Frequently Asked Questions Masters Admissions

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are frequently asked questions about applying to UCR School of Education's MEd, MA, and PhD programs.

Program Logistics

Are any of the graduate programs in education online?

No - all programs are in-person and meet on campus in Riverside. There are a few Higher Education Administration and Policy graduates classes that can be offered online; however, the primary mode of instruction is in-person.

When do classes meet?

The majority of graduate education courses meet once a week Monday through Thursday from 4-6:50 pm. Exceptions include practicum seminars for the PhD School Psychology  program.

Is UCR on the quarter or semester system?

We operate on the quarter system, which includes 10 weeks of instruction and one week for finals. This means we have three academic terms per year - Fall, Winter and Spring. We do not offer graduate classes in the summer.

What terms are available for admission?

All graduate programs in education that are not tied to a teaching credential start in the Fall.

Do any programs follow a cohort model?

Yes - our PhD School Psychology program follows a cohort model due to their APA accreditation. As a result, the program is intended for full time study.

Do I have to be enrolled full time?

All PhD specializations programs are meant to be complete full time. This equates to at least 12 units of study per quarter. It is common for students enrolled in the MEd Higher Education Administration and Policy program to complete 8 units/2 classes per quarter while working full time. All other programs have some flexibility on full versus part time status.

Expenses and Financial Assistance 

How much does a master's and doctoral education program cost at UCR?

Tuition is charged on a quarterly basis. For the latest fee schedule, view our Registrar’s website. If you already have health insurance and plan to maintain coverage off-campus, you can submit an annual waiver for the campus health insurance, which will decrease the quarterly fees approximately $1,525.

Is there any financial assistance for MA/MEd students?

Master's students are eligible to work with a faculty member as a Graduate Student Researcher (GSR) or a Teaching Assistant (TA) for the SOE. While fellowships are not offered to master's students upon admission, the SOE encourages students to work with faculty on research projects either voluntarily or for hire. Depending on the hours required for the researcher position, tuition remission and health insurance may be provided in addition to a monthly paycheck for the term(s) employed.

For more information about federal and private loans for domestic students, please refer to the Financial Aid office.

Is there any financial assistance for PhD students?

Highly qualified Ph.D. applicants are offered a fellowship package upon admission. The package consists of stipends, tuition remission, health insurance and awards based on employment. The requirements for a fellowship package include full time study (12 units per quarter) and employment as a Teaching Assistant (TA) or Graduate Student Researcher (GSR), if applicable. It is important to know that TA and GSR positions require 10-20 hours of work per week ranging Monday through Friday 8 am to 10 pm.

To be considered for a fellowship, applicants only need to fill out the online application for admission. If offered a fellowship, it will come with the offer of admission to the program.

Exams and Writing Sample

Do I need to take the GRE?

No, the GRE is no longer required for admission to graduate programs in Education at UCR.

What English exams are required?

If you are an international applicant or earned a bachelor’s degree at a university where English was not the primary language of instruction at that institution, we will require the TOEFL or IELTS. We do not accept Duolingo.

The TOEFL/IELTS scores must be reported electronically from the testing center. The scores cannot be more than two years old from the date of matriculation (for example: test cannot be older than September 2022 for Fall 2024 admission).

Can the English proficiency exam (TOEFL or IELTS) be waived?

If you earned a bachelor’s or other graduate degree from an institution where English is the official language of instruction at that institution, you will be exempt from the English test requirement.

What is a writing sample and what are the requirements?

A writing sample is required for all applicants. It should be a research paper or final class paper submitted for a previous course. The document should not exceed 30 pages and may be on any topic. It is preferred that you are the sole author.

What if I don't have access to a writing sample?

If you do not have access to a writing sample, you can write a new one. The document should not exceed 30 pages and may be on any topic.

Transcript and Transfer Credits

Are official transcripts required or are there alternatives if we are unable to get them?

We can use unofficial transcripts for the application review, but if admitted/accept offer, we will require official transcripts from the host university. Institutions keep records of all previously enrolled students, so an official transcript will be available. Unofficial transcripts should be uploaded directly to the online application prior to submission and must include have the applicant's name and institution name with all coursework taken.

I took community college classes during high school. Do I have to report those classes?

Yes – although the coursework was taken during high school, you still have an established record of college level coursework that has to be reported on your application. Unofficial transcripts should be uploaded directly to the online application prior to submission.

Can I transfer some of my graduate courses into the program?

If you have taken graduate classes at another graduate school and you did not complete the program, you can petition to transfer up to 8 credits/2 classes to UCR. An articulation review must be complete by a faculty member within the program you are applying to. Send an email to with a copy of the course syllabi and indicate the UCR class (subject/number) on the curriculum you feel the transfer course aligns with.

Admission Requirements and Online Application

How much is the application fee?

Domestic application fee - $135
International application fee - $155

It states online that a bachelor’s degree with a cumulative 3.0 GPA is expected for admission consideration. Can someone with a lower GPA still be accepted?

Applicants with a bachelor’s GPA below a 3.0 may still be considered for admission; however, this is rare. The SOE faculty consider all components of an application utilizing a holistic review process. Take care to submit all required documentation by the posted deadline to be considered for admission.

I have a master’s degree with a GPA above a 3.0, but my bachelor’s degree GPA is below a 3.0. Does this meet the GPA requirement for admission?

Graduate Admissions only uses the bachelor’s degree to determine the minimum GPA requirement; however, the admissions committee may use graduate coursework or degree programs to justify a recommendation for admission when the bachelor’s degree GPA is not a 3.0 or higher. 

The proposed program/area of specialization is not appearing as an option on the application. What should I do?

Typically this means the wrong department/program or degree (MA versus MEd) was selected when creating an application. PhD, MA, and MEd programs not tied to the single or multiple subject credential are under the “Education” program option (not “Education – teaching emphasis”). This should prompt the appropriate proposed programs (for example: Higher Education Administration and Policy, Educational Psychology, School Psychology, etc.). If you still cannot find the program you are interested in, please email

Am I able to apply for a graduate program if I am still in the process of completing my bachelor’s degree? 

Yes; you are welcome to apply to any of our programs as long as you finish your bachelor’s degree prior to the start of the graduate program. We will use your grades earned to date for the application review and if offered admission, you will need to submit an official transcript showing your bachelor’s degree was conferred prior to enrolling in courses.

Can I reach out to faculty prior to submitting my application?

If you’re considering pursuing a doctoral degree, we highly encourage you to review faculty profiles and email those whose research interests align with your own. Take the opportunity to introduce yourself, express an interest in overlapping research interests, and request to speak with them for 10-15 minutes to discuss current projects.

How can I check my application status and when are admission decisions released for applicants?

You can check the status of your application materials received, resend an email request to your letter recommenders, and view your admission decision through the online application.

Once the faculty have made an admission recommendation and fellowship nomination (if applicable), they will forward your application to Graduate Admissions for final approval. Once a final decision has been reached, you will receive official notification by email only. Decisions occur year-round, but most of the decisions for Fall quarter take place March through May.

Is there a way to update a document after my application has been submitted?

Yes, you can login to your application and add additional documentation under the 'new materials' section.

Is there a way to update or add another recommender on my application?

Yes, you can login to your application and add a new recommender, or delete one if they have not uploaded a letter.



I left UCR and would like to re-enroll. Do I need to fill out an application as a new student, or is there another application for readmission?

To readmit in a program, students have to submit an application online as a “Returning UCR Student”. You must include a copy of all transcripts, including your most recent transcript from your graduate program at UCR. Students are required to submit one letter of recommendation from the original or new faculty advisor as well as a statement of purpose outlining what you have been doing since you left the program and your plans to finish the degree. See more information about readmission here

Can I pursue a second master’s degree? 

If you are interested in pursuing a second master’s degree, you will need the permission of the Graduate Dean. A second master's degree may be approved when there is little relation in content between the two degrees. Before you apply for the program, submit a letter with your justification to pursue a second master’s degree in Education to Your request will be reviewed by the Graduate Advisor and will be forwarded to the Graduate Division for consideration. You can read more about the policy here

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