Graduate and Doctorate Application

Shippensburg University takes a holistic approach to graduate admissions. While previous academic success is required, the Grad School also takes into account previous work experience, life experience, and your vision for how a graduate degree will help you personally prosper and serve your profession and community.

Byers presenting with mic
Tara Byers '07M, '22Ed.D
Counselor Education and Supervision
“The best part of the degree was getting to know the faculty on a deeper level, connecting with others in my cohort, and growing and getting to push myself regardless of every obstacle put in my way.”
More >>

All applicants for master or doctoral degrees must submit the following:

  • Completed online application
  • One official transcript from every college and university attended, except from Shippensburg University; Graduate Admissions will access and upload all Shippensburg University (SU) transcripts. Official transcripts must be sent directly to SU from the college/university. Transcripts sent to students and forwarded to SU are not official and will not be accepted. 
    • Official transcripts from colleges and universities other than Shippensburg University should be sent electronically to gradadmiss@ship.edu or by mail to the Office of Graduate Admissions, 1871 Old Main Drive, Shippensburg, PA 17257.

Additional Requirements

While Shippensburg University is committed to ensuring your academic and personal success, we may require additional information to supplement your application folder. Please check the drop-down menus below for additional information about program requirements. 

If you are an international applicant, please see our International Graduate Application requirements page for additional materials that will need to be provided.

Submitting Application Materials

Scan and upload all materials through your application status portal, unless otherwise noted.

In addition to the application and transcript(s), Administration of Juvenile Justice (JCJC) applicants must submit:

  • Rèsumè
  • Letter of Interest
    • This letter should address the following issues:
      • Why you are a strong candidate for endorsement
      • Any reasons why your undergraduate GPA may be below a 3.0
      • Complete description of juvenile justice work experience
      • How you expect to use your graduate degree to improve juvenile justice in your county
  • One (1) recommendation
    • Recommendation must be an endorsement from your current chief if you are a juvenile probation officer, or from the Juvenile Court Administrative Judge if you are not

Applicants may be asked to interview.

There are two primary requirements for admission to the JCJC program:

  • Acceptance into the Shippensburg University School of Graduate Studies
  • Endorsement by the Juvenile Court Judges' Commission

The JCJC program is available to full-time county juvenile probation officers in Pennsylvania who graduated from an accredited college or university with at least 18 credits in the behavioral or social sciences, and who have been, or will be, employed in the Juvenile Justice System for at least two years prior to admission. As space allows, county juvenile detention staff (and other juvenile justice professionals) may be admitted to the program upon the recommendation of the Juvenile Court Administrative Judge.

For more information on JCJC, visit the JCJC program page.

In addition to the application and transcript(s), Applied History applicants must submit:

  • Goal statement
    • Please write a 500-word statement providing evidence of your interest in history, your potential as a graduate student, and your reasons for pursuing graduate studies at Shippensburg University.

For more information, visit the Applied History program page.

In addition to the application and transcript(s), Applied Psychology applicants must submit:

  • Program statement
    • Please provide a statement of interest/goals, in 300 words or less, indicating your reasons for pursuing a degree in Applied Psychology. Your statement should include your professional goals and how a degree in Applied Psychology will help you achieve those goals.

Applicants must also:

  • Have completed at least three semester hours of undergraduate work in psychology
  • Have completed an undergraduate course in statistics

For more information, visit our Applied Psychology program page.

In addition to the application and transcript(s), Biology applicants must submit:

  • Program statement
    • Submit a 500-word statement describing your long-term goals with respect to a master's degree in Biology, and how your goals will be influenced by this degree.

Applicants must also:

  • Have completed at least 33 semester hour credits of undergraduate biology or biology-related courses, e.g., forestry, horticulture, environmental studies
  • Have taken at least three chemistry courses with labs, including both inorganic and organic chemistry or biochemistry.

It is recommended applicants have completed a course in evolution, mathematics through calculus, and one year of physics.

The English language proficiency test scores requirement for the Biology program are as follows:

  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL): 80 (internet-based test)
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS): 6.5
  • Duolingo: 105

For more information, visit our Biology program page.

In addition to the application and transcript(s), Business Administration applicants must submit:

  • Rèsumè
  • Program statement
    • Submit 500-word statement of purpose for pursuing an MBA, your future goals, and why you chose Shippensburg University

In addition, applicants are required to meet the following prerequisites, via work experience or undergraduate credits in:

  • Quantitative analysis,
  • Information technology, and
  • Oral and written communications
  •  

If you fail to meet the prerequisite course work or work experience, you can enroll in the following courses at Shippensburg University or take comparable courses at a different institution with the approval of your Shippensburg advisor. 

ENG 114 Writing Intensive First-Year Seminar
SCM 200 Statistical Applications in Business
MIS 142 Business Computer Systems
HCS 100 Human Communication Studies

For more information, visit our MBA program page.

In addition to the application and transcript(s), Criminal Justice applicants must submit:

  • Rèsumè
  • Program statement
    • In 500 words or less, provide a statement of interest indicating your reasons for pursuing a graduate degree in Criminal Justice, your professional goals, and how this degree will help fulfill your goals

Applicants for admission to graduate study with specialization in criminal justice will be expected to have completed an undergraduate program in criminal justice or a closely related field.  Admission is based on prior academic success, and you may be asked to obtain a satisfactory score on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or Miller Analogies Test (MAT).

For more information, visit our Criminal Justice program page.

In addition to the application and transcript(s), Computer Science applicants must submit:

  • Rèsumè

All international applicants who have not graduated from a four-year American university must take an English language proficiency test and must achieve a minimum score as outlined below:

  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL): 70 (internet-based test)
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS): 6
  • Duolingo: 100

For more information, visit our Computer Science program page.

In addition to the application and transcript(s), Counseling and College Student Personnel applicants must submit:

  • Rèsumè
  • Three (3) recommendations
  • Related Experience Form
    • We would like to hear about all your experiences (paid or volunteer), particularly as your experience relates to the counseling concentration for which you are applying. Form is located within the online application.
  • Counseling Autobiographical Statement
    • Length: Not to exceed five (5) pages (double‐spaced; 12‐point font)
    • Content: We would like to know something about who you are, why you are interested in this degree, what you plan to do with this degree and what pieces of your life you would like to grow.
    • Format: In five pages or less, you are to produce an autobiographical statement that gives us a sense of you (past, present and future). Please include each of the following construct areas as major headings in your paper:
      • Why are you pursuing this degree?
      • How do you plan to use this degree in the future?
      • What will you bring to the program (personally and/or professionally)?
      • Describe your characteristics that make you effective in working with people.
      • Describe your characteristics that you feel you need to develop to work more effectively with people.
      • How do you best learn complexities of the world; especially those that contradict previous knowledge?
      • Describe personal/professional experiences with individuals who differ from you in regard to race, ethnicity, culture, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sex, sexual orientation, religion or spiritual beliefs.
    • NOTE: It is both wise and critical that you distinguish your responses to each of the prompts above by using examples and specific information. General statements, e.g., I am a really good listener, that are not supported by specific examples will detract from your overall application evaluation.
    • Evaluation: We are using your autobiographical statement to assess both your match with the program/field and your writing skills. Pay attention to style, grammar, punctuation, wording and flow.
    • Upload the statement through your online application portal.

For more information, visit our Counseling & CSP program page.

In addition to the application and transcript(s), Curriculum & Instruction applicants must submit:

  • Program statement
    • Please provide clear and concise answers to the following questions:
      • Describe your three most significant professional experiences
      • Describe your major professional traits
      • Describe yourself in terms of strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement
      • Explain why you wish to pursue the master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction
  • Three (3) Recommendations
    • One of the three recommendations must be from your last professional supervisor

The Curriculum & Instruction master's degree program is intended for individuals who possess a teaching certificate or those seeking to obtain certification. Both the early childhood education concentration and the middle level concentration have options that do not require students to hold certification and thus lead to a Pennsylvania teaching certificate. The degree is designed to enhance teaching and learning through exploration of theoretical principles and practical applications to educational settings. Based on the concentration you select and option within the concentration, the credit requirements vary. The M.Ed. without certification is a 36-credit M.Ed. program.

For more information, visit our Curriculum & Instruction program page.

In addition to the application and transcript(s), Educational Leadership applicants must submit:

  • Program statement
    • Doctoral program: Please write a 500-1000 word statement addressing your goals and objectives for doctoral study in educational leadership and how Shippensburg University will assist you in achieving your objectives
    • Master's program: Not required
  • Recommendations
    • Two (2) recommendations required for master's program
      • One of the three recommendations must be from your last professional supervisor
    • Three (3) recommendations required for doctoral program
      • One of the three recommendations must be from a school district superintendent or chief organization administrator, if not employed at a school district.
  • Additional requirements for doctoral applicants only:
    • Rèsumè
      • Include current and past leadership: positions, responsibilities, and experiences
    • Interview (if invited)

For more information on the master's program, visit the Ed Leadership (M.Ed.) program page.

For more information on the doctoral program, visit the Ed Leadership (Ed.D.) program page.

In addition to the application and transcript(s), Literacy applicants must submit:

  • Program statement
    • Please provide clear and concise answers to the following:
      • Describe your three most significant professional experiences
      • Describe yourself in terms of strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement
      • Describe your experiences with teaching reading to students with a range of abilities
      • Explain why you wish to become a reading specialist
  • Three (3) Recommendations
    • One of the three recommendations must be from your last professional supervisor

The Literacy program requires a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.

If an applicant for the Literacy program is not presently employed in a school district, the following additional information is required upon confirmation of enrollment:

  1. The Pennsylvania State Police Request for Criminal Records Check (Act 34)
  2. The Federal Criminal History Record (Act 114)
  3. The Child Abuse History Clearance (Act 151)

For more information, visit our Literacy program page.

In addition to the application and transcript(s), Special Education applicants must submit:

  • Rèsumè
  • Program statement
    • Please provide clear and concise answers to the following
      • Describe your three most significant professional experiences you have had
      • Describe your major professional traits
      • Describe yourself in terms of strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement
      • Describe your experiences with individuals who have disabilities
      • Describe your significant life experiences
      • Explain your desire to study and go into the field of special education.
  • Three (3) Recommendations
    • One of the three recommendations must be from your last professional supervisor

The Special Education program also requires a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.

Special Education program applicants are required to present evidence of previous successful experience working with students and a commitment to teaching students with disabilities. Applicants must present transcripts that demonstrate that the following courses or their equivalents have been taken at an undergraduate or graduate level:

If the applicant's transcript does not show evidence of having taken these or comparable courses, the courses will be treated as a deficiency (i.e., required background course that must be taken before receiving full admission to the program).

For more information, visit our Special Educaiton program page.

In addition to the application and transcript(s), STEM Teacher Education applicants must submit:

  • Program statement
    • Submit a statement of intent summarizing your motivations and goals for entering the teaching profession. 
  • Two (2) Recommendations
    • One of the two recommendations must be from your last professional supervisor

The Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) in STEM Education is designed for professionals and recent college graduates who already hold a degree in science, mathematics, or information technology/business discipline and who wish to teach science in either a middle school or high school. Passing scores on two teacher certification exams are required by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania: Praxis I Pre-Professional Skills Test and Praxis II Subject Assessment. More information can be found at the Educational Testing Services website (www.ets.org). Completion of the program will result in both a master's degree and teacher certification through the Pennsylvania Department of Education. 

For more information, visit our STEM Education program page.

Select the Graduate and Doctorate application when beginning your application. This professional certificate option is not located on the non-degree and certificate application.

In addition to the application and transcript(s), Special Education Supervisory Certificate applicants must have Level II teacher certification, and applicants must submit:

  • Rèsumè
    • Required: five years of successful special education teaching in elementary, middle, or secondary schools
  • Program statement
    • Provide a statement of purpose for seeking a Post-Master's Supervisory Certification
  • Two (2) recommendations required:
    • The recommendations must be from previous/current professional supervisors

Students who have earned an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership, or a related field, i.e., Reading, Curriculum & Instruction, Early Childhood, Special Education, and need only Special Education Supervisory Certification may apply to the Dean of Admissions for the Post-Master's Special Education Supervisory Certification Program. The Pennsylvania Department of Education requires a minimum of five years of successful special education teaching in elementary, middle, or secondary schools in order to be eligible for the Special Education Supervisory certificate.

For more information, visit our Supervisory Certification program page.

Select the Graduate and Doctorate application when beginning your application. This professional certificate option is not located on the non-degree and certificate application.

In addition to the application and transcript(s), Supervisory/Principal Certificate applicants must have Level II teacher certification, and applicants must submit:

  • Rèsumè
    • Three (3) years of successful teaching experience in elementary, middle, or secondary schools required
  • Program statement
    • Provide a statement of purpose for seeking a principal's certification
    • One recommendation must be from the chief school administrator in the district you currently teach or have recently taught
  • Two (2) recommendations required
    • One recommendation must be from the chief school administrator in the district you currently teach or have recently taught
    • The second recommendation must be from a school administrator, not the chief school administrator

A candidate who has completed a master's degree other than the Master of Education degree in educational leadership at Shippensburg University will not be required to complete a second master's degree; however, his or her program may need to include additional courses identified as necessary to attain the required competencies.  Students who have earned an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership, or a related area, i.e., Reading, Curriculum & Instruction, Early Childhood, and need only K-12 Principal Certification may apply to the Dean of Admissions for the Post-Master's K-12 Principal Certification Program. The Pennsylvania Department of Education requires a minimum of three years of professional school experience in order to be eligible for the Administrative I certificate.

For more information, visit our Principal Certification program page.

Select the Graduate and Doctorate application when beginning your application. This professional certificate options are not located on the non-degree and certificate application.

In addition to the application and transcript(s), Superintendent Letter of Eligibility applicants must have Level II teacher certification, and applicants must submit:

  • Rèsumè
    • Include current and past leadership positions, specific leadership responsibilities and experiences
    • Applicants must hold administrative and/or supervisory positions in education
  • Program statement
    • Submit a 500-1,000 word goal statement of purpose explaining why you are seeking the Letter of Eligibility
  • Three (3) recommendations required:
    • One recommendation must be from the chief school administrator in the district you currently teach or have recently taught

Upon completion of the residencies, candidates will be eligible for the Superintendent's Letter of Eligibility in Pennsylvania provided that they also meet the experience and state exam requirements.

For more information, visit our LOE program page.

Geoenvironmental Science and Sustainability requires only a submitted application and official transcript(s).

An applicant must meet the minimum standards of the School of Graduate Studies and must have an undergraduate minimum of:

  1. 12 hours in geography or 12 hours in the earth sciences or a combined total of 18 hours in the two fields; or,
  2. 15 hours in the social sciences including six hours of geography and 15 hours in the natural sciences including six hours in the earth sciences

Admission may be granted by the departmental graduate faculty committee for a student lacking the required level of entrance credits, in which case the department will require the student to take addtional courses to make up the deficiencies. Admission is based on prior academic success, and you may be asked to obtain a satisfactory score on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE).

For more information, visit our Geoenvironmental program page.

In addition to the application and transcript(s), Organizational Development and Leadership (ODL) applicants must submit:

  • Rèsumè
  • Program statement
    • Please submit one page single-spaced explaining your personal and/or professional goals for the program

Admission is based on prior academic success, and you may be asked to obtain a satisfactory score on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or Miller Analogies Test (MAT) or interview with the program director.

For more information, visit our ODL program page.

In addition to the application and transcript(s), Public Administration applicants must submit:

  • Rèsumè
  • Three (3) recommendations

Admission is based on prior academic success, and you may be asked to obtain a satisfactory score on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or Miller Analogies Test (MAT). Applicants who do not meet minimum requirements may be required to take an introductory course. Students who have full-time managerial employment in a relevant profession may apply for an internship waiver when applying to the MPA program. Students obtaining a waiver for the six credit-hour internship are required to choose a three credit-hour experiential skills course.

For more information, visit our MPA program page.

In addition to the application and transcript(s), Social Work applicants must have/provide:

  • A baccalaureate degree in the last eight years from a Council on Social Work Education (CWSE) accredited social work program with an overall GPA of 3.0 and a major GPA of 3.25 or higher on a 4.0 scale
  • Rèsumè
  • Program statement
    • Please write a four-to-five page statement that describes the following:
      • Events and experiences that led you to apply for a master's degree in social work as a profession
      • How the MU-SU MSW Advanced Generalist program will further your career goals
      • Your experiences with issues of diversity; and/or human rights; and/or social justice in practice and/or life
      • The reasons why you should be admitted to the program
      Your statement must be typewritten, double-spaced, with one-inch margins and a font size of 12 points. All transfer students should include the reason they are choosing to transfer from their previous institution.
    • Use the following headings:
      • Introduction
      • Significant Events and Experiences
      • My Future Career Goals
      • My Experience with Diversity and/or Human Rights; and/or Social Justice
      • Conclusion 
  • Three (3) recommendations
    • One of the three recommendations must be from a field supervisor

Students may apply for regular or advanced standing admission. Students may apply for advanced standing admission if they graduated from a CSWE-accredited social work program within the past eight years and meet the QPA requirements as described in the admission guidelines. They must also have a reference from the BSW program director. If you are seeking Advanced Standing, please submit the Advanced Standing Form

Regular standing admission is for students who completed a baccalaureate degree with a major other than social work. Students who graduated from a CSWE-accredited social work program within the past eight years but did not meet the QPA requirements for advanced standing, will be admitted to the regular program.

Students must demonstrate they have successfully completed coursework in each of the following areas: Human Biology, Economics, Government/Political Science, Psychology, Sociology/Anthropology, and Statistics. Applicants can be admitted with course deficiencies on the condition that these course deficiencies are completed before students start the fall semester of the specialization year. The program provides information about options for completion of these prerequisites upon admission to the program.

The Social Work program starts only in May of each year. Please ensure your application is submitted with all supplemental materials by the end of February prior to the term in which you wish to start.

For more information, visit our MSW program page.

In addition to the application and transcript(s), Strategic Communication applicants must submit:

  • Rèsumè
  • Program statement
    • Submit a 500-word statement of purpose describing your long-term goals in regard to this field, and how those goals will be influenced by this degree
  • Three (3) recommendations - contact information only
    • Please note that the recommendation form for Strategic Communications is available on the application status portal (not located within the online application). The department will contact recommenders if needed.

The English language proficiency test scores requirement for the Strategic Communication program are as follows:

  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL): 80 (internet-based test)
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS): 6
  • Duolingo: 105

Applicants who do not have an undergraduate degree in communication/journalism or extensive professional experience in communications may be required to take additional undergraduate courses to make up this deficiency. Admission is based on prior academic success, and you may be asked to obtain a satisfactory score on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or Miller Analogies Test (MAT) or have significant communications work experience. 

For more information, visit the Strategic Communication program page.

For post-baccalaureate certificates and other professional opportunities, please visit our Professional, Continuing, and Distance Education page.