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Adult, Professional, and Community Education (Doctoral)

Student working in a lab

The degree completion rate for the adult, professional and community education (APCE) program is 60% higher than the national average. The adult education faculty is internationally recognized for scholarship and leadership. The program cultivates a supportive and diverse learning community, with faculty working together on community engagement projects, research, and presentations and publishing in local, national, and international venues.

Students develop skills in research and practice that help adults in organizations and communities improve their lives and work.


 Contact The Graduate College for general questions about getting started with your application, funding your degree, and more.
If you have program-specific questions after reviewing the program details, we encourage you contact the following:

Graduate Advisor
Dr. Lisa Baumgartner
Academic Services Building South (ASBS), Room 306

Contact for academic program-related issues

Advisor Support
Kassi Redwine
Academic Services Building South (ASBS), Room 306

Contact for administrative support

“The Ph.D. program at Texas State provided a supportive and challenging academic atmosphere with freedom to explore what interested me most. Earning a doctorate opened invigorating career opportunities that make this one of the most exciting periods of my professional life.ˮ

– Nancy Thompson, Ph.D. ’06 Bexar Area Agency on Aging

Course Work

Students are accepted into the APCE Ph.D. program once a year, entering as a cohort in the fall. Classes are offered in the evenings to better serve working professionals. 

The 63-hour curriculum includes 24 hours of major emphasis courses, 18 hours of research courses, nine hours of electives, and a minimum of 12 hours of dissertation. Dissertation topics reflect the wide range of student practice settings and interests as well as the expertise of faculty.

Degree Course Work Dissertation Total Hours
Ph.D. 51 hours 12 hours 63 hours
Education building

Students and alumni regularly receive national and international awards for their practice and research. They teach and hold positions of leadership in government, business, higher education and community organizations.

Program Mission

The program educates scholar-practitioners who work in the broad array of settings served by the field of adult education. Graduates of the program are educational leaders who:

  • act as change agents
  • foster student-centered, lifelong learning communities
  • recognize and build on the diverse assets of colleagues and students
  • thoughtfully use technology as a tool for communication, research, teaching, and learning
  • make ethical and moral decisions and articulate the values and principles that guide them
  • inform theory with practice and practice with theory
  • continuously learn and support the continuous learning of others

Visit program website ›

Program Faculty

The APCE faculty research areas include:

  • adult learning
  • adult development
  • organizational learning and development
  • adults in higher education
  • second language learning
  • research capacity building
  • gender, race, ethnicity, and social class
  • adult international education

They publish in top journals in our field including Adult Education Quarterly, Journal of Transformative Education, Human Resource Development International, Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, Human Resource Development Quarterly, Adult Learning, International Journal of Lifelong Education, Journal of Continuing Higher Education, and Journal of Workplace Learning.

Meet our faculty ›

Career Options

Graduates from the APCE program design, deliver, manage and evaluate adult learning in many settings, including not-for-profit organizations, government agencies, post-secondary education, healthcare organizations, business, adult basic education and ESL programs, international organizations, and the military. They work as faculty, program coordinators, directors, scholars, administrators, executives, researchers, planners, learning specialists, and organizational developers.

Application Process

Step 1

Review Requirements

Application Deadlines

Deadlines U.S. Citizen International
Fall February 1 February 1
Spring No Admission No Admission
Summer I No Admission No Admission
Summer II No Admission No Admission

Application Deadline
This program has a firm deadline.

Funding Information
For scholarship, fellowship or assistantship consideration, applications must be completed by the deadline above.

Decision Timeline
This program reviews applications on a firm basis.

Application Requirements

The items required for admission consideration are listed below. Additional information for applicants with international credentials can be found on our international web pages.


  Review important information about the online application.

Application Fee

  • $55 nonrefundable application fee
  • $90 nonrefundable application fee for applications with international credentials

  Review important information about application fees.

Transcripts & GPA

  • baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited university
  • master's degree from a regionally accredited university in a field related to the proposed course of study
  • a copy of an official transcript from each institution where course credit was granted
  • minimum 3.5 GPA in all completed graduate course work

  Review important information about transcripts. Official transcripts, sent directly from your institution, will be required if admission is granted. 

GRE Scores

  • GRE not required

Documents & Other Requirements

  • interview with program faculty
  • resume/CV
  • statement of purpose (approximately 500 words) describing your background and professional goals and including your rationale for pursuing a doctoral degree in adult, professional, and community education
  • three forms of recommendation addressing professional and academic background. References are required to use the program's Professional Reference Evaluation form and are also strongly encouraged to attach a recommendation letter to the form.

  Review important information about documents.


Applicants are required to submit TOEFL, PTE, or IELTS scores that meet the minimum program requirements below unless they have earned a bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or the equivalent from a country on our exempt countries list.

  • official TOEFL iBT scores required with a 78 overall and minimum individual module scores of
    • 19 listening
    • 19 reading
    • 19 speaking
    • 18 writing
  • official PTE scores required with a 52 overall
  • official IELTS (academic) scores required with a 6.5 overall and
    • minimum individual module scores of 6.0

  This program does not offer admission if the scores above are not met.

  Review important information about official test scores.