Students are admitted to the Ph.D. in Educational Leadership once a year in the Summer semester (May start date). General qualifications for admission are a master’s degree from a regionally accredited institution with a minimum cumulative graduate GPA of 3.5 or higher, acceptable scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), and documentation of appropriate higher education experience.  This is not a faculty or teaching preparation program.

Submit Required Application Materials by January 15 or April 1:

Completed Online Application 
$35 Application Fee
All Official College transcripts
Current Vita or Resume 
Three Letters of Recommendation
Official Sealed GRE Score Report(s)
Career and Academic Goal Narrative

Admission Standards

Application – Complete online Application for Admission.


Application Fee - Please include the $35 application fee ($50 for international applicants) in the form of a check or money order made payable to Mercer University.  Bank or credit cards are accepted, please do not send cash. The application fee is waived for Mercer students or alumni.

The application fee is nonrefundable, cannot be applied toward tuition. 

College transcript(s) – Applicants must submit an official transcript(s) from ALL colleges/universities previously attended, regardless of length of stay or if the grades are listed on another school's transcript. Applicant’s official transcripts will document a conferred master’s degree from a regionally accredited institution with a GPA of 3.5 accrued from previous graduate work at time of application review. Submit your transcript(s) electronically at
Current vita or resume – Applicants must submit a current vita or resume documenting appropriate leadership experience in higher education.
Letters of recommendation – Applicants must submit three official letters of recommendation. 
GRE test scores – Applicants must submit official sealed GRE score report(s) no older than 5 years. 
The GRE test score report is not the sole criterion; applicants with scores lower than the target may apply but will need to provide compelling evidence of potential to complete graduate level coursework. International applicants should consult the university catalog for additional requirements.
Narrative of research interest – Applicants must submit a short essay (approximately 1,000–1,500 words) that includes the following :
  • Brief intellectual autobiography: describe your academic interests and how they developed
  • Area of interest or particular problems you are interested in studying
  • Connection to experience: focus on how your professional experience, academic training, or research experience has prepared you to pursue doctoral work
This essay will serve as an example of your best academic writing and indicate your intellectual interests in pursuing this degree.

Mail all application materials to the following address:

Mercer University
Tift College of Education, Educational Leadership Ph.D. Admissions Committee
3001 Mercer University Drive
Atlanta, GA 30341-4155

Additional Requirements for International Applicants 

A.Evaluation of Foreign Credentials: Applicants who completed all or part of their education abroad are required to have their foreign educational credentials evaluated by an independent evaluation service. A Course-by-Course and Grade Point Average Equivalent Evaluation is required for admission. Contact the Office of Admissions for information about evaluation services if your foreign credentials have not been evaluated. If an evaluation has been done, you must submit an official sealed evaluation report with your application.
B.Official Translations: Documents submitted in a language other than English must be accompanied by official translations.
C.Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL): The TOEFL the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test is required for international applicants whose primary language is not English. The scores may not be more than two years old. Official score reports must be sent directly to the Office of Admissions by the Educational Testing Service. The Educational Testing Service institution code for submission of official score reports is 5025. Unofficial copies of the score report may be included with the application for initial review and evaluation. This does not replace the requirement of an official sealed score report for those applicants who are offered admission.
Exception: The TOEFL is not required of international applicants who have attended another U.S. institution and completed freshman English Composition I and II with grades of "C" or higher.
D.Financial Guarantee: International applicants who wish to obtain an I-20 for F-1 visa must include financial documentation showing ability to finance tuition and living expenses for one year. Financial documents must have a current date and indicate available funds of US$25,000.
E.Visa Status of International Applicants Who are Currently in the United States: Documentation of your current visa status must be submitted with the self-managed application. (Copy of I-20 and I-94 if on an F-1 visa; copy of visa stamp and I-94 if on another type of visa; or copy of Resident Alien card [front and back] if classified as a Resident Alien.)

Learn more about our Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Leadership, Higher Education Leadership Track

Ready to take the next step?

Schedule your personalized admissions appointment or contact Graduate Admissions at 678.547.6084 or for more information.