Frequently Asked Questions

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I have a master's degree; can I apply to the doctoral program only? 

Pursuit of the doctorate requires completion of the full program (all 6 course blocks) for all candidates, whether or not you already possess a master's degree. The curriculum has been designed as a complete program of study for doctoral candidates.

Can I earn both a master's degree and a doctoral degree? 

Yes. Students can enter the program regardless of whether or not they have a master's degree. The program allows students to earn a master's degree by taking three course blocks and completing a master's thesis course. The master’s course is optional for students who already possess a graduate degree, and mandatory for students who do not. After completing a master's thesis, students who entered without a master’s degree may apply for doctoral candidacy. The PennCLO Executive Doctoral Program is a terminal Ed.D. program, meaning all students are expected to pursue the Ed.D. with or without the master’s degree.

What degree will I earn after completing the master’s program? 

Students completing the master's program will earn a Master of Science in Education (M.S.Ed.) from the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education.

What degree will I earn after completing the doctoral program? 

Students completing the doctoral degree will earn a Doctorate in Education (Ed.D.) from the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education.

Will I be a University of Pennsylvania alum? 

Students who earn their master's and/or doctoral degrees will be alumni of the University of Pennsylvania and the Graduate School of Education.



When is the application deadline?

The next application deadline is scheduled for July 1, 2018.

For subsequent application deadlines, please visit 

What professional experience should successful candidates have? 

Prospective students are expected to have 5 to 10 years of professional experience in a leadership role. Many successful applicants hail from human resources, talent management, or training and development. Others are CEOs, line leaders in business, not-for-profit leaders, senior military officers, government officials, or consultants. All are committed to learning as a primary mechanism for organizational and social change.

Can I enter this program in any semester? 

Yes. Students are admitted three times per calendar year, at the beginning of each academic course block. The program is designed for students to be able to participate fully, no matter when they begin their studies.

Are any exams required for the application? 

The GRE is not required for admission to the program. However, the admissions committee reserves the right to request your GRE scores as additional admissions criteria. You may elect to submit scores from the exam if you have previously taken it.



Can I attend one course block per year? 

The academic blocks and the dissertation block are meant to be completed in an unbroken sequence so that students can finish the program on track within three years as well as maintain a strong, cohort-based learning community within the program. Students with extenuating personal or professional circumstances may make a request to the Director to go on a leave of absence. Approval is on a case-by-case basis.

How much time will I be spending on this program? 

The program is comprised of five discrete academic blocks; each course block will cover between five to ten topic modules. Typical class time for each block per term is 12 days on campus spread out one month apart. Depending on the block, virtual classes may also be scheduled for approximately 5-10 hours. In addition, reading and preparation require approximately 20 hours prior to each on campus week, and 20-40 hours is typically required for assignments (papers, group projects, library research, etc.).



The fee includes lodging and meals. Does that part of the fee apply since I am local and may not need lodging? 

The fee is all-inclusive and cannot be broken out into different components. This is the case for all Penn GSE executive programs. We cannot offer a discounted fee for those not taking advantage of the lodging option. (Please note that tuition and fees are subject to University of Pennsylvania trustees' approval.) 

Can I just earn a master’s degree?

It is not our intention that the master’s be a terminal degree in the PennCLO program. All students admitted to PennCLO must be committed to pursuing the doctoral degree in its entirety. The master’s degree can be earned after taking three course blocks and completing the PennCLO master’s thesis course (online). All students admitted to the program without a master’s must participate in the master’s thesis course and obtain the master’s degree offered through PennCLO. Extra tuition is charged for the master’s thesis course. 

Is there a deposit for this program? 

Yes, there will be a $1,000 deposit due upon acceptance into the program. This amount will be deducted from your program fee for the first course block.