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The Ph.D. in Exceptional Learning prepares leaders to work in schools, agencies, and universities

College of Graduate Studies - Exceptional Learning Ph.D

Exceptional Learning at Tennessee Tech

With a Ph.D. in exceptional learning from Tennessee Tech, you will be prepared to work with individuals and groups whose learning potential and opportunities for success are frequently unrealized. Through advocacy and active engagement, you’ll be ready to understand the challenges facing those populations and to help those who are overlooked or marginalized by narrow cultural or social views.

With this doctoral degree you will become exceptionally qualified for a rewarding career in a school, university or agency. Our program combines service and research to break down barriers to learning and to effect positive change with diverse and at-risk populations.

The core mission of our program is to assist you to better understand the characteristics and experiences of the individuals and groups in these often underestimated populations and, through research, employ innovative strategies and approaches to positively impact their futures.


  • Literacy - For students looking to empower themselves to become educational innovators and develop cutting-edge, socially conscious approaches to multi-literacies and challenge narrow conceptions of learners, families and world views.
  • Program Planning and Evaluation - For students looking to prepare themselves for leadership roles in program evaluation and planning, with an emphasis on statistical methods.
  • STEM Education - For students looking to develop and advance new ideas andto design and implement strategic innovations in science, technology, engineering and mathematics education.
  • Young Children & Families - For students looking to prepare mthemselves to provide support and interventions to young, at-risk children and families with an emphasis on building relationships and advocacy.
  • Applied Behavior Analysis School-Aged Children and Adult Populations – For students looking to become professionals who will implement and provide empirical support for behavioral interventions for a range of populations and pursue board certification as behavior analysts (BCBA).


Faculty members in the exceptional learning program provide hands-on research opportunities and personalized advice and mentoring to their students. They are active in their fields, publishing scholarly articles and giving presentations at national and international conferences. With their guidance and support, students will make a difference even before they have finished their academic program.

Graduate Assistantships

Research Assistants — A limited number of research assistantships may be available, contingent upon funding. Students with research assistantships are expected to conduct research as directed by supervising faculty.

How to Get Started

Individuals interested in the exceptional learning Ph.D. program can obtain additional information at the program’s website, or can call 931-372-3233 or email [email protected]

For more information, visit

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