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Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: Who might be interested in the program?

A: Anyone interested in the learning and leadership process. This might include professionals from business, the private sector (health services, nonprofit agencies, social services), education, higher education, etc.

Q2: How many participants will be accepted into the program?


A: Each incoming doctoral cohort will not exceed 25 participants.

Q3: What are the qualifications for entrance into the program?


A: Minimum qualifications include:

  • Master's degree from a regionally accredited institution

  • Cumulative GPA of 3.0 on all prior graduate work

  • Minimum of two years of professional experience, preferably in a leadership role

Q4: What materials are required to apply?

A: Application requires the following materials:

  • Completed Graduate School Application & non-refundable application fee

  • Learning and Leadership Information Form

  • Current resume or CV

  • Statement of Purpose Essay

  • Official transcripts (all institutions attended)

  • Three letters of reference

  • Official GRE scores (taken within five years of application)


Q5: What criteria will be used to make admission decisions?


A: We consider a number of items holistically in our admissions process:

  • Professional and academic performance (GPA, GRE scores, reference letters, resume/cv)

  • Statement of Purpose Essay

  • Personal interview*

      *Applicants who reach the second phase of the application process will be invited to a video conference     interview.

Q6: Is a minimum score required for the GRE?


A: A minimum GRE score is not required; however, the following scores roughly represent averaged minimums for entrance into the program:


Scoring for Test taken prior to 8/1/11:

  • Verbal: 500

  • Quantitative: 500

  • Analytical Writing: 4.0


Scoring for Test taken after 8/1/11:

  • Verbal: 152

  • Quantitative: 144

  • Analytical Writing: 4.0


Q7: May I substitute other test scores for the GRE requirement?


A: No, other test scores may not be substituted for the GRE requirement.

Q8: What if it has been more than five years since I last took the GRE?


A: You will need to re-take the GRE at your local testing center. ETS considers scores reportable for only five years. For details on the GRE, click here.

Q9: What are the requirements for graduation?

A: Graduation requirements include:

  • Successful completion of 27 credit hours of required core coursework

  • Successful completion of 24 credit hours of elective coursework

  • Successful completion of 3 credit hours of Pre-Dissertation Seminar

  • Passage of the Comprehensive Assessment

  • Successful completion of a minimum of 12 credit hours of dissertation research and successful public defense of the Dissertation

  • Cumulative doctoral grade point average of 3.0 or higher

Q10: Are participants required to attend orientation / induction?

A: All newly admitted doctoral participants are required to attend and contribute to the program Induction during the Summer prior to the start of core coursework. Induction activities include assigned pre-readings, activities in the Virtual Classroom, and a multi-day face-to-face experience held in Chattanooga, TN. Should an admitted participant be unable to actively engage in all Induction-related activities, s/he will need to withdraw from the doctoral program and may apply to a future cohort. 

Q11: How will each participant be advised?

A: The Program Advisor will provide guidance through the core coursework sequence and in selecting and approving electives. Upon successful completion of the core program, electives, Pre-Dissertation, and the Comprehensive Assessment, the participant will transition to candidacy and will work with a Dissertation Committee.

Q12: How long does it typically take to earn the degree?


A: Generally, a time frame of 4 to 6 years is anticipated. Participants must complete all degree requirements within a 10 year time frame. The "clock starts" with the earliest course applied to the doctoral degree program, including any program approved transfers. To view a visual representation of overall program requirements, click here.

Q13: How much coursework will be involved?


A: 27 credit hours of core coursework + 24 credit hours of electives + 3 credit hours Pre-Dissertation Seminar + a minimum of 12 Dissertation credit hours.

Q14: Describe the cohort experience.

A: Each cohort begins with a multi-day Induction to the program during the Summer prior to the start of core coursework. The cohort will complete 5 semesters of study together. During the 27 credit core program of study (i.e., cohort experience), each participant enrolls in 2 courses (6 credits) per semester until the core has been completed (Fall, Spring and Summer). This core coursework serves as seminal knowledge for the demonstration of competency in each of the seven program domains.


Q15: How will the coursework be delivered?

A: The program delivery model is designed with full-time working professionals in mind. Course work will be offered via hybrid delivery. Delivery formats include face to face seminars on weekends, virtual classroom activities (online), collaborative projects, live interactive video, and/or individual study projects. Doctoral participants will take a prescribed sequence of core courses (27 credits) for five consecutive semesters (Fall, Spring, and Summer). Each of the core courses requires face to face meetings each semester (typically four - i.e., two courses = approximately eight face-to-face meetings per semester). These required sessions may be supplemented by small group or advisory sessions.

Q16: Is this a 12-month, year-round program?

A: Yes, each participant must remain continuously enrolled in course work. Continuous enrollment in the doctoral program applies to the Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters. During the core program of study, each participant is required to enroll in a minimum of 6 core credit hours as described in the core course sequence. Once the core program of study has been completed, the participant is required to remain continuously enrolled in elective course work (minimum of one course per semester). Following admission to candidacy, the candidate is required to continuously enroll in LEAD 7999 Dissertation (minimum of 2 credit hours) every semester through the successful defense of the Dissertation and acceptance of the Dissertation by the Graduate School. Failure to remain continuously enrolled will result in program dismissal.

Q17: What are the elective requirements?


A: The participant, with Program Advisor approval, will select and take 24 credit hours of coursework in subject matter appropriate for the participant's chosen field of study. All electives must be approved by the Program Advisor, Program Director, and Dean of the Graduate School.

Minimum Elective Course Requirements:

  • Credits must be taken for graduate credit (5000-level or above) from a regionally accredited institution

  • Credits must be academic in nature (not internship, practicum, continuing education, etc.)

  • Credits must be assigned a letter grade of "B" or higher

  • Credits cannot have been used for a previous degree 


Q18: Are transfer credits permitted?

A: A maximum of fifteen (15) hours may be considered for transfer from a regionally accredited institution. Transfer credits will be limited to 15 credits toward the elective requirement. Previous transfer credits must have been taken within five years of entrance to the program. Any additional transfer credit must be approved in advance and requests must be accompanied by a course syllabus and official transcript. All elective credits, including any transfers, must be approved by the Program Advisor, Program Director, and Dean of the Graduate School.

Q19: Must doctoral candidates complete a Dissertation?

A: Yes, each candidate will be required to register for a minimum of 12 Dissertation credit hours and complete a publicly defended Dissertation. Candidates who do not complete the Dissertation hours within the 12 hour credit hour time frame must take an additional 2 Dissertation credit hours each semester through graduation (per our continuous enrollment policy).

Q20: What is the total cost of the degree program?


A: The Learning and Leadership doctoral degree (Ed.D.) requires a minimum of 66 total graduate credit hours. To review the current university fee schedule, please visit the Bursar’s website and select UTC Learn and Distance Fees from the left-hand menu.

Q21: Is financial aid available?

A: Financial Aid at the doctoral level is typically limited to student loans and employer sponsored tuition reimbursement programs. For additional information, please visit the Financial Aid website.

Q22: Will graduates of the Learning and Leadership program earn a Ph.D. or Ed.D.?


A: Graduates will earn a Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.).

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