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Most Important Question

Is EDL a good fit for me?

This is an important first question. To begin with, please review our selection of programs.

We prepare education leaders. Our department is for those who are interested in either leadership positions in P-20 educational organizations (as exemplified by students in our Ed.D. program) or those who are interested in preparing researchers and educational leaders as tenure-track university faculty members (as exemplified by students in our Ph.D. program). Our core classes are focused on the role of organizational, leadership and change theory in creating successful educational organizations.

Our focus is on the preparation of educational leaders and those who wish to study the topic of leadership, with a heavy emphasis on the P-12 arena, with some exceptions at the doctoral level (speak to the doctoral program chair to explore your situation). Students with a passion for post-secondary (higher education) leadership should compare our offerings with those in the Department of Educational Policy Studies and Evaluation.

The most important part of the application process therefore is the ability of the candidate to help us understand how their background and professional goals fit with the mission of our program.

It may be helpful for you to review the faculty backgrounds on our website so you can get a sense of the areas of interest of our faculty, which may help you determine if our department is for you. You can also navigate to our Start Here page to select the program that’s right for you.

Other Frequently Asked Questions

Application Status

What are the deadlines for application to your department?

I’m a U.S. Citizen working overseas, I would not be considered an international student and I do not need to worry about applying a month early or paying extra. Correct?

  • Correct.

Is the application deadline a hard deadline? It will take me a bit of time to get the letters of recommendation.

  • Yes. Please identify your recommenders early in the process and let them know you’ll be asking for letters.

I would like to check if my application was received and is complete and, if not, what needs to be done.

  • Please contact the department to inquire about the status of your application.

How long does the application review process take after applying?

  • We review graduate certificate, master’s and education specialist applications as they arrive and make a determination once we have a sufficient applicant pool.  Doctoral applications are reviewed after the deadline for application and take approximately three weeks.

How are applicants notified of acceptance?

  • Applicants are notified via email and U.S. mail.

What should international students know about admission to your programs?

International students are attracted to the Department of Educational Leadership studies because of its standing in the field and the opportunity to work with nationally and internationally recognized scholars. EDL provides an opportunity for students to participate in on-going research and development projects that make their learning an exceptional experience. Faculty are committed to providing all students with opportunities to engage in a full range of scholarly work that supports achieving their long-term, professional goals.

International graduate students wanting to be in residence on campus during the academic year will be required to apply for admission and a United States Student Visa. Those wishing to enroll in EDL’s distance learning program will only be required to complete the University of Kentucky and the EDL applications for admission. Please contact the Director of Graduate Studies about the international student admissions process.

Are applicants required to have experience as an educational leader to study educational leadership at the doctoral level?

  • Experience as a leader in an educational organization, such as primary, middle or secondary schooling is preferred. Applicants interested in higher education administration who have had leadership or administrative experience are preferred.

Are applicants required to hold a masters degree in the same major to be admitted?

  • No, however your background and experiences should be a logical fit for the program.

Does your department accept international students in your program?

  • Yes.

Does your department offer conditional admission for doctoral students?

  • Conditional admission is offered only on a case by case basis.

How many doctoral students join your program each year?

  • Over the last few years we admitted approximately 10-15 doctoral student per year.

When can applicants begin an application?



Can you please tell me what the credit hour cost is for your programs?

  • Information on current credit hour costs can be found the UK Registrar page.

    Please note that currently UK charges in-state rates for all online classes, regardless of your state or country of residence.

    Students who enroll our master’s degree (M.Ed.), specialist in education degree (Ed.S.), and school technology leadership program may be eligible to receive a scholarship on the in-state tuition rate. This applies to our principalship program (Rank I), teacher leader (Rank I & II), and school technology leadership graduate certificate.

What is the tuition cost for out-of-state students in you online courses?

  • Students enrolled in distance learning courses are charged in-state tuition no matter where in the world they live.


Course Descriptions and Syllabi

Do you have a link to syllabi or full course descriptions?

  • You may see the catalog of EDL courses here. The best way to obtain syllabi is to email the professor who has most recently taught the course you’re interested in.

Department and Programs

I'm wondering if it would be possible to take a single class to see if it was a good fit for me.

  • Yes, students often take classes from this department to apply to a certificate or degree program in another department. Students may also enroll in department courses under the admission category known as post-baccalaureate (POBA). You may read more about that category here. If your goal is a certification or a degree, we recommend you enroll as a student in the Department of Educational Leadership Studies.

I would like to speak to you about a program in your department.


Please contact us!

  • For our master’s degree, please contact Dr. Tricia Browne-Ferrigno at
  • For our graduate certificate in school technology leadership, please contact Dr. Jayson Richardson at
  • For our doctoral programs, please contact Dr. Jayson Richardson at
  • For our principalship program, please contact Dr. Lu Young at
  • For our Superintendent Certification Program, please contact Dr. Lars Bjork at
  • For our Executive Leadership Certificate Program, please contact Dr. Lars Bjork at

Why do you insist students start only in the Fall semester?

  • Our programs are developmental (i.e., content in later courses builds on content in early courses). Each EDL program has a scope and sequence that is unique. Students not taking courses in the anticipated sequence may not be adequately prepared.

    There was a time when we allowed students to begin taking classes at any time in any program. However, doing that created problems for students (e.g., insufficient background knowledge to be successful in courses, not able to graduate because required courses not available when desired or needed) and problems for faculty (e.g., core courses had to be offered as independent studies to support students’ program completion).

    One exception may be our superintendent certificate program. Please check with Professor Lars Björk for the start term.

When do classes start?

  • Classes for doctoral students often begin on the first Saturday of the term. Other courses may begin on a Tuesday or a Thursday. Check with your professor to confirm start dates and meeting dates.

Are programs delivered as cohorts?

  • Our doctoral programs run as a cohort.

If I enroll in a doctoral program, is this only a doctoral program, or can I also a master's?

  • Students in our doctoral program do not earn a master’s degree along the way. Our doctoral programs are stand-alone degrees.

Can I get my degree in Instructional Leadership?

  • Sorry, we don’t offer that right now.

I was looking at the information about the School Technology Leadership Masters and I was wondering if you have a stand-alone certificate program.

  • Yes, we have a stand-alone graduate certificate in school technology leadership. You can read all about that here.

    Strictly speaking our master’s degree in educational leadership with a core set of leadership courses focused on teacher leadership and a set of elective courses into which the five school technology leadership courses fit quite nicely. You can read all about how our master’s program works by clicking here.



We do not require applicants to submit a GRE score for admission to our programs.

Online Delivery of Programs and Courses

Can your programs be completed online?

  • Yes, all our programs are online delivery.

What are the formats you use for holding class?

  • Ph.D. Delivery

    Our department’s Ph.D. program is limited to students who can complete the program knowing they may have to enroll in one or more classroom-based courses in the mix of our primarily online hybrid program. This can occur because Ph.D. specialization coursework is individual to each student and often taken outside our department. Thus, we can’t guarantee those courses will be available in an online format, nor do we know when those classes meet.


    Our Executive Ed.D. program, is offered wholly online hybrid.

    Masters, Education Specialist, and Graduate Certificate Delivery

    All of our other graduate programs are offered wholly online hybrid.

    Delivery Definitions

    Classroom Based. Students are required to attend physical in-person class meetings held on-site.

    Online Hybrid. All of the course activities are completed online via an LMS. No expectation to attend class on-site. However, one or more scheduled live (synchronous) class meetings held on an audio-video platform. All 500, 600, and 700 level courses with an EDL or ELS prefix are online.

I live in a country that is many time zones away from Kentucky. Am I expected to attend online live classes in the middle of the night where I live?

  • Yes. While we’d love to tell you what time all your classes will be held, we cannot make the commitment to you that all of your courses will be at any particular time. Classes held during the workweek may commence at 5:30 PM Eastern Time. Saturday classes generally convene at 9:00 AM Eastern Time and again at 1:00 PM Eastern Time.


What is your statistics prerequisite for entry into your doctoral programs?

  • Our department’s policy regarding the statistics prerequisite is as follows:

    Applicants to the PhD and EdD programs in EDL must understand statistical concepts, the associated reasoning, and critical thinking skills with those concepts such that they are prepared for our programs advanced quantitative courses. Therefore, applicants to the  PhD and EdD programs in EDL must demonstrate proficiency in basic statistical concepts and techniques that constitute the foundation of quantitative research. Applicants may do this in one of the following ways:

    Show you have passed a course before August 15th of the year of admission covering the application of statistical methods data analysis. Basic descriptive statistics, correlation, normal distributions and hypothesis testing (including correlation and regression) should be covered. An emphasis should be placed on exploratory data analysis and interpretation of results within the broad contexts of education and/or evaluation. Applicants should provide an official course description or syllabus of the course.

    If you have not taken such a course you may:

    1. Complete EPE 558 or EDP 558 before August 15th of the year of admission to EDL.  Increasingly, EPE 558 and EDP 558 are being offered online. Applicants and students should check with those departments to determine offerings each semester.

  • EPE: Dr. Kelly Bradley, Chair, Educational Policy Studies and Evaluation,
  • EDP: Dr. Kenneth Tyler, Chair, Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology,
  • 2. Contact the EDL Director of Graduate Studies for other options.

Principalship Program

I am interested in pursuing a master's degree for principal licensure.

Superintendent Certification Program

I would like to become a school superintendent. What are the admission requirements?


Kentucky policymakers recently changed admission requirements to all superintendent certification programs. Applicants must now:

  • Hold a master’s degree upon admission.
  • Have a current professional educator certificate. Completion of Level I and Level II preparation and certification for any one of the following positions: school principal, supervisor of instruction, guidance counselor, director of pupil personnel, director of special education, school business administrator, local district coordinator of vocational education, or a coordinator, administrator, or supervisor of district-wide services with a total cumulative grade point average of no less than 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Other administrative experience may be substituted for this requirement with the approval of the Education Professional Standards Board.
  • Hold a teacher’s certificate.
  • Have completed at least three years full-time teaching.
  • Provide a written statement of and evidence of leadership experiences at the school building or district level.
  • Have at least (2) years of full-time experience in a position of school principal, supervisor of instruction, guidance counselor, director of pupil personnel, director of special education, school business administrator, local district coordinator of vocational education, or a coordinator, administrator, or supervisor of district-wide services. Other administrative experience may be substituted for this requirement with the approval of the Education Professional Standards Board EPSB) (Resume).
  • Provide evidence of leadership experience.
  • Provide evidence of advanced knowledge about learning and teaching.

What are the costs for an out of state student in the Superintendent Certification Program?

  • Students in the online Superintendent Certification Program are charged in-state tuition no matter where in the world they live.

Is the GRE required for admission to the Superintendent Certification Program?

  • No.

Transfer of Credit

I have completed coursework toward my principal licensure. I wanted to find out if any of this would transfer over.

  • A total of 9 hours may be transferred into a degree program once approved by our department. These hours may include all post‐baccalaureate work, graduate work taken at another regionally‐accredited university or as a student in another graduate program at the University of Kentucky.  Course credits applied toward a previously awarded graduate degree cannot be transferred, unfortunately.