Javascript is currently not supported, or is disabled by this browser. Please enable Javascript for full functionality.

    Sep 27, 2023  
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog

Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication Major, PhD

The Herbert College of Agriculture offers the Doctor of Philosophy degree (Ph.D.) in Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication. The Ph.D. program will better meet the needs of qualified candidates in the areas of teaching and learning, leadership, communications, youth development, and Extension. The program will enable the delivery of excellent focused education along with in-depth research, leading to more rigorous student training, higher student attainment, and greater research productivity.

As one of the eight departments in the Herbert College of Agriculture, the mission of ALEC is to serve Tennesseans, our nation, and the world by: equipping current and future generations of educators, leaders, and communicators through agriculture; establishing strategic partnerships with communities and industry; seeking solutions through scholarship; and developing and delivering innovative outreach and Extension programs that deliver Real. Life. Solutions. The department fulfills its mission through innovative research, knowledge-based outreach, and excellence in teaching, while adhering to core values of integrity, equality, and respect. The Ph.D. program will further the mission of UT, Knoxville, Herbert College of Agriculture, and of ALEC by providing graduate training in the high-need career paths in the nationally recognized disciplines of teaching and learning, leadership, communications, youth development, and Extension thereby enhancing higher education opportunities and research productivity of the department and of UTK.

A Doctor of Philosophy degree with a major in Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication in the Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications (ALEC). Coursework in teaching and learning, leadership, communications, youth development, Extension, research methods, and statistics will serve as the basis for this degree program. See the ALEC Department’s website for a listing of faculty and their specific research focus areas.

Campus Code

  • Knoxville Campus
  • Distance Education Campus

Admissions Standards/Procedures

To the Office of Graduate Admissions submit an online application, application fee, and official transcripts. The online application procedure will also direct the applicant to submit an updated resume, three letters of reference (or three Graduate Rating Forms) from persons capable of assessing the applicant’s suitability for graduate work, and a statement of professional goals, research interests, and reasons for applying to ALEC. In the statement letter and application, the area of interest and desired major professor must be indicated.

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is recommended but not required for admission to the program. Scores from the general GRE test are given different weights by various faculty advisors, so applicants are encouraged to directly contact their desired faculty advisor to determine the importance of this indicator to the success of their application.

Academic Standards

  • Students must assume responsibility for knowledge and compliance with Graduate School and department requirements in their degree program, as described in the current Graduate Catalog and ALEC’s Graduate Student Handbook.
  • If research progress for the dissertation is deemed insufficient, the major advisor in consultation with the graduate committee may recommend probation with specific goals set for a specified time or termination.
  • The student’s program of study must be approved by their advisory committee and must comply with the requirements of the Graduate Council.
  • See the Degree Program Requirements/Doctoral Degree section in the Academic Policies and Requirements for Graduate Students section for additional information.

Concurrent Master’s Degree Program

In exceptional cases where an individual is admitted to the PhD program having a BS, the individual will be encouraged to complete a MS degree in the continuum of PhD program efforts. Currently enrolled UT doctoral students who plan to complete the master’s degree while maintaining enrollment in the doctoral program must submit a Request for Concurrent Master’s Degree form to the Graduate School two weeks prior to the deadline for submission of the graduation application for the master’s degree. To earn the concurrent master’s degree all requirements must be met at the University of Tennessee.

Credit Hours Required

  • 48 graduate credit hours beyond the Master’s degree, or
  • 72 graduate credit hours beyond the baccalaureate degree

Required Courses

  • Of the required graduate credit hours, 48 must be in courses numbered greater than 500 (including 24 credit hours of course ALEC 600 ; e.g., ALEC 510-593, ALEC 612-693)
  • 6 credit hours of courses at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, numbered greater than 600 (e.g., ALEC 612-693)
  • A minimum of 12 credit hours of courses in graduate level research methods and statistics (e.g., STAT 537 , STAT 538 , CCI 643 , CCI 644 , ESM 559 , ELPS 615 , ELPS 616 )
  • 24 credit hours of ALEC 600  
  • See the Degree Program Requirements/Doctoral Degree section in the Academic Policies and Requirements for Graduate Students section for additional information.

Non-Course Requirements

  • The student and the major professor will select a minimum of three additional faculty, holding the rank of assistant professor or above, to serve on the student’s doctoral committee. The major professor and two committee members must be approved to direct doctoral research by the Graduate Council. At least one member of the committee must be from outside the department. The doctoral committee must be formalized by the end of the second semester of graduate study.
  • Research Ethics training is required, which may be achieved through (CITI RCR) training, as evidenced by presenting a valid CITI RCR certificate to the EPP Director of Graduate Studies or their designee.
  • Satisfactory preparation of a written dissertation proposal and an oral defense to the student’s committee are required. These must be completed before enrollment in ALEC 600. The candidate will be tested on his/her knowledge of the proposed dissertation.
  • Each doctoral student must pass a comprehensive examination as required by the Graduate Council. Both written and oral sections of the comprehensive examination must be passed. Successful completion indicates that, in the judgment of the faculty, the doctoral student can think analytically and creatively, has a comprehensive knowledge of the field and the specialty, knows how to use academic resources, and is deemed capable of completing the dissertation.
  • Satisfactory preparation of a written dissertation and passing an oral defense of the dissertation to the student’s doctoral committee are required.