These criteria represent minimal requirements. The committee does not merely look for candidates for the program to meet the requirements, but looks for evidence that the student will bring strong learning skills to the department, is interested in learning from the department and participating in the department's mission, will work well with faculty and students, and will be well served by the department.
- GPA: 3.0 for undergraduate work, 3.5 for master's work (if the GPA is lower, but the most recent two years are at this level or above, the department does not need to write a letter to University admissions requesting that an exception be made).
- TOEFL score (if applicable) should be 650 or above.
- Strong writing skills, as evidenced by the personal statement. In addition to being well written, the statement should clarify the fit between the student's goals and interests and the department's offerings.
- Research interests that are compatible with the strengths and emphasis of the faculty.
- For students planning to write a thesis: evidence of theoretical sophistication, good research skills, and a relevant educational background (that is, a background that helps prepare the student for the kind of scholarly work that ECS does, especially with regard to studies in disciplines relevant to ECS courses. Work in the schools and social justice work may also be relevant).
- For students planning to write a thesis: reason to believe that two or more faculty would be interested in working closely with the student.
- For students planning to write a dissertation: a writing sample that provides evidence of the student's ability to conduct research at an advanced level (usually, a master's thesis is assumed to provide the best evidence of this, but if the student did her or his thesis in a language other than English, or if the thesis was not particularly theoretical, a class or conference paper can be submitted. It should be as recent as possible).
- Three strong letters of recommendation (for Master's applicants from at least one, preferably two, college-level instructors; for Ph.D. applicants from at least two college level instructors) that do not merely say positive things about the student but provide the committee with specific and detailed reasons to think that the student would be a good fit with the department and would do well in the department.