Gifted and Talented – PhD in Leadership Studies

*The PhD program is not an online program; however, the Gifted and Talented Education Cognate Courses are offered entirely online.

Interdisciplinary PhD in Leadership Studies

The University of Central Arkansas Interdisciplinary PhD in Leadership Studies (LEAD) prepares scholar leaders to research and act for the common good. Recognizing that complex challenges require an integration of responsible leaders from various community sectors, program graduates will transform education, government, and nonprofit organizations to strengthen human and community capabilities. The program, taught by faculty from a variety of academic disciplines, offers a broad-based, interdisciplinary curriculum using scholarly skills and research to prepare active professionals to contribute to the knowledge of contemporary community leadership and to assume organizational leadership roles. Prospective students must apply for admission into the Graduate School and the LEAD program. Admission requirements for LEAD can be found at Admission to the program is competitive, and applications are accepted annually (April 1, deadline).

Students pursing the Interdisciplinary PhD in Leadership Studies must meet all requirements of the program. The topic of dissertation research will be influenced by all interdisciplinary core courses offered within the leadership program; however, for students interested in pursuing a concentration within the field of gifted and talented educational leadership, dissertations may have an emphasis in gifted and talented educational leadership. This research should exemplify research expertise and contribute to the development of theory, methodology, and discipline knowledge. Appropriate graduate faculty member with expertise in gifted and talented education will serve as a dissertation committee member.


  1. LEADERSHIP REQUIRED CORE (18 semester hours)

The required core is designed to provide knowledge and understanding of public leadership and organizations geared toward expanding well-being and human and community development.

  1. RESEARCH CORE (15 semester hours)

The research core will prepare students to conduct high quality research that addresses critical human and community development needs. The Research Core includes quantitative and qualitative methodologies.

III. COGNATE COURSES (15 semester hours)

Students will choose cognate courses from education, community development, government, and/or nonprofit fields. PhD Leadership Studies

Gifted and Talented candidates may choose Cognate Courses within the three gifted and talented program options outlined in the program description below. The courses will provide a broader understanding of societal issues and deeper content knowledge for the dissertation.

  1. DISSERTATION (12 semester hours)

The PhD in Leadership dissertation is meant to foster research expertise and contribute to the development of theory, methodology, and discipline knowledge of leadership.

Gifted and Talented Cognate Options

Candidates interested in pursuing the Interdisciplinary PhD in Leadership Studies program with a concentration in gifted and talented education will choose from among 3 options within the GT Cognate Course offerings. Option 1: Candidates who do not currently possess GT licensure may complete the GT graduate certificate licensure program to meet the 15 hours of Cognate Coursework requirements (see Program of Study III below). Option 2: For candidates who currently possess GT licensure but wish to earn additional credentials as a gifted and talented curriculum program administrator, the Cognate Course requirements can be met by completing the 16-hour GT curriculum program administrator coursework to meet the PhD Cognate Course requirement. Option 3: For candidates who wish to concentrate on content-specific areas within the field of gifted and talented education (e.g., Leadership in gifted education within a STEM discipline), a combination of the GT licensure and curriculum program administrator coursework as well as customized special topics courses within content-specific gifted and talented coursework can be completed to fulfill the Cognate Course requirements.


Program Contact:
Dr. Rhonda McClellan