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The Ph.D. degree program in Community College Leadership is designed to prepare professionals for leadership positions in community colleges. The degree program is designed to prepare the next generation of community college leaders. The program consists of core courses of study in leading and managing in the community college, interdisciplinary courses in a rural context, and courses in research and statistics. The program is offered through the Center for Distance Education.

Admission Criteria — Deadline for admission is March 1 for summer. To be eligible for admission to the program, the applicant must hold a master's degree from an accredited institution, meet the basic requirements specified for graduate students at Mississippi State University, demonstrate interest in the mission of community colleges, and demonstrate academic proficiency based on the following indicators: (a) grade point average (GPA) 3.40 on first master’s degree (or other graduate degree if GPA is higher); (b) GRE score results; (c) Names and contact information for three people to provide a reference (it is highly recommended that references submit a letter along with the reference form); (d) An on-campus interview and writing sample; (e) At least 1 year of full-time equivalent work experience in a community college setting and current employment in higher education; (f) Curriculum vitae; (g) Statement of purpose of 500-1000 words to include reason(s) wanting to be in program, research interests, and career goals and aspirations; and (h) Official transcripts from each college or university attended.

Some content areas require taking courses on the Main Campus in Starkville, therefore it is not a fully online program.

PHCL Objectives

The educational objectives of the PHCL program are to prepare future professional educators to:

  • Deal with Educational, Social, & Economic Changes
  • Establish a Work Environment Conducive to Relevant Organizational Changes within Rural Community Colleges
  • Be Intelligent Consumers & Users of Data for the purpose of Improving & Implementing Educational Programs within Rural Community Colleges
  • Incorporate the Knowledge of "Best Practices" regarding Teaching Traditional & Non-Traditional Students
  • Appreciate & Capitalize on the Strengths that Diversity of Personnel can provide Rural Communities & Rural Community Colleges
  • Seek Continual Improvement through Reflection
  • Become Better Decision-Makers
The Doctor of Philosophy in Community College Leadership (PHCL) consists of a minimum of 61 credit hours above the master's degree.

MDE Endorsement

The Mississippi Department of Education does not formally endorse the PHCL program in regards to providing AA (Master) or AAAA (Doctorate) licensure for K-12 teachers. If you are a K-12 teacher interested in one of the Community College Studies distance education programs, please be sure to contact MDE directly regarding what is acceptable in terms of licensure.