Essay Requirements For Ecu

Admission and Readmission

East Carolina University is an equal educational opportunity institution. In keeping with this policy, the university makes no distinction in the admission of students or in any other of its activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, or disability.

Application for graduate degree programs include a completed application form, official transcripts, letters of recommendation, official standardized test score reports, a written statement of purpose, and a nonrefundable application fee. Official transcripts are required from all undergraduate, graduate, professional and foreign institutions that you have attended even if it was only for a single course or college credit awarded while you were in high school.

Prospective students may apply simultaneously for more than one graduate degree program, but a separate application is required for each degree program. An electronic application may be completed and submitted at the Graduate School Web site, Any transcripts and test scores submitted will be used towards both applications; duplicates are not needed. Further information is available by telephoning the Graduate School at 252-328-6012.

Any individual applying or enrolled in the Graduate School must promptly notify the dean of the Graduate School in writing if any of the following occurs: any criminal charge; any disposition of a criminal charge; any type of military discharge other than honorable discharge; or any school, college, or university disciplinary action against the student. Failure to report any of the above actions is grounds for denial or withdrawal of admission to ECU as well as dismissal after enrollment.

The dates below are the final dates an application and fee can be submitted to the Graduate School for specified terms. Students are encouraged to inquire about individual programs as early as possible since some programs have early deadlines, admit only once per year, or review applications only at fixed times during the year. Early application is encouraged, particularly if application for an assistantship is contemplated. The completed application packet must be received in the Graduate School by program-defined deadlines to insure that the application is given full consideration. Late applicants cannot be assured their application will be processed in time for the desired session of enrollment.

FallAugust 15First SummerMay 5
SpringDecember 20Second SummerJune 15

Master’s degree candidates planning to enroll in the fall who wish to be considered for out-of-state tuition waivers must submit applications by February 1. If applications are received after that date, waivers will be considered only as funds are available. Some programs have earlier deadlines. You should consult for earlier deadlines.

Admission to a Graduate Degree Program

The university seeks to admit graduate students who show evidence of being able to succeed in and benefit from academic programs of the rigor offered. To qualify for admission to a graduate degree or certificate program (or as non-degree), an applicant must have a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited four-year institution. Admissions decisions are based on consideration of undergraduate academic record, graduate record if applicable, admission test scores, written statement of purpose, and letters of recommendation. Each individual graduate program decides on the admissibility of its students. Some programs may recommend admission by exception for a limited number of students who do not qualify for regular admission, but have other offsetting strengths. Students who are uncertain about the strength of their application, are advised to consult with the program director about their admissibility.

Individuals whose baccalaureate degree is more than ten years old and who have extensive professional experience related to the intended program of study may be eligible to seek admission through the professional admissions policy upon recommendation of the graduate program director. Interested applicants should consult with the program director of the degree program for more information.

Early contact with your program of interest can be helpful in preparing your application. Admissions criteria and required supplementary application materials vary by individual programs.

Application Process

Applicants must submit:
  • A completed online application with nonrefundable application fee (
  • Official score reports from a standardized graduate admission exam sent directly to the Graduate School from the testing agencies. (ECU’s GRE code is 5180 and MAT code is 1354.) Examinations must have been taken within the past five years. Test scores are not required for applications to the MFA program, most certificate programs, nondegree applications, or students seeking admission under the professional admission policy.
  • Official transcripts from all undergraduate, graduate, professional and foreign institutions that you have attended even if it was only for a single course or college credit awarded while you were in high school.
  • Three letters of reference from persons who can attest to academic competency or ability to do graduate work, if required by the program.
  • A completed Statement of Purpose essay if required by the program.
  • Supplemental application and material if required by the intended program of study. Please contact the program director to learn of any additional application requirements, such as auditions, interviews, portfolios, narratives, etc.

The general test of the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) is accepted by all master's and doctoral programs with the exception of the College of Business. The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is required for the graduate programs in accounting and business administration.

The general test of the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) or the Miller Analogies Test (MAT) is accepted by all College of Education degree programs.

Many programs do not require entrance exam scores for holders of the master’s degree or more advanced degrees. Please check with the graduate program director for more information.

The master of music degree with a major in education and all MAEd programs except adult education require North Carolina Teaching Licensure for admission.

Applicants are admitted to degree and certificate programs only upon the issuance of a formal letter of admission by the Graduate School. Admission decisions are not made until the application portfolio is complete.

Requirements for admission to the summer session terms are the same as those for regular semesters of the academic year. However, some programs of study cannot be initiated in the summer session.

Students wishing to enroll in distance education courses must be admitted to the university as a degree or nondegree student. Requirements for admission are the same as those for students enrolling on the main campus.

A graduate student in good standing at another institution may apply as a nondegree seeking student to take a specific graduate course or courses. If the student is enrolled at one of the sister UNC schools, they may use the inter-institutional system for application and registration and no transcripts are required.

Admission to Certificate Programs

The admissions requirements for graduate certificate programs vary by program. Some certificate programs require that the applicant be enrolled in a degree program while other certificate programs are designed for any person holding a baccalaureate degree. Credit earned while enrolled in a graduate certificate program may be transferred into a degree program with the approval of the department offering the degree program.

Nondegree admissions is an enrollment category in which the student is not accepted into a specific degree or certificate program but is approved to take courses that have no catalog restrictions. This is intended for applicants interested in taking one or more courses at ECU, but not necessarily interested in obtaining an ECU degree or certificate at the time of application. It may be used by students matriculated at another institution who wish to enroll as visiting students, individuals wanting to take courses for personal/professional enrichment, and individuals wanting to take prerequisite course work for later application to a degree program.

To apply for nondegree enrollment, prospective students must submit an online nondegree graduate application at An official transcript or other document showing an earned degree from a regionally accredited institution is required. A nonrefundable application fee is required.
  1. A maximum of 9 semester hours of course work taken as a nondegree student may apply towards a masters or doctoral degree.
  2. Nondegree students are not eligible to take graduate courses in all programs. Nondegree students should seek the permission of the graduate director in the department offering the course(s) prior to attempting to apply.
  3. Requests for degree credit for courses completed as a nondegree student are considered after admission to a graduate degree program. All nondegree course work accepted for degree credit must be approved by the chair of the student’s department and the dean of the Graduate School.
  4. Course work taken as a nondegree student carries with it no implication that the student will be admitted to a degree program in the Graduate School.
  5. Credit earned while enrolled in a graduate certificate program may be transferred into a degree program with the approval of the department offering the degree program.
  6. If credit for course work taken as a nondegree student is to be applied to a degree program, it must be satisfactorily incorporated within the applicable time frame for completion of all degree requirements.
  7. Nondegree students are expected to familiarize themselves with Graduate School policies and to seek further advice or clarification.

Early Admission to Graduate Studies

There are a variety of ways that ECU undergraduate students may be admitted to take graduate courses before completing the requirements for their undergraduate degree.

Integrated Bachelor's/Master's Program

This program allows ECU undergraduates with at least a 3.5 GPA to apply as juniors to an integrated bachelor’s/master’s program. Upon admission to the master’s degree program, the student can count up to 15 s.h. of graduate credit toward completion of the bachelor’s degree. Graduate-level course work taken during the senior year may be counted towards the graduate degree and also towards the undergraduate course work needed to complete the bachelor's degree. Students participating in an integrated program earn the bachelor’s degree prior to completion of the master’s degree. Students may apply for the BS Exercise Physiology/DPT Physical Therapy program. Other combinations will become available. Students interested in the integrated bachelor's/master's programs should discuss their goals with their advisors and the Graduate School.

Accelerated Master's Degree Programs

ECU currently offers two accelerated master’s degree programs. These programs result in the awarding of one degree – the master’s.

The College of Nursing offers an accelerated RN/MSN program for transfer students who have a RN license but do not have an undergraduate degree. Students completing the RN/MSN do not receive the BSN degree. Students in the RN/MSN option must complete all general education and cognate requirements prior to beginning undergraduate nursing courses. Separate application is made to the graduate program in the first or second semester of study in the RN/MSN option. Students enrolled in the RN/MSN option must maintain a 3.0 GPA in the 15 s.h. of undergraduate nursing courses to be eligible to continue in this option. Admission to the RN/MSN option does not guarantee entry into a specific graduate concentration.

The Department of Occupational Therapy offers an accelerated MS in occupational therapy program. Students interested in this program enroll as freshmen in health services management and follow the specified plan of study in the health service management curriculum to complete required core undergraduate courses and prerequisites for the MS degree. Students apply for Graduate School in their junior year and may be admitted upon completion of the undergraduate plan of study – a minimum of 108 credits. Students will be awarded the MS in occupational therapy at end of five years completing a total of 162 credit hours.

Six-hour Rule

ECU seniors who are within 6 s.h. or less of completion of all undergraduate degree requirements may apply for admission to graduate degree programs. If admitted prior to the semester or summer term during which 6 s.h. or less and any remaining requirements must be completed, they may enroll in 5000- or 6000-level courses applicable to graduate degree requirements. Graduate courses taken under the “six hour rule” do not double count toward completion of the undergraduate degree.

Successful applicants must complete all remaining undergraduate degree requirements during the semester or summer term to which they are admitted. Failure to fulfill this requirement will result in cancellation of admission to graduate degree study and enrollment in any 6000-level courses will be invalidated.

Undergraduate/Nondegree Graduate Dual Enrollment

Senior undergraduate students at East Carolina University who possess at least a 3.5 GPA in their last 30 semester hours of completed ECU course work are eligible to enroll in the Graduate School as a nondegree student and complete up to 9 semester hours of graduate-level course work. Graduate courses taken under the dual enrollment arrangement do not count toward completion of the undergraduate degree. These courses are eligible to count toward the graduate degree upon approval of the department offering the degree program. This form of dual enrollment is intended to give a student contemplating future admission to a graduate program the opportunity to take graduate courses while still an undergraduate. Permission must be obtained from the student’s undergraduate advisor, the chairman of the department offering the courses, and the Graduate School prior to admission into the Graduate School.

When a graduate student drops all courses in a semester in which he or she is enrolled the student must officially withdraw. Students must apply for official withdrawal to the Office of Registrar. Students withdrawing for medical/counseling reasons should complete the procedure within thirty days after the last class attendance. All other students withdrawing should complete this procedure immediately after the last class attendance. After classes have ended, no withdrawal, except in the case of severe medical emergency, can be filed. A graduate student withdrawing by the last day for graduate students to drop courses without grades as given in the Graduate School calendar will not receive grades for the semester. A graduate student withdrawing from school after the last day for graduate students to drop courses without grades shall receive a grade of F for all classes which he or she is failing at the time unless, in the judgment of the dean of the Graduate School, the failures were caused by circumstances beyond the student’s control.

Leave of Absence and Readmission

Students enrolled in graduate degree programs who take a leave of absence of one or more semesters (excluding summer terms) must notify their graduate program director and file a readmission application prior to returning. During a leave of absence students will not be permitted to utilize university resources.

Students who take a leave of less than three years may file an application for readmission online at There is no fee for readmission. Students wishing to change graduate degree or certificate programs after a leave of absence must submit a new admissions application.

Students who take a leave of absence of three or more years must submit a new complete application to be considered for admission to their former program or any other graduate program within the university. Students readmitted after a leave of absence of three years or more will be required to meet new or changed degree requirements. East Carolina University course credit will be evaluated for applicability towards degree requirements in accordance with established time limits.

For information on time limitations, view Residence and Graduate Requirements found at

Readmission Following Academic Dismissal

A student dismissed from the Graduate School for poor academic performance must wait one year (including summers) before being considered for readmission. A new complete application will be required for readmission. If the student is accepted for readmission in the same graduate program, credits earned while previously enrolled will be included for the purpose of determining academic standing and meeting graduation requirements. If the student is accepted into a different program, grades and credits earned in the previous degree program from which student was dismissed will not be included for the purpose of determining academic standing and graduation in the new program; however, the student’s transcript will show all courses and grades including those earned in the previous program.

For information on probation and dismissal, view the Probation and Termination Policy found at

Medical History/Immunizations

All newly admitted students must submit the report of medical history form which is available at Online/off campus/satellite students/ or students taking four credit hours or less are exempt from the immunization requirement. The exemption is automatic at the time of registration.

The chairperson of the department or director of graduate programs in which the candidate wishes to enroll will consult with the student concerning any deficiencies in his or her undergraduate program. Required make-ups may be removed at East Carolina University or at any other institution accredited by a regional accrediting organization.

Prerequisites are stated as integral parts of various programs, entrance requirements for degree programs, and sequential progression into subject matter. Students are not allowed to enroll in courses for which they have not met the prerequisites.

Program Modifications for Individual Students

It is important to note that published descriptions of college, school, or departmental graduate programs establish only minimum requirements. Every school or department possesses and reserves the right to require individual students to enroll in additional courses or perform additional tasks in order to meet school or departmental requirements for breadth and quality in the completion of graduate programs.

While such modifications are ordinarily made a matter of record at the beginning of a student’s program, schools and departments have the prerogative to make changes in a student’s program at any time prior to graduation.

If you want to get in, the first thing to look at is the acceptance rate. This tells you how competitive the school is and how serious their requirements are.

The acceptance rate at ECU is 69%. For every 100 applicants, 69 are admitted.

This means the school is moderately selective. The school expects you to meet their requirements for GPA and SAT/ACT scores, but they're more flexible than other schools. If you exceed their requirements, you have an excellent chance of getting in. But if you don't, you might be one of the unlucky minority that gets a rejection letter.

Many schools specify a minimum GPA requirement, but this is often just the bare minimum to submit an application without immediately getting rejected.

The GPA requirement that really matters is the GPA you need for a real chance of getting in. For this, we look at the school's average GPA for its current students.

The average GPA at ECU is 3.76.

(Most schools use a weighted GPA out of 4.0, though some report an unweighted GPA.

With a GPA of 3.76, ECU requires you to be above average in your high school class. You'll need at least a mix of A's and B's, with more A's than B's. You can compensate for a lower GPA with harder classes, like AP or IB classes. This will show that you're able to handle more difficult academics than the average high school student.

If you're currently a junior or senior, your GPA is hard to change in time for college applications. If your GPA is at or below the school average of 3.76, you'll need a higher SAT or ACT score to compensate. This will help you compete effectively against other applicants who have higher GPAs than you.

Each school has different requirements for standardized testing. Most schools require the SAT or ACT, and many also require SAT subject tests.

You must take either the SAT or ACT to submit an application to ECU. More importantly, you need to do well to have a strong application.

ECU SAT Requirements

Many schools say they have no SAT score cutoff, but the truth is that there is a hidden SAT requirement. This is based on the school's average score.

Average SAT: 1120 (Old: 1559)

The average SAT score composite at ECU is a 1120 on the 1600 SAT scale.

On the old 2400 SAT, this corresponds to an average SAT score of 1559.

This score makes ECU Competitive for SAT test scores.

ECU SAT Score Analysis (New 1600 SAT)

The 25th percentile New SAT score is 1050, and the 75th percentile New SAT score is 1200. In other words, a 1050 on the New SAT places you below average, while a 1200 will move you up to above average.

Here's the breakdown of new SAT scores by section:

SectionAverage25th Percentile75th Percentile

ECU SAT Score Analysis (Old 2400 SAT)

The 25th percentile Old SAT score is 1430, and the 75th percentile SAT score is 1670. In other words, a 1430 on the Old SAT places you below average, while a 1670 puts you well above average.

Here's the breakdown of old SAT scores by section:

SectionAverage25th Percentile75th Percentile

SAT Score Choice Policy

The Score Choice policy at your school is an important part of your testing strategy.

ECU has the Score Choice policy of "Highest Section."

This is also known as "superscoring." This means that you can choose which SAT tests you want to send to the school. Of all the scores they receive, your application readers will consider your highest section scores across all SAT test dates you submit.

Click below to learn more about how superscoring critically affects your test strategy.

How does superscoring change your test strategy? (Click to Learn)

For example, say you submit the following 3 test scores:

Test 17003001000
Test 23007001000
Test 3300300600

Even though the highest total you scored on any one test date was 1000, ECU will take your highest section score from all your test dates, then combine them to form your Superscore. You can raise your composite score from 1000 to 1400 in this example.

This is important for your testing strategy. Because you can choose which tests to send in, and ECU forms your Superscore, you can take the SAT as many times as you want, then submit only the tests that give you the highest Superscore. Your application readers will only see that one score.

Therefore, if your SAT superscore is currently below a 1120, we strongly recommend that you consider prepping for the SAT and retaking it. You have a very good chance of raising your score, which will significantly boost your chances of getting in.

Even better, because of the Superscore, you can focus all your energy on a single section at a time. If your Reading score is lower than your other sections, prep only for the Reading section, then take the SAT. Then focus on Math for the next test, and so on. This will surely give you the highest Superscore possible.

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ECU ACT Requirements

Just like for the SAT, ECU likely doesn't have a hard ACT cutoff, but if you score too low, your application will get tossed in the trash.

Average ACT: 23

The average ACT score at ECU is 23. This score makes ECU Moderately Competitive for ACT scores.

The 25th percentile ACT score is 20, and the 75th percentile ACT score is 24.

Even though ECU likely says they have no minimum ACT requirement, if you apply with a 20 or below, you'll have a harder time getting in, unless you have something else impressive in your application.

ACT Score Sending Policy

If you're taking the ACT as opposed to the SAT, you have a huge advantage in how you send scores, and this dramatically affects your testing strategy.

Here it is: when you send ACT scores to colleges, you have absolute control over which tests you send. You could take 10 tests, and only send your highest one. This is unlike the SAT, where many schools require you to send all your tests ever taken.

This means that you have more chances than you think to improve your ACT score. To try to aim for the school's ACT requirement of 23 and above, you should try to take the ACT as many times as you can. When you have the final score that you're happy with, you can then send only that score to all your schools.

ACT Superscore Policy

By and large, most colleges do not superscore the ACT. (Superscore means that the school takes your best section scores from all the test dates you submit, and then combines them into the best possible composite score). Thus, most schools will just take your highest ACT score from a single sitting.

We weren't able to find the school's exact ACT policy, which most likely means that it does not Superscore. Regardless, you can choose your single best ACT score to send in to ECU, so you should prep until you reach our recommended target ACT score of 23.

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Download our free guide on the top 5 strategies you must be using to improve your score. This guide was written by Harvard graduates and ACT perfect scorers. If you apply the strategies in this guide, you'll study smarter and make huge score improvements.

SAT/ACT Writing Section Requirements

Both the SAT and ACT have a Writing section that includes an essay.

ECU requires you to take the SAT/ACT Writing section. They'll use this as another factor in their admissions consideration.

SAT Subject Test Requirements

Schools vary in their SAT subject test requirements. Typically, selective schools tend to require them, while most schools in the country do not.

We did not find information that ECU requires SAT subject tests, and so most likely it does not. At least 6 months before applying, you should still doublecheck just to make sure, so you have enough time to take the test.

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