Ph.D. in Educational Studies

Admissions Process


The Office of Graduate Admissions must receive all application items no later than the following date:

Hybrid and Residential:                         January 31


The doctoral program seeks to admit applicants whose background clearly demonstrate scholarly aptitude, a commitment to the historic Christian faith, personal character and integrity, a service-oriented motivation toward endeavors of educational ministry and a deepening relationship with God. Biola University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, ethnic group identification, gender, age or physical disability.


As in many graduate programs, enrollment is limited. In order to be admitted to full graduate standing, the applicant must comply with the following:

  • Have completed at least three years of full-time vocational experience in educational ministry with evidence of leadership gifts and abilities.

  • Have earned a Masters degree in Christian or Religious Education (MACE or MRE) or its equivalent from an accredited educational institution. Equivalence is defined as an earned master's degree of 36 semester units of graduate study in areas related to the Christian education ministry, including 18 units of graduate Bible and theology.

  • At least one course in each of the following areas should have been completed: Philosophy or History of Christian Education, Human Development or Educational Psychology, Educational Administration or Leadership, Interpersonal Communication/Group Dynamics or Counseling, Curriculum Design and/or Methods of Teaching. A minimum GPA of 3.25 on a 4.0 scale in all previous graduate work is required. Students whose formal educational preparation does not include all of the required prerequisite coursework must complete them prior to enrollment.

  • Applicants may be asked to be interviewed by the program director or the Doctoral Program committee as a requirement for admission. Note: Official documents presented for admission or evaluation become part of the student's academic file and normally cannot be returned or copied for distribution.

Since enrollment for both degree programs is limited and admission is on a selective basis, applications should be made as early as possible. Applications submitted after the deadline will usually be considered for the following year (residential program) or the next cohort (hybrid program).

Financial scholarship and dissertation fellowship applications are available in the Doctoral Program office (application deadline: April 1). Full-time, residential doctoral students are given priority for awards.


  • Apply Online. An application fee of $65 (non-refundable) must accompany the application.
  • Request official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended. If enrolled at the time application is filed, be sure to request transcripts of work finished to date and final transcripts upon completion of your course of study. Transcripts must be official, that is, mailed directly from your college or university in a sealed envelope or sent electronically through the National Student Clearinghouse. Send to:  Biola University Office of Graduate Admissions, 13800 Biola Avenue, La Mirada, CA  90639. Final approval for admission is contingent on receiving an official transcript.

  • For U.S. applicants, submit scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) (expected verbal score of 153 and analytic writing score of 4.5).

  • International applicants may either submit a GRE score, TOEFL score, or IELTS score. Preference is given to applicants who score at least 100 on the TOEFL iBT or 7.5 on the IELTS.

  • Present evidence of potential for original academic research at the doctoral level by submitting a sample of scholarly writing (with citations and bibliography), preferably related to education of at least 10 pages.

  • Submit six references. Three academic, one employer, one character, and one pastoral reference, which must be submitted by a pastor on staff at your current church. You can access online reference forms through your application account here.
  • Ph.D. applicants only. Students applying for the hybrid residential Ph.D. program also need to fill out and send in the Hybrid Application supplement form along with a Doctoral Mentor Letter filled out by a prospective student's faculty mentor.

  • Track your application status at any time here. You do not have to complete the application in one sitting. You can complete a portion and finish at a later time. Your information will be saved. You will be asked to create a user name and a password when you apply to guarantee confidentiality and you will receive a personalized identification number.


It is important to have all prerequisites addressed prior to enrollment in the doctoral programs. There are a variety of ways to address these prerequisite courses: Prerequisites in Biblical and Theological studies. 

Students are expected to have taken 18 units of graduate level Biblical and/or Theological studies before entering the doctoral programs. If you need to take some coursework in this area, there are three options available:

  • ITS Courses through Talbot School of Theology
    • A student can take up to 9 units of Biblical/Theological coursework through the Independent Theological Studies course offerings at Talbot. These independent studies utilize tapes, readings, exams, and research projects to cover the content of a graduate level course. Students need to secure approval from the doctoral program director for coursework from this program before registering for it.
  • Regular Biblical/Theological coursework from Talbot or another accredited graduate program with prior approval, these courses can count toward the student's prerequisite work.

  • Correspondence/Distance Education Options
    • Several accredited graduate schools and seminaries are now offering selected Biblical and Theological courses through distance education. With prior approval, these courses can count toward the student's prerequisite work.
  • Prerequisites in Christian Education Coursework
    • After a review of the applicant’s transcripts, any prerequisites in the “Christian education” area will be identified by the doctoral programs director.  Some may need to be addressed prior to entry into the program by taking graduate level courses at an accredited institution, either locally or through distance education.  In other cases it may be possible to use up to two of the doctoral electives to cover the needed coursework.  The program director will let you know what is possible in your case.  In cases where courses are to be taken at other institutions, when the coursework is completed, official transcripts should be sent to the doctoral program office to verify completion and an acceptable grade.


Special instructions are required of Divorced/Separated/Remarried applicants and those with a criminal conviction other than traffic violations. These issues may not disqualify you, however, they have a significant effect on your life and ministry.


If English is not your native language, you are required to display English proficiency before being admitted into the graduate programs at Biola University. You are required to submit standardized test scores (TOEFL or IELTS) for application to Biola. Preference in admission will be given to those with an overall score of at least 100 on the TOEFL iBT or 7.5 on the IELTS.

Preferred Score: TOEFL 100 iBT or IELTS 7.5


You will be assigned to an admissions counselor who will be able to answer any questions you have concerning admissions, financial aid, or housing. Upon completion of your file and review by committee, you will be notified by mail and email of an admissions decision.

Biola University
13800 Biola Ave. La Mirada, CA 90639