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 or foreign equivalent

  • Cumulative GPA of 3.0 on all prior graduate work

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

  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test (taken within five years of application)

Q4: What materials are required to apply?

A: Application requires the following materials:

  • Completed Graduate School Application
      • Non-refundable application fee
      • Official transcripts (all institutions attended)
      • Official GRE General Test scores (taken within five years of application)
  • Completed Learning and Leadership Program Application
      • Statement of Purpose Essay
      • Current resume / CV
      • Three (3) Learning and Leadership recommendations

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

A: The Admission Committee considers all required items holistically in our admissions process:

  • Professional and academic performance (GPA, GRE scores, recommendations, 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. The UTC Graduate School and Learning and Leadership program accept only official GRE test scores sent directly from Educational Testing Service (ETS). Official scores are reportable for five years.  For additional information regarding the GRE, please visit the GRE website (link: GRE website).

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  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 in Chattanooga, TN, prior to the start of core coursework. Induction activities include assigned readings, activities in the Virtual Classroom (online), 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 Director/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 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.

Q13: Describe the cohort experience.

A: There are a total of 10 required courses. The cohort will complete 5 consecutive semesters of study together on the UT-Chattanooga campus on weekends. During the required core program of study, each participant enrolls in 2 courses (6 credits) per semester until the core has been completed (Fall, Spring, and Summer continuous enrollment). This core coursework serves as seminal knowledge for the demonstration of competency in each of the seven program domains.

Q14: How will the coursework be delivered?

A: The program delivery model is designed with full-time working professionals in mind. During the required core program of study, each participant enrolls in 2 courses (6 credits) per semester until the core has been completed (Fall, Spring and Summer continuous enrollment). Core course work is offered via hybrid delivery. The hybrid delivery model we adopt includes 4-6 face-to-face meetings per course per semester (on the UT-Chattanooga campus on weekends) and extensive work in the virtual classroom (online) through discussions and readings, along with self-directed / small group study.

Q15: What is a typical weekend schedule?

A: A typical Saturday schedule would include one core course session in the morning (8:00 am – 12:00 pm ET) and one core course session in the afternoon (1:00 pm – 5:00 pm ET). Select courses may include a course session on Friday evening. To view a sample face-to-face meeting schedule, you may access the university class schedule (link: UTC Class Schedule). Please select any term and then search for Subject “Learning and Leadership.” Our courses are listed with the prefix “LEAD.”

Q16: How long does it typically take to earn the degree?

A: Participants must complete all degree requirements (66 graduate credit hours) within a 10 year time frame. The "clock starts" with the earliest course applied to the doctoral degree program, including any program-approved transfer credits. The participant’s degree timeline will vary depending on a number of factors including (but not limited to) whether s/he has earned eligible transfer elective credits, his/her elective course enrollment, whether s/he requests a Leave of Absence due to an unexpected life event or remains continuously enrolled, the type of Dissertation s/he chooses to pursue (quantitative, qualitative, mixed methods), the proposed Dissertation timeline, etc. Due to the nature of doctoral-level study, individual timelines vary considerably as a result of personal, professional, and personal commitments. To view a visual representation of overall program requirements, please click here.

Q17: 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 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 course work (between 3-6 elective credit hours per semester) followed by LEAD 7700 Pre-Dissertation Seminar (3 credit hours). 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.

Q18: What are the elective requirements?

A: The participant, with Program Director/Advisor approval, will identify and successfully complete 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 Director/Advisor.

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

The following types of courses will not be accepted as elective credit toward the doctoral program:

  • Courses designed as bridging or leveling work for masters programs (Foundations of Accounting, Concepts in Economics, etc.)
  • Courses that are very similar in scope to core coursework (Principles of Instructional Design, Learning and Education, etc.)
  • Courses offered at the undergraduate level (4000) with a graduate (5000) option


Q19: 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. Once admitted 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 Director/Advisor.

Q20: 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 continuous enrollment policy).

Q21: 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 (link: Bursar's website) and select UTC Learn and Distance Fees from the left-hand menu.

Q22: 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 (link: Financial Aid website).

Q23: 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.).