Application Process


The ECU Graduate School oversees the centralized admissions process for all graduate programs except medicine and dentistry.  Criteria used in making decisions will vary according to the program you’re applying for, but all admission decisions include an evaluation of your potential for graduate-level work and the ability of a program to accommodate additional students.

Once an application is complete (online application submitted, fee paid and all supplemental documents received), it is forwarded by the Graduate School to the program for review and decision.  Typically, each graduate program conducting student reviewswill have an admissions committee that performs the review and provides a recommendation (accept/deny) to the Graduate School for final approval and processing.

The ECU Graduate School application process is completed entirely online. Admission team members are happy to assist you with application processing questions.  Once an application is submitted, you will be assigned to a member of the Graduate School Admission Team who will serve as your primary contact to assist you with admission processing questions or concerns.  You can also check the status of your application online 24×7 through our application Graduate Student Portal.

While the Graduate School governs the very latest date an application can be received each semester (referred to as the application cut-off date), the programs have the latitude to set more aggressive application deadlines and determine which semesters they wish to accept new applicants into based on their unique needs.  Consequently, it’s very important that you review the program specific application deadlines and requirements as posted to our Find Your Program website.  Additionally, international students often have earlier deadlines in order to allow enough time to secure a visa.

The Graduate School’s Cut-Off Deadline is the last day a paid application of any kind can be submitted for that term. This deadline is of primary concern to non-degree applicants and applicants to programs with rolling deadlines, not necessarily program specific application deadlines as mentioned above.

General Graduate School Application Cut-Off Deadlines:

1st & 11-week SummerMay 1
2nd SummerJune 15
FallAugust 1
SpringDecember 15

Remember, your program may have more aggressive application deadlines, so it’s important that you navigate to our Find Your Program website, search for your program of interest and review the application deadlines there.

Application Availability

Many of our applications will open on consistent dates. However, some specialty programs may have unique application open dates. Traditional applications for future terms will become available annually on the same day. Please review our Application Availability Information document (PDF) for more information.

Application Types

  1. Master’s – Application for Master’s degree programs
  2. Doctoral – Application for doctoral degree programs (PhD, EdD, DPT, DNP, AuD, and EdS)
  3. Certificate – Application for Certificate programs.  While most certificates are available to an applicant with an earned bachelor’s degree, some certificates require master’s degree program enrollment or completion for admission. Review the requirements for your desired certificate prior to applying.
  4. Non-Degree – Application for individuals who would like to take graduate-level courses without committing to a certificate or degree-program.  Non-degree applicants include visiting students, individuals taking courses for personal/professional enrichment, or individuals taking prerequisite course work for later application to an advanced degree program. At ECU, there are two categories of non-degree applications that individuals can apply to:
    1. Graduate Non-Degree The Graduate Non-Degree application process is managed by the Graduate School.  Applicants complete the online application and must submit an official transcript showing an awarded bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited institution.  Standardized exams are not required for most non-degree applicants.  Some specialty track Non-Degree application instances require more information as part of the application process and in these instances, the additional requirements are embedded within each application.  Financial aid is not available for non-degree students, regardless of non-degree application type. Admission as a non-degree student does not guarantee enrollment/registration eligibility. Not all programs allow non-degree students in their graduate courses – the College of Business, College of Nursing, and the Department of Communication Sciences & Disorders are examples of programs with strict requirements for non-degree enrollment. Students interested in taking a course as a non-degree student should contact the program or department that houses that course. Completing courses as a non-degree student offers no assurance that a student will be accepted into a graduate program at some future date. If accepted into a program at a future date, no more than nine non-degree credits may be counted towards a degree or certificate program, and then, only by consent of the student’s graduate advisory committee and department chair.
    2. UG Post-Baccalaureate Teacher Licensure The Undergraduate Admissions Office manages applications for individuals wishing to take post-baccalaureate courses for the specific purpose of preparing for the teacher licensure credential without pursuing an advanced degree.  For more information about the alternative licensure track and application process, visit the ECU Undergraduate Admissions website. You can also contact the Undergraduate Admission Office directly at 252-328-6640 or to speak to a representative.
  5. Readmit
    The Readmit application is used in the following situations:

    1. You were admitted to the Graduate School, began taking courses, and then took at least a Fall or Spring term off. The Readmit application can be used if you have been away from the University for less than three years.

Application Fee

You are required to submit a $75 non-refundable application fee electronically, using either a debit or credit card only, prior to submission of your application form.. ECU also offers limited application fee waiver scenarios that include:

  • Full-time ECU employees
  • McNair Scholars
  • Fulbright Graduate Scholars
  • Applicants to the Department of Defense Civilian Cohort program
  • Indiana State University PhD Consortium program
  • Previous applicants re-applying to the same program will be eligible for a fee waiver if any of the following criteria are met:
    • You were previously admitted to a program and enrolled, but life happened, and you’ve been on a leave of absence for a period less than one year.
    • You submitted an application within the last year and paid the application fee but did not receive an admission decision due to program capacity being met.
  • Additionally, the Graduate School allocates up to 10 application fee waivers for highly competitive international applicants with high financial need. International applicants who believe they fit this criterion should contact the Graduate School for more information.

To request a fee waiver, you must complete an application form to 99% and answer ‘Yes’ to the qualifying question within the Application Fee & Waiver Scenarios section of the application. The application will then provide more specific directions to request the appropriate fee waiver.

Official Transcripts

Official transcripts are required for all earned post-secondary degrees and all post-secondary course work completed within 5 years of the date of graduate application. Additional transcripts are required for transfer credits in excess of 50% of the credits required for a post-secondary degree. Post-secondary degrees and courses work includes all educational work completed at the bachelor’s level or higher.

A course-by-course evaluation of official foreign transcripts is required of all international applicants. Official transcripts are required from all foreign institutions attended unless a course-by-course evaluation of the transcript from a NACES accredited agency is submitted.  We accepted evaluations from agencies that are members of NACES. We have online portals for electronic receipt of the completed evaluation from the following agencies:


ECE (Education Credential Evaluations) and SpanTran are not recommended for 3 year Bologna degrees

SpanTran has a tailored application for ECU. Please request evaluations using this application link – SpanTran Pathways East Carolina University.

Additional Required Application Supplemental Items

While the Graduate School requires the submission of the online application, payment of the application fee and official transcripts as part of the application process, some programs will require additional documents. Examples include:

Graduate Entrance Exam

Some programs require the submission of a graduate entrance exam score (GRE, MAT, GMAT or MCAT) as part of their admission review process. See Preparing to Apply for additional details.

Some programs require the GRE. ETS provides a GRE Fee Reduction Program for individuals with demonstrated financial need and for national programs supporting underrepresented groups. Those who receive a fee voucher also receive free access to some test preparation materials.

Letters of Reference

Most graduate programs at ECU require recommendation letters. Reference providers must submit their letters electronically. Applicants will enter the name and email address of their recommender(s) and an automatic communication will be emailed to them to complete a form and upload their letter of reference.

When gathering letters of recommendation, approach people who can provide a strong, personal letter that focuses on your academic and intellectual abilities. Comments on your positive character traits and professional experience, while helpful, are not as relevant as comments on your ability to succeed academically.

Statement of Purpose

The Statement of Purpose is an essay describing your academic interests and how you would intend to pursue them in the graduate program at ECU. This writing sample is a very important part of your application and is given considerable weight by most graduate programs. Be sure to state your academic interests clearly and include reasons why ECU is the best place for you to pursue your graduate education.

You will be able to upload your Statement of Purpose online after after submitting your application by logging in to your Graduate Student Portal and clicking Upload Supplemental Documents. . Do not submit a paper copy or e-mail your Statement of Purpose to the Admissions Office, as it will not be used toward your application.


The Resume or Curriculum Vita is a summary listing of your academic and relevant work background. Submit your resume online when completing the initial application or following the initial submission by logging in to the Self Service Center. Do not submit a paper copy or e-mail your resume to the Admissions Office as it will not be used toward your application.


The program may require current teaching or nursing licensure for admission. You will have the ability to upload a copy of your license when submitting the initial online application or following submission by logging in to your Graduate Student Portal..

Application Requirements Checklist Key

When you view your checklist online or receive automated emails regarding the status of your application, any item that does not have “received” beside it is an application item that is still needed by our office. The list below gives a description of the various checklist items that may be applicable to your application instance. This list is for reference only. All items listed are not necessarily required for every program.

Checklist ItemsDescription
Campus Safety ReviewDean of Students Office will need to review your application before the Graduate School can move forward. Once you are reviewed this item will be updated.
$75 Application FeeApplication fee
Professional LicenseProof of licensure in your field required for some applications.
Statement of PurposeThis refers to a Statement of Purpose or Intent
Writing SampleThis may also refer to a Statement of Purpose or Intent
Letters of Recommendation required by some programs
Official College
The required college transcripts are listed here.
Final College TranscriptThis is used to record receipt of a transcript showing that your undergraduate degree was awarded. For Graduate School use only.
Graduate Record ExamRefers to receipt of official scores for the GRE
Miller Analogies TestRefers to receipt of official scores for the MAT
Graduate Management
Admissions Test
Refers to receipt of official scores for the GMAT
ResumeThis refers to a requirement to submit a resume
Supplemental ApplicationThis is a separate application required by your program. Please visit the program website for information.
Unofficial DocumentsUnofficial documents are available for submission. If you have unofficial test scores, transcripts, etc. you may upload your unofficial documents.
PortfolioThis refers to a requirement to submit a portfolio.

Note: When a program offers multiple test options for the test score requirement, all test options will be listed until official scores are received by the Graduate School. The additional test options must be removed from your application requirements manually in our office, so please allow several days for the unused options to be removed.

GPA Calculations

The Graduate School provides two GPA calculations to programs for use during their application review.

  • Undergraduate GPA – The GPA from your degree granting institution. If you took less than 60 semester hours from your degree granting institution, we will use hours from previous transcripts to calculate a GPA.
  • Post-bac GPA – Cumulative GPA of courses taken after the first earned bachelor’s degree. This GPA is calculated if the applicant has 18 or more semester hours of post-bac coursework.

Applying to Multiple Programs

All Graduate applications at ECU have a $75 processing fee.  While we allow you to apply to more than one program, all applications instances at ECU are customized to meet the needs of each specific program and are not interchangeable between programs. After you’ve submitted the first application and paid the application fee, you must return to the online application site and, using your same UserID and password, complete a separate application for the additional program you’d like to apply to. Once you submit the second application, you will be prompted to pay another application fee.  Transcripts and other supplemental required documents received on your behalf that are common requirements between multiple programs may be recycled for use upon request – just contact your assigned application processor for assistance.

The Graduate School admissions team and your program of interest are here to help guide you through the admissions process, so please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.