Alternative Application Process

For Applicants without a Bachelor’s Degree

At Antioch University New England, students may qualify for graduate study through a combination of undergraduate study and learning acquired through sustained professional work. In exceptional cases, we admit adults who have not completed their undergraduate degrees but have a minimum of two years of transcripted, accredited college work plus significant educational and professional training. Applicants must demonstrate that they have the skills, knowledge, and experience to do graduate-level work.

Alternative Admissions is a three-stage process that takes approximately three months to complete. The Alternative Admissions timeline is independent of standard application deadlines. Alternative Admissions applications are accepted for all entry points, and each entry point has a timeline. Please contact the Office of Admissions for the schedule of deadlines for the current year.

Antioch University New England does not award undergraduate baccalaureate degrees. The Alternative Admissions process does not apply to doctoral programs or to school principal certification programs..

Admissions Criteria

Alternative Admissions applicants must demonstrate that they meet the following criteria and have acquired the knowledge and skills needed to successfully pursue graduate-level work.

  1. A minimum of two years of undergraduate credit (60 semester hours) from an accredited institution. (These credits need to be formal coursework rather than life experience. Non-credit study is supplemental. Any graduate courses taken prior to matriculation by the Alternative Admissions applicant will be considered as a part of their portfolio for admission and cannot be used toward the master’s degree)
  2. Approximately five years of sustained professional
    experience in areas closely related to the applicant’s field of proposed
    graduate study
  3. Knowledge of the professional field of proposed graduate study
  4. The ability to think critically
  5. Effective oral and written communication skills
  6. Research skills and the ability to use appropriate
    learning resources
  7. Breadth and depth of knowledge in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences outside the applicant’s professional field

In addition to satisfying the above Alternative Admission requirements, Antioch University New England assesses Alternative Admissions applicants according to the same criteria used in the regular admission process for entering a master’s degree program.

  1. Does the applicant have the academic background and appropriate work experience to have prepared her or him for graduate study?
  2. Does the program to which the applicant is applying meet her or his educational and professional goals?
  3. Does the applicant have the interpersonal skills to be successful in the Antioch University New England environment and in the chosen professional field?

NOTE: Elementary Education students who seek certification must have the equivalent of an academic major, which is defined as 30 credits in an academic discipline. It is also strongly recommended that the applicant check certification requirements with the Department of Education in the state(s) where she or he wishes to teach.

Prospective Alternative Admissions applicants must contact an admissions counselor to determine their eligibility. Successful completion of each stage of the process is necessary to advance to the next stage.



Note: Some programs have early decision deadlines. Please contact the Office of Admissions for further information.


Stage I February 15 Application due with $50 fee
Stage II April 1 Portfolio due with $150 portfolio assessment fee
Stage III April 15 Interview and admissions decision


Stage I May 1 Application due with $50 fee
Stage II June 15 Portfolio due with $150 portfolio assessment fee
Stage III July 1 Interview and admissions decision


Stage I October 1 Application due with $50 fee
Stage II November 15 Portfolio due with $150 portfolio assessment fee
Stage III December 1 Interview and admissions decision


Stage I


Complete and submit the master’s application form with the non-refundable $50 application fee, as well as a personal essay, a comprehensive resumé, four letters of reference, and official transcripts by the Stage I deadline. All submitted materials become the property of Antioch University New England. Please keep copies for your own files.

Personal Essay

The personal statement should be typed, double-spaced, and between five and six pages in length. In writing the Personal Essay, the Alternative Admissions applicant must address the following:

  1. What have been your most significant learning experiences? Highlight important events in your personal and professional life that have had an impact on your career, life choices, and decisions.
  2. What is your learning style, and how do you go about solving problems?
  3. Explain why you have chosen to pursue graduate study at this time instead of completing undergraduate study, and why you have chosen Antioch University New England.
  4. What do you hope to get from the experience, professionally and personally?
  5. What will you contribute to Antioch University New England and your field?

Comprehensive Resumé

The Comprehensive Resumé serves to provide a more in-depth picture of your work and life experiences than would appear on a resumé for work purposes. In addition to listing the areas of education, employment, volunteer work, travel experiences, hobbies, and interests, please include evaluative comments for each experience.

The purpose of evaluative comments is to tell the story behind the story. These comments should explain growth, learning, and how one experience led to another. It is helpful to put these evaluative comments in italics. The resumé should be typed, double-spaced, and between five and six pages in length.

Recommendation Letters

A minimum of four recommendation letters is required. Please use the forms located in the back of the master’s viewbook. Additional forms may be obtained from the Office of Admissions or downloaded from our website. Letters may be submitted directly to the Office of Admissions.

Documentation of All Academic Work

  • Official Transcripts are required from all institutions you have attended. An original transcript
    should represent each institution attended.
  • Copies (not originals) of all certificates of completion for not-for-credit workshops, institutes,
    etc. may be submitted to the Office of Admissions as part of the application.
  • If you have taken any college-level examinations (CLEP), please submit the scores to the Office of


Stage II

Portfolio Development

Attendance at the Portfolio Workshop for applicants who have successfully completed Stage I is strongly recommended. The workshop is an opportunity for Alternative Admissions candidates from all programs to come together. Admissions counselors will answer any questions about the process, talk about the two position papers, and discuss the final portfolio. Sample portfolios will be available for review. Please contact the Office of Admissions for scheduled Portfolio Workshop dates.

Two complete copies of the portfolio with the $150 non-refundable review and advisement fee are due by the Stage II deadline. A complete portfolio includes:

  • Comprehensive Resumé
  • Personal Statement
  • Two position papers
  • Any supplemental materials (optional)

Portfolio Position Papers

Applicants who have been invited to submit a portfolio must write two position papers to document the applicant’s breadth and depth of knowledge in fields such as the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. These papers incorporate readings, research, and the applicant’s critical analysis of the subject he or she has chosen. Each paper must be typed, double-spaced, with parenthetical citations in the text, and a minimum of five references.

We suggest the applicant follow the APA style for the bibliography. Each position paper must be no more than ten pages in length.

Suggested topic areas

  • An essay focused on the applicant’s view of a prominent issue in the Social Sciences. This includes the disciplines of economics, sociology, psychology, geography, anthropology, and political science.
  • An essay that develops the applicant’s personal view of a prominent issue in the arts or humanities. This includes the disciplines of English, history, performing arts, visual arts, music, and communication.
  • An essay discussing a major issue in the sciences, illustrating the applicant’s scientific knowledge. This includes the disciplines of natural science, chemistry, biology, physics, ecology, geology, meteorology, and astronomy.
  • A response to an editorial from a local paper which shows the applicant’s knowledge of the issues. Be sure to include a copy of the editorial.
  • Identify an issue prominent in American society. The essay should treat this in a historical context, identifying the pros and cons of the issue.

The following reference sources available in public libraries or local bookstores.

Hacker, D. (2000). A pocket style manual (revised 3rd edition). Bedford/St. Martins.
Hacker, D. (1999). A writer’s reference (revised 4th edition). Bedford/St. Martins.
Lerner, M. (1994). Writing smart: Your guide to great writing. Villard Books.
Lynsford, A. (2002). Easywriter: A pocket guide (2nd edition). Bedford/St. Martins.
Manual of style (revised 14th edition). (1993). University of Chicago Press.
Strunk, W. S., & White, E. B. (1979). Elements of style. Macmillan.

Supplemental Portfolio Materials (Optional)

These are optional pieces that an applicant may wish to include to strengthen her or his application. Please do not submit original copies of certificates or other materials since they will become the property of Antioch University New England. Supplemental material could include letters of recognition, published articles, newspaper articles, photographs of art works, or samples of poetry. Submit only the best examples of your work.


Stage III

Interview and Admission Decision

The Office of Admissions will contact the applicant to schedule an interview. Applicants are interviewed by an admissions counselor and a faculty member from the program to which they are applying. The interview lasts for approximately one hour and gives the interviewers and the applicant an opportunity to discuss the applicant’s portfolio and potential as a graduate student.

Applicants will be informed of the admission decision shortly after completing the interview.