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, technology, health/social services, nonprofit agencies, higher education, etc.

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

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

Q3: Do applicants apply to a specific degree designation (Ed.D. or Ph.D.)?

A: The admission qualifications and application process are the same for both the Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree designations. In consultation with the doctoral faculty and Program Director/Advisor, each doctoral participant will be placed in a degree designation (Ed.D. or Ph.D.) after the first year of core coursework has been completed and assessed.

Q4: 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 or above 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)

Q5: What materials are required to apply?

A: Application requires the following materials:

  • Completed Graduate School Application

    • Non-refundable application fee (first time UTC graduate students only)

    • Official transcripts (all institutions attended, even if a degree was not awarded)

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

  • Learning and Leadership Program Application

    • Statement of Purpose Essay

    • Current resume / CV

    • Three (3) Learning and Leadership recommendations

Q6: 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 interview.

Q7: Is a minimum score required for the GRE?

A: We do not have a set minimum GRE score requirement; however, the following scores roughly represent averaged minimums for entrance into the program:

  • Verbal: 152

  • Quantitative: 144

  • Analytical Writing: 4.0

Q8: May I substitute other test scores for the GRE requirement?

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

Q9: 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. GRE scores will only be accepted if the test date is within five years of the application date. The UTC Graduate School and Learning and Leadership program accept only official GRE test scores sent directly from Educational Testing Service (ETS). For additional information regarding the GRE, please visit the GRE website (link: GRE website).

Q10: Is deferred admission an option?

A: The Learning and Leadership program does not have an option for deferrals of acceptance. If an applicant is accepted to a particular cohort / Summer term and is unable to successfully complete the foundational course (1 credit), s/he will need to withdraw from the cohort and apply to a future cohort. Acceptance to a future cohort is not guaranteed. Applications are typically accepted December through February for the upcoming cohort.

Q11: Is Fall or Spring admission an option?

A: The Learning and Leadership program currently admits new cohorts in Summer only. Due to the cohort nature of the program, we do not offer rolling admission.

Q12: What are the requirements for graduation?

A: Graduation requirements include:

  • Successful completion of 27 credit hours of required core coursework (Ed.D.)/39 credit hours of required coursework (Ph.D.)

  • Successful completion of 24 credit hours of elective coursework (Ed.D.)/18 credit hours of elective coursework (Ph.D.)

  • Successful completion of 3 credit hours of Pre-Dissertation Seminar (Ed.D./Ph.D.)

  • Passage of the Comprehensive Assessment (Ed.D./Ph.D.)

  • Successful completion of a minimum of 12 credit hours of dissertation research (Ed.D)./ 15 credit hours of dissertation research (Ph.D.) and successful defense of the Dissertation

  • Cumulative doctoral grade point average of 3.0 or higher

Q13: Are participants required to attend orientation/induction?

A: All newly admitted doctoral participants are required to successfully complete a foundational course during the initial Summer semester. The foundational course includes two synchonous face-to-face meetings and extensive work in the Virtual Classroom (online) through discussions and readings. Should an admitted participant be unable to successfully complete the foundational course, s/he will need to withdraw from the doctoral program and may apply to a future cohort.

Q14: 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, and the Comprehensive Assessment, the participant will transition to candidacy and will work with a Dissertation Committee (LEAD 7700 Pre-Dissertation Seminar & LEAD 7999 Dissertation).

Q15: At what point will the degree designation (Ed.D. or Ph.D.) selection be made?

A: In consultation with the doctoral faculty and Program Director/Advisor, each doctoral participant will be placed in a degree designation (Ed.D. or Ph.D.) after the first year of core coursework has been completed and assessed.

Q16: Describe the cohort experience.

A: The cohort will complete required coursework together on the UT-Chattanooga campus on weekends. During the required core program of study (27 credit hours Ed.D.; 39 credit hours Ph.D.), 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 program domains.

Q17: Is it permissible to enroll in more (or less) than 6 credit hours during the core program of study?

A: Enrollment in 6 graduate credit hours is required during the core program of study. Due to the rigorous nature of the core program in addition to the participant’s professional practice, enrollment in additional credit hours during the core program of study requires pre-approval by the Program Director/Advisor. Additionally, due to the cohort nature of the program, enrollment in fewer than 6 graduate credit hours during the core program of study requires pre-approval by the Program Director/Advisor.

Q18: 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.

Q19: What are the technical requirements for the program?

A: Each doctoral participant is expected to demonstrate basic computer skills and to have working knowledge and capability with computer hardware as well as a variety of software applications. Each doctoral participant must have administrative rights to the computer being used during coursework in order to install necessary software. A number of software applications are provided by the university/UT at no charge for all current participants and faculty. Minimum technology requirements for the Learning and Leadership Doctoral Program include:      

  • PC or computer with Windows-based operating system*
  • Microsoft Word/Excel/PowerPoint (2010 version or newer)
  • High speed Internet connection
  • Webcam
  • Adobe Reader
  • EndNote
  • SPSS statistical analysis software
  • Zoom video conferencing
  • UT system provided survey software
  • Other applications as indicated by the faculty

*We highly recommend using a PC type computer. Our program faculty/staff and university administration utilize Windows and Microsoft software; therefore, a PC type computer is preferred to ensure compatibility. While the majority of the required software programs are available in both PC and Mac formats, select software programs are not available for use with the Mac operating system and require a Windows-based operating system. Some participants have experienced difficulty and noticed differences when formatting documents when using a Mac Operating System (Mac OS).

Q20: 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.”

Q21: How long does it typically take to earn the degree?

A: Participants must complete all degree requirements (66 graduate credit hours Ed.D.; 75 graduate credit hours Ph.D.) 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, or 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. The median timeframe for Learning and Leadership program completion is approximately 6 years.

Q22: 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. 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). Following the Comprehensive Assessment and admission to candidacy, the candidate is required to continuously enroll in LEAD 7700 Pre-Dissertation Seminar (3 credit hours) followed by 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.

Q23: What are the elective requirements?

A: The participant, with Program Director/Advisor approval, will identify and successfully complete elective coursework (24 credit hours for Ed.D./18 credit hours for Ph.D.) in subject matter appropriate for the participant's professional practice. 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 have documented objectives or outcomes that are consistent with graduate level learning (higher order thinking skills)

  • 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 previously conferred degree

  • Credits must be approved by the Program Director/Advisor

Transfer Credit Policy:

  • Any transfer credits cannot exceed 15 graduate hours (5 courses) and are limited to elective credit

  • Previous transfer credits must have been taken within 5 years of entrance into the program.

  • Any transfer credit requests for previous course work should be submitted to the Program Director/Advisor during the initial Spring semester (by March 1), along with course syllabus(i) from the semester the course was taken.  Any approved transfer credits will be documented as part of the Program of Study, which is typically filed during the third semester of core course enrollment

  • Any additional transfer credit must be approved in advance and requests must be accompanied by a course syllabus (the most recent version available, no more than one year old) and an official transcript must be submitted upon completion of approved courses

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

  • Courses designed as bridging or leveling work for Master's programs (Foundations of Accounting, Concepts in Economics, etc.)

  • Courses that are very similar in scope to core coursework (Principles of Instructional Design, Organizational Effectiveness, etc.)

  • Courses offered at the undergraduate level (4000) with a graduate (5000) option

Q24: Are transfer credits permitted?

A: A maximum of fifteen (15) hours may be considered for transfer from a regionally accredited institution (see elective credit policy above).

Q25: Must doctoral candidates complete a Dissertation?

A: Yes, each candidate will be required to register for a minimum of 12 Dissertation credit hours (Ed.D.)/15 Dissertation credit hours (Ph.D.) and defend the Dissertation. Candidates who do not complete the Dissertation hours within the 12 credit hour time frame (Ed.D.) or 15 credit hour time frame (Ph.D.) must take an additional 2 Dissertation credit hours each semester through graduation (per continuous enrollment policy).

Q26: How are Dissertation topics selected?

A: Participants in the doctoral program will develop their individual research agendas throughout the program of study. Dissertation topics/potential research questions are developed by the candidate with guidance and input from the doctoral faculty. As our program is designed to be work/experienced embedded, dissertation research topics are often designed to investigate some aspects of a candidate’s profession within the broader context of learning and leadership.

Q27: What is the total cost of the degree program?

A: The Learning and Leadership doctoral degree requires a minimum of 66 total graduate credit hours (Ed.D.) / 75 total graduate credit hours (Ph.D.). To review the current university fee schedule, please visit the Bursar’s website (link: Bursar's website) and select Fee Information > UTC Learn and Distance Fees. Scroll down to the Graduate fee section.

Q28: 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).

Q29: Will graduates of the Learning and Leadership program earn a Ph.D. or Ed.D.?

A: Graduates will earn a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) or a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.).