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To be eligible for the Ph.D. in Educational Leadership program, applicants must hold a master’s degree from a college or university accredited by an institutional accreditor recognized by the U.S. Department of Education with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher, acceptable scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), and documentation of current leadership certification from the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GaPSC). This not a faculty or teaching preparation program.

Completion of the program and a passing score on the GACE Content Assessment for Educational Leadership will lead to eligibility for a certificate upgrade to level 7 in Educational Leadership for those who are eligible. The degree is approved for certification upgrades only for those who are currently certified in Educational Leadership (L, PL, or nonrenewable PL) and does not lead to initial certification.


Application Checklist

  • $35 Non-refundable Application Fee ($50 for international applicants)
  • Transcripts from All Previously Attended Institutions
    Applicants must submit official transcripts from all previously attended institutions. Former and current Mercer University students need not request a Mercer University transcript. Applicants may submit transcripts digitally to

How to order your official transcripts online

  1. Visit your previous institution’s Registrar’s Office website, and search “transcripts.”
  2. Follow the instructions for ordering your official transcript.
  3. When prompted, select Mercer University as the recipient.
  4. For quickest delivery, Mercer prefers that you select electronic delivery. If you prefer mail delivery, enter Mercer University, Tift College of Education Graduate Admissions, 3001 Mercer University Drive, Atlanta, GA 30341.

Note: Mercer only accepts official transcripts sent from other institutions, indirectly through ordering services or directly from the institution. We cannot accept any official transcripts sent from the applicant’s email.

  • Copy of Current Leadership Certification from the GaPSC
    Submit a copy of current leadership certification from the Georgia Professional Standards Commission (GaPSC).
  • Verifiable School Leadership Role or Position
    Applicants must submit documentation that they hold a school leadership role or position, as defined by the GaPSC. For performance-based applicants, this must be verified by the appropriate designated school system representative (not the site principal).
  • Current Vita or Résumé
    Applicants must submit a current vita or résumé.
  • Letters of Recommendation
    Applicants must submit three official letters of recommendation. One of these must be from a school system supervisor.
  • GRE Test Scores
    Applicants must submit official sealed GRE score report(s) no older than five 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 Interests
    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 have 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.

Application materials may be mailed to:
Mercer University
Tift College of Education Graduate Admissions
3001 Mercer University Drive
Atlanta, GA 30341

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 Graduate 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 or 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 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: International applicants who are currently in the United States must choose from one of the following categories to prove their current visa status:

  • 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
  • Copy of Resident Alien card (front and back) if classified as a Resident Alien

Learn more about our Ph.D. in Educational Leadership, P-12 School Leadership

Ready to take the next step?

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