Preparing to Apply

The Graduate School at East Carolina University offers over 60 graduate certificate, 70 masters and several doctoral and professional degree programs.  Before you apply, you need to be sure that you’ve found the program that will meet your educational and future career goals, and you need to determine what type of student you intend to be. Please follow the Preparing to Apply steps 1–5 shared below to assist you with this process.

All application-support materials required by the Graduate School should be uploaded as digital files to the online application for admission. These may include statements of purpose, resumes/CVs, copies of various licenses, portfolios or even unofficial copies of transcripts. All graduate students, whether degree-seeking or non-degree, must have completed a minimum of a bachelor’s degree prior to beginning graduate courses (with the exception of pre-approved accelerated degree programs and ECU 6-hour rule students).

Application Availability
Applications for future terms are generally made available to the public 10-11 months prior to the program’s specific deadline.

Graduate certificate & degree seeking students

Applicants who wish to pursue a graduate level credential at ECU are considered “degree seeking” students from an admissions application perspective. This includes all applicants seeking a certificate, master’s, doctorate, or any professional degree.  The term “degree seeking” from the perspective of non-admission personnel may exclude certificate programs.

Non-degree seeking students

Admission to the “non-degree” category is limited primarily to 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:

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.

To qualify for admissions, you must have earned a baccalaureate degree or higher from a college or university recognized by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC ), Higher Learning Commission (HLC), Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) or an international university deemed to have equivalent credentials as determined by one of our pre-approved foreign institution evaluation servicers.

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 imbedded 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.

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.

In most cases, international students are not eligible for non-degree status.

STEP 1 – Select Your Program & Start Term

Before you apply

You need to be sure that you’ve found the program that will meet your educational and future career goals. You must then determine which semester you wish to start your graduate studies.  Some programs offer admission in every term available, while others do not.  If you’re uncertain about which term to select, seek guidance from the contacts for the program you’re applying to.

Make sure you pay attention to your programs application deadlines

Deadlines vary for domestic and international students, and also by program and department.  Admission for faculty, staff, and employees of ECU is subject to the same deadline requirements and department approval as all other applicants. We encourage applicants to review program websites and/or contact academic departments and programs for additional information.

A list of the programs and their application deadlines can be found on the Find Your Program page.

Make sure you understand your programs minimum requirements for admission.

All applicants are required to meet two sets of minimum requirements for admission consideration:  those of the Graduate School and those of the specific graduate program.  In some case’s those might align, whereas in other instances the program may establish stricter/more competitive requirements. In all instances, prospective students must have the approval of the appropriate program director or program head-reviewer to be recommended for admission.

ECU Graduate School’s minimum admission requirements include the necessity for applicants to have an earned bachelor’s degree or higher from a U.S. regionally accredited institution, or an equivalent degree from a foreign institution as qualified by one of our pre-approved foreign transcript evaluation servicers before starting at ECU.

Applicants must have a minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA of 2.70 or greater as calculated by the Graduate School for regular admission consideration. Programs may elect to review applications for candidates who do not meet this criterion for potential admission by exception status under the holistic review process, but are not required to do so.

Additionally, applicants whose native language is not English must demonstrate competency in written and spoken English. Competency may be demonstrated by presenting 1) a satisfactory score on the TOEFL exam, currently identified as a minimum total score of 78 with at least an 18 in each section; or 2) a satisfactory score on the IELTS exam, currently identified as a minimum score of 6.5; or 3) a satisfactory score on the PTE Academic exam, currently identified as a score of 65 with 60 or greater in each section; or 4) a satisfactory score on the Duolingo exam, currently identified as a minimum score of 115; or 5) documentation of having earned 18 or more credits with a GPA of 3.0 or better from a U.S. regionally accredited university; or 6) successful completion of all levels of ECU’s Language Academy program. Any waiver on language proficiency must be approved by the dean of the Graduate School. More information on the ECU Language Academy, including the ECULA application, is available on the ECULA website. Individual programs may have higher minimum requirements.

Graduate program requirements vary by program.

Please visit your selected graduate program’s website or contact the program to determine its minimum requirements, including whether they require an entrance exam (GRE/MAT/GMAT). Some programs allow new graduate students to take undergraduate courses to better prepare for graduate coursework. Please contact your program of interest to see if this would be an option or requirement.

STEP 2 – Create Your ECU Graduate School Application Account

Create an application account – ECU’s online application for admission is hosted by Campus Management.  Once you identify which type of degree program you’re interested in and you select the application instance associated with your program and term of entry, you’ll be required to create a user ID and password.  Once you’ve created your login credentials, you can start the application, save your work, and then return later to complete and submit the application – you don’t have to complete the whole application in one sitting. If you need refreshing on the types of applications offered, please refer to the Application Process page.

STEP 3 – Complete & Submit the Online Application

Online application – ECU requires all student candidates to submit a completed online application; paper copies are not available.  Start by filling out the online application.  You don’t have to complete the application in a single sitting.  You can stop and begin again at any time by simply saving your work.  In addition to educational information, you will be asked questions to determine your residency status, and questions pertaining to campus safety.  Once you’re satisfied that ALL information in your online application is correct, you should submit your application.  You do not have to have all your supplemental documentation attached in order to submit your application as it can be added later.  After you submit the application, you will receive an email with instructions on how to pay the $75 non-refundable application fee.  Special Note: only hit the cancel key in your application instance if you decide you no longer wish to complete the application and you want to cancel your application altogether for that program and for that term.

STEP 4 – Pay Your Application Fee(s)

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. The Payment Portal accepts Visa, Mastercard or Discover only. We must emphasize that the application fee cannot be refunded, so be certain you are submitting the correct application before paying the fee.

ECU does offer 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, applicants to the Indiana State University PhD Consortium program, applicants to one of our ECU and foreign institution 3+2 programs, and previous applicants applying to the same program, under specific scenarios. 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 information on the application fee waiver petition process. Detailed instructions on how to secure an application fee waiver will display in the online application if you answer yes to the qualifying question.

Step 5 – Supporting Materials

For most graduate programs, the items described below represent what is required for your application to be considered complete. However, most programs request additional supplementary materials such as a personal statement, Letters of recommendation, resume, thesis, portfolio, etc., to help them evaluate your application. Please be sure to check with your program area to be sure you’ve supplied all the necessary support materials.

Official transcripts

ECU requires official transcripts from all institutions from whom you’ve earned a post-secondary degree, regardless of when the degree was awarded, and for all post-secondary course work completed within 5 years of the date of application. Additional transcripts are required for transfer credits in excess of 50% of the credits required for a post-secondary degree.  An original transcript is always required – no faxes or email attachments are accepted.

Have your official transcript sent electronically through a secure transcript service such as Parchment, E-Script or National Student Clearinghouse to or mailed to the Graduate School at the following address:

ECU Graduate School
Ragsdale Hall, Suite 131
Mail Stop 570
Greenville, NC 27858-4353

If you attended East Carolina University, your ECU transcript will automatically be retrieved and sent to the Graduate School without fee in most instances. If a hold is found on your record, the transcript will not be automatically retrieved, and you will have to first remove the hold and then contact the Registrar’s Office to request your transcript be sent to the Graduate School and you’ll need to pay any associated fees. If any ECU coursework was taken before 1991, we cannot automatically retrieve a transcript for you. You will need to contact the Registrar to obtain a transcript. You will be notified via email about the status of your ECU transcript after your application is submitted.

Final official transcripts are required, so if your program’s application deadline comes before or close to your undergraduate graduation, go ahead and submit a current transcript and we will continue to process your application and make it available for program review.  However, if you’re admitted, please understand that a final official transcript that includes conferral of your degree must be received by the Graduate School for you to meet the conditions of your admission.

Entrance Exam Scores

Most master and doctoral programs require an official standardized test score (GRE, MAT or GMAT) and some certificate programs require a test score as well. See your program’s website for the test required and any score minimums they may recommend. Test scores must come from the testing service; score printouts are not accepted.  Note: When a program offers multiple test options for the test score requirement, all test options will be listed under the requirement section of the application until official scores are received by the Graduate School. The other test options are then removed manually from your application record by an admissions team member in the Graduate School.

East Carolina University’s codes: GRE (5180), MAT (1354), GMAT-MSA (HF3-LV-64), GMAT-MBA (HF3-LV-16)

Entrance Exam Waivers

Some programs offer applicants an opportunity to waive the entrance examination requirement based on specific scenario’s, including but not limited to, professional track waivers.  Applicants with significant work experience (defined as 5+ years) in a field related to their program of study may qualify.  Applicants who have already earned a master’s degree or higher may also be eligible for a waiver.  If you’re interested in exploring the possibility of a GRE/MAT/GMAT waiver, please contact your graduate program director for additional information.  Please note that GRE waivers are not automatically applied to an applicant record.  If a program director advocates for a GRE waiver, then the program director must send an official communication requesting the waiver directly to the Graduate Admissions Office on behalf of the applicant.  Official communication includes a signed letter or memo on departmental letterhead or an email from the program director initiated from their ECU assigned email account.

Foreign transcript evaluation (International applicants only) – An official course by course credential evaluation of all foreign transcripts indicating that, at minimum, the US equivalent of a bachelor’s degree has been awarded by an accredited college or university is required. We accept evaluations by World Education Services (WES), Transcript Research, Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE), International Education Evaluations, Inc. (IEE), and SPANTRAN. (If using SPANTRAN please select the tailored application for ECU through this link SpanTran Pathways – East Carolina University.)

Other required supplemental documents – programs often require additional documentation beyond transcripts and entrance exam scores for admission consideration, so double check what those are by reviewing the “Find your program” website and make sure you get those documents submitted by their advertised deadline.  Examples include personal statement, resume, letters of recommendation, etc.  You can also see what documents are required and their status of receipt by logging into your application Self-Service Center and clicking the “summary” button.  Remember, applications aren’t sent to the programs for review until all items that are required are received.

International applicants will have additional requirements for admission consideration and may review those on the Internal Student page.

Ready to Apply?

Start Application

How to submit multiple applications

ECU allows you to apply to more than one program, but because application instances are customized to each program and are not interchangeable, each application must be submitted individually with a separate application fee.

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 any additional programs you’d like to apply to. Once you submit the second (or more) application(s), you will be prompted to pay another application fee.  Transcripts and other required documents received on your behalf that are common application requirements between multiple programs (e.g., transcripts, GRE scores, LOR’s, etc.) may be recycled for use upon request – just contact your assigned application processor for assistance.

Please be sure to read all application instructions and requirements associated with your program carefully to ensure a complete application and to avoid mistakes that may delay the consideration of your application.

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.