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Frequently Asked Questions

Is University of Charleston accredited? 
Yes. The University of Charleston is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association (1-800-621-7440,)

The Doctor of Executive Leadership (D.E.L.) program is part of UC’s School of Business and Leadership, which offers degrees in leadership from the bachelor’s through the doctoral level.

Is a master’s degree required for admission into the D.E.L. program? 

Yes. A master’s degree or equivalent first professional degree from a regionally accredited institution is a minimum requirement for consideration for admission to the program. Exceptions are limited and are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

How is the D.E.L. different from a Ph.D.? 

The D.E.L. is designed to be a versatile, highly practical degree that is grounded in research. Our program is academically rigorous with the goal of creating scholar-practitioners, people who both study and practice leadership. While it may be used as a credential for teaching, it is also helpful for anyone working in business or industry, education, a nonprofit organization, government, health care, or the military. Organizations need leaders who understand how to lead in our current global environment. The D.E.L. program will prepare you to understand and implement change, utilize resources effectively, encourage innovative solutions to problems, access networks and technology, and facilitate team building.

What learning model does the D.E.L. program use? 

The program uses a cohort model that is grounded in adult learning theory. Participants begin and complete the program together in a learning community. Members attend courses together, support one another in teams, participate in guided and threaded discussions, journal to reflect on applications of their learning, and research and report on problems and issues pertaining to leadership.

How many students are in a cohort? 

Our D.E.L. cohorts usually consist of fifteen individuals. Since we started our program, we have attracted students from across the United States and internationally. Our students are diverse in age, gender, ethnicity, education, experience, and background, each with a unique perspective on leadership. We recognize that learning is enhanced by the unique contributions of cohort members, and it is exciting to see relationships develop among the students in each cohort.

How much time do I need to set aside for my studies? 

The doctoral program is intense, and requires a great deal of reading and writing. Most students find that they need to set aside at least 20 hours a week for reading, study, online discussions with their cohort, and writing assignments.

Is there a residency requirement?  

Yes. The program requires a five-day (Thursday through Monday) campus residency each year.

Can I transfer in credit from other doctoral or master’s programs? 

No. The D.E.L. is a prescribed program.

Do I have to write a dissertation? 

Yes. The D.E.L. is designed to develop scholar practitioners who are stewards of the leadership discipline. Stewards of the discipline generate new knowledge, conserve existing knowledge, and transform individuals and organizations based on their knowledge of leadership. To accomplish these goals, an action research dissertation is required.

Can I design my program to reflect my interests? 

Yes. Each core leadership course incorporates an overview, an in-depth, and an applied component. The in-depth and applied components allow participants to tailor their work to reflect their interests. The dissertation is designed for targeting specific interests as well.

How long will the program take to complete? 

The D.E.L. program requires three years to complete. Each of the first two years consists of seven courses plus a residency. The third year consists of a residency and three proseminars that are concurrent with the dissertation.

Will I have to quit my job to complete this program? 

No. The program combines theory and application. We therefore expect that most participants will be actively engaged in careers during the program

Who are my program contacts? 

During your first residency, you meet the key contacts who will provide assistance and guidance throughout the program.  For academics, a faculty mentor will serve as your advisor and advocate through the first two years of the program and then as a member of your dissertation committee.

For nonacademic matters, the program coordinator assists with administrative processes serves as the doctoral student concierge.


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Admissions Representative

David Cooper
Admissions Representative, Master of Strategic Leadership and Doctor of Executive Leadership
School of Business & Leadership
158 Dye Drive
Beckley, WV 25801

Contact Information

Dr. John E. Barnette
Associate Dean of Leadership
School of Business & Leadership
900 Virginia Street, E. Suite 200
Charleston, WV 25301

Dr. Judith Noble Halle
School of Business & Leadership