Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Curriculum and Program Content

The PhD program in higher education administration features core course work in (1) Higher Education Leadership and Foundations,  (2) Research Foundations, and (3) Specialization Interests.

Higher Education Leadership Foundations (4 classes/12 semester hours)

Learning activities in this core cluster are intended to furnish the student historic and contemporary perspective on the nature of the collegiate enterprise, the distinguishing principles and heritage that currently form the philosophical heritage for American colleges and universities, the challenges and critique presented to that heritage, and leadership and governance in higher education.

  • HEAM 605—Advanced Seminar in Leadership/Organizational Theory
  • HEAM 619—Governance in Higher Education
  • ELPS 695—Special Topic: History and Philosophy of Higher Education
  • HEAM 670—Values and Ethics in Educational Leadership

Research Foundations (minimum 5 classes/15 semester hours)

This core cluster is designed to develop skill in the design of research and in both statistical and qualitative methods such as case study, etc.

  • HEAM 615—Research Design
  • EP 577—Statistics in Applied Fields (or comparable work in the statistics department)
  • EP 677—Advanced Statistics in Applied Fields (or comparable course in the statistics department)
  • ELPS 695— Special Topic: Qualitative Research Design and Methods
  • One additional course in qualitative inquiry (within the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences, or in a department outside the college).

Specialization (minimum 7 classes/21 semester hours)

The specialization is individually designed to meet students’ professional goals and interests. Specialization interests may be pursued in regular scheduled course work in the program and/or cognate work in other departments and via internships, independent studies, and readings courses. Some examples of specializations might include (1) assessment and accountability, (2) curriculum and teaching, (3) finance and development, (4) governmental relations and policy study, (5) leadership in higher education, and (6) student affairs administration.

Dissertation (8 classes/24 semester hours)

All students must enroll for 24 semester hours of dissertation to complete the PhD degree. Once enrollment in ELPS 600 dissertation has begun, the student must remain in continuous enrollment until the degree is completed.


Residence requirements will be met by full-time enrollment (3 classes/9 semester hours) for two consecutive semesters.

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