Frequently Asked Questions


What is the general profile of the CANDEL applicant?

Most of our applicants are administrators, educational leaders and student service professionals in educational settings such as P-12, community college, higher education institutions and advocacy organizations. They have visionary leadership abilities and have a strong desire to create changes in educational policy from within their school, district, department, etc.

How often do classes meet? Where do classes meet?

Classes meet on the UC Davis campus all-day Friday and Saturday every three weeks. Our Summer Learning Institute for first-year and second-year students is held offsite, usually at a conference or retreat center, and lasts a week to ensure a quality cohesive experience. 

What is the cost of the program?

The CANDEL program follows the UC Davis Graduate Fee schedule.  Please note that these are estimated costs. For more information about fees and financial aid, please visit our Fees and Financial Aid page.

Do I really have to take the GRE test?

Yes, you do. We review prospective students’ materials holistically, and the GRE is one of the measures we use. Prepare and do your best. We carefully review each applicants’ scores and their leadership experiences together. 

The GRE General Test measures reasoning, critical thinking and analytical writing skills (you will want to take the “General Test,” not a “Subject Test”). The GRE website offers practice tests; tests are now computerized and offered at testing centers near you. Please review the website for more information about the GRE.

When you take your test, you will need to indicate the Institutional Code and Department Code for your scores to be sent directly to the program. GRE – Institutional Code No: 4834 Department Code: 3001

What is the Summer Learning Institute? Is this mandatory?

The Summer Learning Institute is an extraordinary intensive experience for first- and second-year students, and yes, it is mandatory. For first-year students, the session includes a welcome orientation and the launch of your first course. Students will also be given an introduction to university services and other logistics important to beginning your Ed.D. 

The Summer Learning Institute is held offsite. This allows the new cohort to get to know each other in a neutral and relaxed environment. The positive feedback we receive each year points to the success of the event, and students are excited to return for the second year.  There is an additional cost for the Summer Learning Institute of approximately $375-400. 

What is a “cohort-based” program, and what are its advantages?

Every August, a new group of students begins the program and continues through the whole program together. Each quarter, your group, or “cohort,” will all register for the same courses. 

Overwhelming feedback from our students indicates the cohort structure is one of the strongest features of the program. Students are able to support one another, study and work together on projects and research, visit each other’s sites, and generally find a more enriching experience in this collegial and personal setting.

How many units do I take per quarter?

CANDEL students enroll in 12 units per quarter for the first two years of coursework (72 units). After the completion of coursework, students must enroll in 12 units per quarter of dissertation seminars until they complete their dissertations.

I would like to teach at a four-year university. Is CANDEL the right choice for me?

Our goal is to cultivate leaders who want to work within their P-12/community college districts or higher education administrations to implement and develop real change. Yes, you can teach at the university level with an Ed.D.—however, if this is your primary goal, then we suggest seeking out a program that is more suited to your professional needs. Please review the UC Davis Ph.D. Program in Education.

How beneficial is having all the educational settings work together?

The results have been very successful—we think it’s a great match! The feedback we consistently receive from our students is that the program provides a unique opportunity for professionals to interact with each other, learn about the “other side,” and recognize and appreciate the challenges and hurdles within those environments.

Still have questions? E-mail us at


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