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Educational Psychology and Research, Adult Learning, Ph.D.

  • Application Deadline
  • 48 months
University rank #201 (ARWU) Knoxville, TN, United States
The doctoral concentration in adult learning serves the needs of individuals who work with adult learners in diverse settings, including business, government, higher education, and non-profit organizations.
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Emphasis of the concentration is on the development of reflective practitioners and engaged scholars who actively participate in leadership and service that promotes lifelong learning in a global community. It focuses on three areas of study and practice: self-directed learning, transformative learning, and reflective practice. 

In addition to addressing more general areas of adult learning, core faculty offer their expertise in their supervision of student research and in their respective courses. For example, faculty members’ expertise may serve as the focus of proseminars, especially as the seminars focus on evolving research in related disciplines, research methodologies, and exemplars of notable studies in the three areas of adult learning.

The program offers students a choice of two ways to meet the university’s residency requirement. One is the traditional residency requirement that calls for two consecutive semesters of full-time study (nine credit hours). The other is an alternative residency requirement that requires students to enroll in six to nine credit hours of coursework each semester for six consecutive semesters.1

The curriculum is structured in terms of a core, an advanced core, research methods requirements, a cognate, electives, and dissertation research. In most cases, students will be expected to successfully complete requisite 500-level courses or their equivalents prior to enrolling in advanced courses at the 600-level. Courses that constitute the several areas of the curriculum are shown below. In some circumstances, a student may substitute other courses upon approval by his or her major advisor.

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Programme intensity Full-time
    • Full-time duration 48 months
  • Credits
    85 alternative credits
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    On Campus

Programme Structure

Courses include:

  • Adult Learning 
  • Adult Development 
  • Reflective Practice in Education and Psychology 
  • Professional Seminar 
  • Advanced Seminar in Adult Learning 
  • Advanced Seminar in Adult Development 
  • Advanced Seminar in Reflective Practice 
  • Proseminar in Adult Learning
  • Research Methods 
  • Statistics 
  • Qualitative Research 

English Language Requirements

  • Minimum required score:


    The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

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  • Minimum required score:


    The TOEFL iBT ® measures your English-language abilities in an academic setting. The test has four sections (reading, listening, speaking, and writing), each with a score range of 0-30, for a total score range of 0-120. Read more about TOEFL iBT ®.

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General Requirements

Admission requirements:

  • The completed online Graduate Application for Admission 
  • A non-refundable application fee 
  • One unofficial transcript from all colleges and universities attended submitted on-line at the time of application to the Graduate School
  • The submission of official transcripts and degree certificates
  • Departmental application
  • Reference letters or rating forms

Tuition Fee

  • International

    31538 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 31538 USD per year and a duration of 48 months.
  • National

    13120 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 13120 USD per year and a duration of 48 months.
We've labeled the tuition fee that applies to you because we think you are from and prefer over other currencies.

Living costs for Knoxville

  • 885 - 1460 USD/month
    Living Costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


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