ALEC Ph.D. Application Requirements

Application Deadline for Fall 2023 is December 15, 2022

The priority deadline is December 15, 2022; applications submitted after that date may be considered if space is available.

ALEC Admission Requirements

  • GRE (required):  GRE scores provide our faculty reviewers valuable information about your verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking and analytical writing skills. We only accept GRE scores that are valid per the GRE testing site.  Click here to view more information about GRE testing scores.  GRE waivers are only granted in rare circumstances (e.g. GRE is not available in your country of residence). If you would like to request a waiver, please email your request to the ALEC graduate support staff, Jennifer Greenlee, at
  • Curriculum Vitae or Resume (required):  Your vitae should include a complete account of your academic and professional history along with your community activities, service, accomplishments, and awards.
  • Personal Statement (required):
    1. Describe 1 to 3 personal and professional goals or objectives, and how this degree will help you achieve them.
    2. Describe how your past experience (work, volunteer, research, etc.) provides you a context for studying in this field.
    3. Describe how your interests align with research, extension, and/or creative activity of each of the ALEC faculty  you list in the Faculty section of the application.
  • Essay (required):  As part of your application, the ALEC graduate committee values writing, as it is an important element of graduate education. Specifically, academic writing or using evidence-based knowledge within writing is necessary for success in our graduate program. Your response should not be a reflection or musings of your personal thoughts but a way to demonstrate how you would write a short argument using evidence-based knowledge. As such, our graduate committee wants to see the following:
    • demonstration of critical thinking as appropriate for academic writing
    • synthesis of information, knowledge, and/or evidence to reveal significant insights, themes, or ideas
    • integrates knowledge and information collected from well-chosen sources in appropriate ways
    • display a writing "flow" and/or a high-quality writing style
    • appropriate use of organization/format, grammar, and punctuation
    • use of APA style guidelines, but this is not required
    Please choose one of the following prompts to write a short essay (500 words maximum). Choose only one prompt for your essay. Please choose a statement that would reflect your area of study.
    • Prompt 1: Why is it important to teach leadership?
    • Prompt 2: Evidence-based practices in leadership development are important.
    • Prompt 3: Is leadership more art than science?
  • Academic Research Experience (required):  As part of your application, our faculty would appreciate you sharing any specific experience you have engaging in research. Within the program, you will be engaging in social science research (leadership, education, and communication), and there are several types of experiences we would encourage you to highlight in this section of the application. Specifically, it would be helpful if you can share any of the following with us:
    • Any specific social science research you've conducted (by yourself or as part of a team, if in a team, please articulate your contributions specifically)
    • Any program/project evaluation experience you have
    • Quantitative research methods experience
    • Coursework or training in statistics and/or math
    • Any project (for class or work) where you engaged in data analysis (either quantitatively or qualitatively)
    • Experience engaging in life sciences (e.g., biology, animal science, plant science) and/or physical sciences (e.g., physics, chemistry) research
    • Qualitative research methods experience
    • Experience conducting interviews
    • Experience coding/analyzing audio, video, or written materials.

It is not expected that you have any and certainly not all these experiences, but we wanted to provide some examples to help you answer this question.

  • Faculty (required):  Review current ALEC faculty and their research areas. Please identify at least one and a maximum of three faculty members in this department with whom you would like to work. Also, address faculty interest alignment in your Personal Statement. Please pay close attention to graduate faculty who are accepting new students, as not all ALEC faculty are graduate faculty, and not all graduate faculty are accepting new students.
  • Letters of Recommendation (required) (min 3; max 5):  It is suggested that one recommendation letter speaks to your capacity to be a successful student (e.g. from a faculty member); one recommendation letter speaks to your professional capacity (e.g. from a supervisor), the remaining recommendation letter can speak to anything you believe makes you an ideal candidate for our program (e.g. commitment to diversity and inclusion, research capacity, teaching and training experience).
  • Writing Sample (required):  Please provide a writing sample that demonstrates your scholarly writing ability, for example a term paper, thesis, grant submission or published article.
  • ALEC Assistantship Interest (optional):  The department of Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communication (ALEC) has the privilege of providing graduate assistantships at the master’s and Ph.D. levels. ALEC graduate assistantships include a stipend, tuition remission, and partial health insurance. We review applications on a rolling basis, and to be eligible for an assistantship, you must be admitted to an ALEC graduate program (M.S. in Leadership Education or Ph.D. in Human Sciences with a Leadership Studies specialization).  You can complete an assistantship application before being admitted to a graduate program (Click here to view more information).

ALEC Graduate Support Staff
Jennifer Greenlee