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To inquire about this program:

Dr. Julia Kirk | 865.531.4131 |

Domestic Applicants

Domestic applicants seeking admission to the doctoral program must meet the following criteria and submit the required documentation as stipulated. Admission packages for membership in the fall cohort group must be submitted in completed form prior to May 1st of the year in which the candidate seeks admission. The admissions process consists of two stages with the first being a paper-based document review and the second, a performance-based assessment that includes a writing sample and interview. Additionally, an early application period occurs at a February 1st deadline. Anyone who has submitted all application materials by February 1st qualifies for the early admissions process.

Stage One: Documents Required for Application Package

  1. Application Forms - University online form and Program-specific form
  2. Application fee of $50 (USD), non-refundable
  3. Official Transcripts[2] for all graduate-level coursework
  4. Three (3) recommendations from persons knowledgeable of the applicant's professional experience and skills (A link can be sent to recommenders via your online application)
  5. Resume or Curriculum Vitae depicting professional history (Please email directly to Dr. Julia Kirk,

The Admissions Committee will review all documents and rate the applicants based on their ability to complete requirements within the doctoral program successfully. In some cases, a conditional status may be granted with additional preparation required for an applicant to obtain full graduate status. In the event this review leads the Committee to make an affirmative decision, the applicant will advance to Stage Two of the application process. All decisions made by the Admissions Committee are final.


Those applicants recommended for additional consideration will be invited to complete a writing sample.

  1. Writing Activity. Applicants will have a specified period of time in which to respond in writing to a select number of essay questions. The prompt and supporting article will be emailed to each applicant. The applicant will draft their writing sample and submit it to the program director via email within the specified period of time.


The applicants who score well on the writing activity sample will be invited to an interview.

  1. Structured Interview. Applicants will participate in personal interviews with members of the doctoral program faculty. Interviews will take place via Zoom and will last thirty minutes.

The Admissions Committee will review all available data and forward a final recommendation for, or denial of, admission to the applicant. The decision of the Admissions Committee is final. Upon notice of acceptance, applicants will work with the program director to complete a program of study appropriate to the degree program and concentration(s) she or he has selected. Admitted applicants will be required to attend a program orientation before beginning their work in the program. Failure to do so will result in a deferred enrollment or re-assessment of the admittance decision.


Admission Statuses


Applicants may also be admitted to the doctoral program on a conditional basis. An assignment of this status indicates that, although all mandatory admissions paperwork has been duly submitted, one or more criteria required for program admission have not yet been met. Conditional status is often accorded as a result of the writing activity scores that do not meet the program's required level of performance.

Candidates who enter with a conditional status will submit a collection of assignments from the first two terms of coursework which will be subject to review by two doctoral faculty members. This review will occur at the end of the second term of coursework.

Given that this review indicates, in the opinion of the faculty, the candidate has the required knowledge and skills to successfully complete the program, his or her admission will be changed to reflect full graduate status.

Full Graduate Status

Candidates who have successfully met all program requirements, upon admission, are accorded full graduate status.