Admission Criteria

Individuals may apply to the School of Education and Human Development to pursue a doctoral degree, master of arts degree, a sixth year certificate of advanced study (SYC), state certification or licensure, or to take courses as non-degree candidates seeking credits for career enhancement or personal growth. 

Dates for admission vary by program. Please contact the Office of Graduate Admission at for deadline information. In order to be reviewed, applications must be completed on or before the program deadline.

If a person has been denied admission to the School twice, their application will not be considered again.

Admission Procedure

Applicants to the Doctorate in Educational Leadership

Applicants for the Doctorate should meet the following requirements:

  • M.Ed., Ed.S. or master’s degree in a field relevant to PK-12 education or higher education administration
  • Current or recent experience working in a PK-12 school, college/university, or other setting that serves students 
  • At least three years of experience as a teacher and/or as an instructional leader or higher education professional
  • Demonstrated leadership skills
  • Demonstrated commitment to excellence and equity 

Students seeking admission to the EdD must complete and submit the following online:

  1. A completed application. Apply online.
  2. A non-refundable application fee.
  3. All official college transcripts from each institution attended sent to the Office of Graduate Admission. Electronic transcripts are preferred and should be sent to
  4. Two-page personal statement in which the applicant describes their work as an educator or higher education professional that demonstrates the applicant's commitment to justice and equity, leadership roles (beyond classroom teaching for teacher leaders), professional goals, research interests, and reasons for pursuing a scholar-practitioner doctoral degree 
  5. Artifact (e.g., sample professional presentation, training documents, policy statement) and a brief explanation of how the artifact demonstrates the applicant's efforts to bring about sustained and systemic change 
  6. A professional resume
  7. Three recommendation letters (completed online), accompanied by the University online recommendation forms, from current/ recent employers, supervisors, or professors.

Applicants to MA, SYC, or Cross-Endorsement Programs

Applicants for the MA must hold a bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited college or university and give promise of meeting the standards set by the School. Applicants for the SYC must hold a master's degree from a regionally accredited college or university with a 3.00 cumulative quality point average. The master's degree must be in a major relevant to the SYC program of interest. In addition, individual departments may set specific requirements concerning interviews, adequate scores on tests, course waivers, computer literacy, and distribution of undergraduate courses.

Students may be required to take one or more English writing courses if their writing skills do not meet graduate level standards.

Students seeking admission must complete and submit the following online:

  1. A completed application. Apply online.
  2. A non-refundable application fee.
  3. All official college transcripts from each institution attended sent to the Office of Graduate Admission. Electronic transcripts are preferred and should be sent to
  4. A personal statement describing intent for studying in the program.
  5. A professional resume.
  6. Two recommendation letters (completed online), accompanied by the University online recommendation forms, from current employers, supervisors, or professors.
  7. For programs leading to certification: Provide documentation of scores on the Praxis Core, SAT, ACT, GRE, or equivalent test. If students provide their social security number to Educational Testing Services (ETS) online when registering for the PRAXIS Core exam, the reported score will automatically be uploaded to their Fairfield application file. Fairfield's code is 3390.
  8. Interviews may be required, depending on program.
  9. Consult a faculty advisor about course selection.

Program deadlines vary by program. Please contact the Office of Graduate Admission for complete deadline informaton.

Cross-endorsements: Cross-endorsement certification is negotiated between the graduate student and the Connecticut State Department of Education. To ensure that required coursework is taken, applicants with some coursework in a cross-endorsement area are advised to have the State review their materials before entry to a program.

Transfer Students: The School reserves the right to contact the chair and/or director of any programs attended by students who want to transfer into a program offered by the School of Education and Human Development.

Testing Requirements for Programs Leading to Initial Certification

Applicants for the School Counseling, School Psychology, and all teacher preparation programs must take PRAXIS CORE, SAT, ACT or the GRE. A passing SAT score is considered 1100 or above on the combined verbal/ math scores with no less than 450 on each section. Applicants submitting ACT or GRE score reports should contact the Office of Admission at to determine if their scores will be accepted. Candidates who do not have passing scores on one or more sections of the test may be required to remediate any deficient area. Remediation may include re-taking and passing the sections that were not passed, taking additional coursework, or other remediation activities. If additional courses are required, the candidate must complete the coursework at a grade of B (3.00) or above and provide an official transcript to the Dean’s office prior to student teaching. Please see advisor for additional details and recommendations.

Given that we seek to admit the best qualified applicants to our programs and that our applicants must maintain a GPA of 3.00 in their program of study, we generally expect applicants to come with a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.00. Faculty realize that some otherwise qualified applicants may not possess this minimum GPA, so they carefully review applications to assess candidate qualifications for our programs.

GPA between 2.40 and 2.67: Any candidate whose undergraduate GPA is lower than 2.67 must complete a GPA waiver request form and a written statement to explain any extenuating circumstances that may account for their undergraduate academic record. The decision to grant the formal GPA waiver will be made based on the candidate’s explanation of the low GPA, demonstrated ability to meet the academic expectations of the program of study, fitness for the field, and potential for success in the field. The quality of the applicant’s other admission materials (i.e., letters of recommendation, application essay, faculty interview) also will be considered.

GPA less than 2.40: Candidates whose undergraduate GPA is below 2.40 must complete a GPA waiver request form and an explanation of the low GPA. Candidates will be contacted by the Program Director for a meeting to discuss the low GPA and any potential remediation strategies. Many candidates with an undergraduate GPA below 2.40 will be required to take additional coursework to improve their academic record and demonstrate readiness for graduate-level study before formal admission will be considered.

Upon the granting of a GPA waiver, the approval form signed by the Department and the Dean's office will be placed in the applicant's file. Applicants who are granted a GPA waiver and are admitted must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.00 to be permitted to continue in the program. Applicants applying for admission to a certification program should note that Connecticut State certification program standards for formal admission to an approved initial educator certification program require candidates to possess a minimum undergraduate cumulative grade point average of B- (2.67 on a 4.0 scale), unless an approved GPA waiver form documents that a waiver was granted.

Required coursework for elementary, secondary, and TESOL education initial educator certification programs includes a minimum of 39 undergraduate general education credits with coursework in five or six of the following areas, depending on the program and certification regulations: mathematics, English, natural sciences, social studies, foreign language, and fine arts.Secondary Education majors only are required to have a survey course in U.S. history covering 50 years. This general education coursework is normally completed as part of one's undergraduate program. Applicants with missing prerequisite coursework must complete it before student teaching. Admission with prerequisite course deficiencies varies by program. Generally, no more than six credits of subject area and/or prerequisite coursework may be deficient to be formally admitted into a certification program. Students seeking certification in Secondary Education must have a B (3.00) average in the relevant content area courses.

Applicants to Certificate Programs

Those seeking admission to a certificate program must complete and submit the following online:

  1. A completed formal application. Apply online.
  2. A non-refundable application fee.
  3. All official college transcripts from each institution attended sent to the Office of Graduate Admission. Electronic transcripts are preferred and should be sent to
  4. A professional resume.

Non-Degree/ Visiting Students

Individuals seeking to take coursework outside of a degree or certificate program may be eligible to enroll as a visiting, non-degree student. Post-master's degree students seeking cross-endorsement or licensure who only need one to five courses (3 to 15 credits) may apply for non-degree student status. Students who are interested in taking courses for professional development and are not seeking a degree may also apply as visiting students. Non-degree, visiting students are not eligible for financial aid. Students may apply for this designation by using the following procedure:

  1. Contact the Office of Graduate Admission at to obtain the visiting student application.
  2. Submit all official college transcripts (undergraduate and graduate) to the Office of Graduate Admission.
  3. Meet with the Program Chair or Director for course advisement. Registration is online.

Enrollment as a non-matriculated candidate requires prior completion of a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university. Candidates in this status may take a total of six credits in certification programs or nine credits in non-certification programs before matriculation/full admission is required. 

Continuing Education (CEU) Credits

The School of Education and Human Development is an Approved Continuing Education Unit Provider with the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE). Within the school, the Counselor Education Department is authorized by the National Board of Certified Counselors to offer continuing education for licensed professional counselors and licensed marriage and family therapists. The Marriage and Family Therapy Department is authorized by the Connecticut Association for Marriage and Family Therapy to offer continuing education for marriage and family therapists.

Background Check and Fingerprinting

All students in school-based certification programs and registered in courses with fieldwork components must be fingerprinted and have a background check conducted in the districts(s) where they are placed. Multiple fingerprinting and background checks may be required if placed in different districts. Please contact the course instructor or program director for information.

Mandatory Immunizations

Connecticut State law requires each full-time or matriculated student to provide proof of immunity or screening against measles, mumps, rubella, varicella (chickenpox), meningitis and tuberculosis. Certain exemptions based on age and housing status apply. Matriculating students are defined as those enrolled in a degree seeking program or an in-person certificate program. More detailed information on the required immunizations and how to submit the required documentation is available online at Although compliance with University immunization requirements is not required to complete an application, you must provide proof of immunity/screening prior to course registration. Please note, students who are enrolling in 100% online programs with no intention of coming to campus may be exempt from providing immunization records. Please consult the Student Health Center to determine what documentation may be required as an online student. Questions may be directed to the Student Health Center: 203-254-4000 x2241 or email .

International Students

International applicants must provide an official course-by-course evaluation for all coursework completed outside the US. Evaluations must be completed by an approved evaluator (found on our website) recognized by NACES. All international students whose native language is not English must demonstrate proficiency in the English language by taking and submitting test scores from one of the following exams: TOEFL, IELTS, Duolingo, or PTE Academic. Scores must be sent directly from the testing agency. Fairfield University's ETS code is 3390. English language test score requirements can be viewed on our website. English language testing may be waived for those international students who have earned an undergraduate or graduate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. college or university. International applications must also provide a certificate of finances (evidence of adequate financial resources in U.S. dollars). A blank pdf affidavit of financial support document will be provided by the office of Global Fairfield to be completed, along with a list of acceptable financial certificates.  All supporting credentials must be submitted at least three months prior to the intended start date.

Students with Disabilities

Fairfield University is committed to providing qualified students with disabilities an equal opportunity to access the benefits, rights, and privileges of its services, programs, and activities in an accessible setting. Furthermore, in compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and Connecticut laws, the University provides reasonable accommodations to qualified students to reduce the impact of disabilities on academic functioning or upon other major life activities. It is important to note that the University will not alter the essential elements of its courses or programs.

If a student with a disability would like to be considered for accommodation(s), they must identify themselves to the Office of Accessibility, located in the Academic Commons on the main floor of the DiMenna-Nyselius Library, and complete the interactive request process for accommodations. Instructions for how to initiate the accommodation request process are located on our website. Students can also email to start the accommodation request process. This process should be done prior to the start of the academic semester and is strictly voluntary. However, if a student with a disability chooses not to self-identify and provide the necessary documentation to the Office of Accessibility, accommodations need not be provided and are not retroactive. All information concerning disabilities is confidential and will be shared only with a student's permission. For more information regarding accommodations and the registration process, please email, or call 203-254-4000 x2615.