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Admissions

Applying for admission into any of our programs is a one-step process through the UT Office of Graduate and International Admissions. Visit Graduate Admissions to get started. The following information is required for all programs. See tabs below for specific info per program and application deadlines.

  • Application Fee—A $60 nonrefundable application fee is required for new admission
  • GRE scores (within five years)The Graduate School application will request unofficial numbers, but you also need to submit original GRE scores to the ELPS Department using the ETS Institution Code 1843
  • Transcripts—Submit an unofficial electronic copy of your transcripts from each college or university you have attended in the graduate school application. You will be required to submit official transcripts if you are admitted to the incoming cohort. At that time, please send your official transcripts to the UT Graduate Admissions Office at:


    The University of Tennessee
    Graduate Admissions
    201 Student Services Building
    1331 Circle Park Drive
    Knoxville, TN 37996-0221

Students are admitted to the College Student Personnel (CSP) program in mid January for matriculation the following August. Applications are due December 1, 2016.

Requirements and qualifications include:

  • Current resume
  • Responses to the following application questions:
    • Why are you interested in a career in student affairs?
    • What are your short-term and long-term career goals?
    • Why did you choose the College Student Personnel program, specifically?
    • What else should we know about you to consider your fit with the program?
  • GPA—You should have an earned undergraduate GPA of 2.75 or higher or a graduate GPA of 3.3 or higher.
  • GRE scores (within five years)The Graduate School application will request unofficial numbers, but you also need to submit original GRE scores to ELPS using the ETS Institution Code 1843.
  • Three letters of recommendation—Indicate the email addresses for your references through the graduate school application and the recommenders will then be sent a link to submit their letters of recommendation electronically.
  • Unofficial transcripts—Submit an unofficial electronic copy of your transcripts from each college or university you have attended in the graduate school application.

When is the application available?
Generally, the application goes “live” on the graduate school website in mid-October.

What if I don’t have all my materials (e.g., scores, transcripts, recommendation letters) in by the deadline?
The admissions committee cannot make decisions without a completed file. Be sure to contact the program coordinator if you think your materials may be delayed. Also, you’ll want to have your GRE scores and references in well before the deadline in case of delays.

Did you receive all my materials (e.g., scores, transcripts, and recommendation letters)?
Check with the graduate school first. We do not review the files until after the deadline, so there may be a delay between what the graduate school receives and uploads to our admissions system and what we have.

Is there a specific major or coursework required for admission?
The program does not require any specific undergraduate major or prerequisite coursework. Students come from a wide range of undergraduate institutions with various majors. The diverse experiences of the students that comprise the CSP program allow for exciting interactions in the classroom.

How and when are decisions about admissions made?
After the December 1 deadline, the admissions committee makes decisions. Students should know their initial status by mid-January.

For more information

Dorian L. McCoy, PhD
Program Coordinator
The University of Tennessee
319 Jane and David Bailey Education Complex
Knoxville, TN 37996-3430
865-974-2216

The doctoral program starts in the fall session. Submit official transcripts from each institution attended to the Office of Graduate and International Admissions. If you have previously been admitted to the Graduate School, you need only to file a Readmission and/or Request for Change of Graduate Program.

PhD Application Procedures

Three graduate rating forms are required of all applicants. Rating forms should include one present or former supervisor and two additional professional references. Rating forms from nonprofessional sources will not be accepted. GRE scores and a writing sample are also required. The writing sample should illustrate a command of research methods and data analysis. Work from graduate classes which meet these criteria are acceptable. Examples include master’s theses, journal publications, a critique of an educational article, or manuscripts which are publication-ready. Candidates who have not written a research-based manuscript may submit a personal statement describing personal leadership capacity and experiences, including readiness for doctoral study. A list of supplemental materials that are required are listed as part of the online Graduate School application process.

GRE scores, transcripts, and rating forms must be submitted to the Office of Graduate and International Admissions through the online application process. Supplemental information and writing sample are to be submitted to Janie Young.

Admission Committee screening will take place in late spring.

For detailed information about the program, contact Pamela Angelle at pangelle@utk.edu or 865-974-4139.

For information regarding deadlines, contact Janie Young at jsyoung@utk.edu or 865-974-6139.

Applicant Interviews

Applicants will be notified by phone or email to schedule afternoon interviews.

Admission for doctoral study in the Higher Education Administration program is an integrated decision process involving a holistic evaluation of the following criteria as evidence for successful advanced graduate study:

  • Leadership promise—As reflected in three formal recommendations and in leadership achievement demonstrated by professional activity (speeches, publications, special reports, etc.)
  • Intellectual aptitude—As reflected in scores on the GRE verbal (minimum 50th percentile), quantitative (minimum 50th percentile), and written (minimum 4.5), and in previous graduate GPA (minimum 3.5). A student with a GRE score lower than 50 percent in verbal or quantitative may be considered if the other score is higher than 50 percent.
  • Professional goals and aspirations compatible with the program—As reflected in personal interview with the program faculty.
  • Communication skills—As reflected in a writing sample.

To apply to the program you will need:

  • An earned undergraduate GPA of 2.75 or higher; graduate GPA of 3.5 or higher.
  • GRE scores of at least 296 (combined verbal and quantitative) and at least a 4 on the writing portion. The application will request “unofficial” numbers, but you will be required to provide an original copy to our department. The institution code for submitting the ETS (Educational Testing Service) GRE scores to the ELPS department is 1843. The department/major field code is 3502.
  • A personal statement outlining your goals, showing your compatibility with the HEAM program; and provide evidence of commitment to the profession.
  • Three names with appropriate emails for references/raters who are able to speak to your strengths and weaknesses as a student and potential leader.

You will also be required to have the following items available in electronic format (Word or PDF) in order to complete the application:

  • A letter of introduction (Please limit your responses to 250 words per question.)
    • What are your short-term and long-term career goals?
    • Why are you interested in a career in higher education administration?
    • How do you think the Higher Education Administration program and degree can assist you in reaching your goals?
    • What else should we know about you to consider your fit with the program?
  • A current resume
  • A copy of your transcripts from each previous college or university attended (unofficial copies will do)
  • A writing sample (this may be a copy of a thesis written for a graduate degree, a published article, a legal brief, a research report or course paper, or another form of writing that you feel represents your professional writing skills and style.)

To be considered for admission to the Educational Administration programs, please visit Graduate Admissions. Certain items are required. You will need to have:

  • An earned undergraduate GPA of 2.75 or higher; Graduate GPA of 3.3 or higher;
  • A copy of your transcripts from each previous college or university attended, available in electronic format (Word or PDF) to complete the application (unofficial copies will suffice initially); or
  • If you have previously been admitted to the Graduate School, you need only to file a Readmission and/or Request for Change of Graduate Program.

Admission to the V.O.L.S. Lead Program

As part of the application to the Office of Graduate and International Admissions, you will also be required to have the following supplemental information available in electronic format (PDF) to complete the application.

This additional information should be forwarded to Janie Young at jsyoung@utk.edu.

The V.O.L.S. Lead Admission Portfolio will include the following:

  • Most recent performance appraisal
  • Most recent professional development activities
  • A copy of teaching certificate
  • A statement of professional goals (Explain how this preparation program would assist you in reaching these goals. Provide a response that is detailed and specific.)
  • Professional activities involving leadership roles
  • Professional organizations
  • Professional honors received, including scholarships and fellowships
  • A description of a personal experience where knowledge of curriculum and instruction was used to improve student achievement
  • A description of any personal experience(s) where collaboration, cooperation, and/or relationship building in a professional environment was demonstrated (Attach evidence of this experience, if applicable.)

Applicants must complete all application forms by March 15.

Upon receipt of a complete portfolio and acceptance to the UT Graduate School, the V.O.L.S. Lead Admission Board will review all materials and forward a recommendation for interview. If you are recommended for an interview, you will be contacted by Janie Young to schedule an interview with the admission board. Interviews will take place on site or via Skype. Applicant interviews will be required and held by appointment only.

Out-of-State Students:

  • All coursework is aligned with the Tennessee Instructional Leader Standards. As such, we cannot recommend out-of-state students for a principal’s license to the respective state’s department of education. Thus, we can offer a master’s or specialist in education degree in educational administration, only in the nonlicense track. In other words, while Tennessee residents culminate with a degree plus a principal’s license, out-of-state students can only pursue the degree.
  • Out-of-state candidates can only be admitted to the University of Tennessee V.O.L.S. Lead Program if they reside in states which have a reciprocal agreement with the University of Tennessee. For information on which states have these agreements, contact Pamela Angelle at pangelle@utk.edu.

Admission Decisions

Following interviews, the admission board will forward a recommendation to the program coordinator regarding an offer of admission to the V.O.L.S. Lead program. Offers of admission will be forwarded by May 15.

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