for classes, as they will give you a PIN Code that you need to register online. After students receive their PIN, they register online via Agora Portal.
All MESA courses are currently 3 credits. Please note that some courses are 4 credits instead of 3 (most often an elective course in other departments or schools). If you choose to take a 4 credit course, know that those credits count towards your program of study and your graduate assistantship award. However, you can choose to reduce the number of credits from 4 to 3 credits. To do this, you need to fill out the “Variable Credit” section on a Graduate Course Exception Form available from the Graduate Office in Campion 135.
Yes, electives must be at the graduate level, bear some relationship to education or your research interests, and be approved by your MESA faculty academic advisor.
Yes, you can transfer up to six course credits if the course credits meet all the requirements. Courses must be at the graduate level, not applied to any other degree, carry a grade of “B” or better, and not be more than ten years old. You should discuss any course transfer questions with your MESA faculty academic advisor.
Yes, this is possible and is determined on a case-by-case basis. You should discuss any course waiver questions with your MESA faculty academic advisor.
MESA maintains a course override policy document for faculty and students that explains course restrictions, overrides, and waiting list policies in detail. If you need this information, please contact Dr. Ludlow or Jillian Gomolka for a copy of the document.
Independent studies are intended as electives that count towards the degree. They are usually taken as opportunities to do literature searches for one's upcoming dissertation work, or they are often done to pursue in detail some kind of statistical procedure not covered in a course. If you are a full-time supported doctoral student, it is usually presumed that the independent study that the department is paying for would go towards studies advancing you on your dissertation.
Yes, it is possible to take up to 4 courses as a non-degree student. This is an excellent way to get to know if this is the area you want devote your graduate work in. Courses taken as a non-degree student may count towards a future MESA degree if you are accepted into the program and the courses are approved by your MESA faculty academic advisor.
It may be somewhat inaccurate to say we focus on educational policy although we do emphasize research training for policymakers. We offer some policy courses, and if desired, students may take extra courses on any education-relevant topic. In our program, we help people become excellent methodologists, statisticians, testing specialists, and evaluators but we also help people develop their skills to become excellent researchers in their own specific area of interests. We particularly want to help train those who will become the current and next generation of policymakers.
Yes, and MESA maintains a comprehensive exam policy document for faculty and both masters and doctoral students that explains the exam process in detail. If you need this information, please contact Dr. Ludlow or Jillian Gomolka for a copy of the document: Comprehensive Exam Policies and Procedures.
All accepted doctoral students are fully funded by the Lynch School of Education for three years (via tuition remission and stipend). During these three years, doctoral students are required to work as full-time graduate assistants to the MESA faculty, which consists of 20 hour per week commitments. After three years, most MESA doctoral students are hired to work on funded projects.
It is a standard practice for us to admit many masters students in the hope that some of them will find part-time jobs and be able to secure student loans. Once the faculty have determined whom they can support at the doctoral level, they then look at the masters students if they have additional resources on funded projects to support masters students.
Yes, we offer both.
All accepted doctoral students are fully supported with tuition coverage and a monthly stipend for three years.