Our graduate programs at Clemson University build on the rich experiences and expertise of faculty and students to provide an educational environment in which both groups share in research, exploration, and inquiry. The result of this synergy is impact — on our community and beyond.
Clemson’s Ph.D. program in educational leadership is designed primarily for working professionals to provide a strong background in five domains: leadership, research, policy, ethics and diversity. Two concentrations, P-12 and Higher Education, are offered for candidates pursuing the Ph.D. in educational leadership.
The Ph.D. prepares students to discover, integrate and apply knowledge as leaders in schools and postsecondary educational institutions and agencies. This is accomplished through close association with, and apprenticeship to, faculty members experienced in research, teaching and leadership. Doctoral students in educational leadership work closely with faculty on shared interests focused on leadership issues from the point of admission through their dissertation defense. Alumni of the Ph.D. program serve P-20 schools, community and state agencies, and institutions of higher education as ethical leaders providing research-based educational policies and services for increasingly diverse students and societies. Alumni also serve in leadership roles as faculty in schools and higher education; as college deans, directors and presidents; or as principals, district office leaders and superintendents.
Clemson’s Ph.D. program in educational leadership in higher education focuses on developing professionals’ knowledge and research abilities in this applied multi- and interdisciplinary field. Because many of the higher education Ph.D. students in this field remain connected to their professional roles, this program is paced to accommodate each student’s timeframe while ensuring steady progress to degree completion.
Students interested in the P-12 concentration have four options among their concentration coursework. Students may select a combination of coursework among courses for both higher education and P-12 concentrations. Students may also choose to obtain state of South Carolina licensure for work as school administrators at the building level, district level, or both while enrolled in the program. Students who plan to obtain certification will take coursework with masters and specialist students and must complete the state’s licensure approved program requirements.
Doctoral students collaborate with their advising committees to plan an individualized program within program requirements including courses and non-course milestones culminating with the dissertation. The overall design requires a minimum of 58 graduate-level course credits beyond the master’s degree and completion of an 18-hour dissertation project. The categories of courses include a preliminary core, concentration courses, research courses, cognates, an internship, a post-comps core and research hours.
The preliminary core consists of a minimum of nine credits completed within the first two years of enrollment, concluding with the preliminary exam, a non-course requirement. The doctoral advisory committee in consultation with the student uses the results of the preliminary examination to establish an individualized program of study, including a minimum of 18 credits of courses in the chosen concentration (P-12 or higher education), research courses and a minimum of 12 credits through internship and cognates.The internship experience focuses on a research-based approach to the common dilemmas of knowledge and practice in the applied field of educational leadership. Cognates are courses selected from academic fields supporting each Ph.D. student’s research agenda. Upon completion of a program of studies course work, students qualify as doctoral candidates by successfully completing the comprehensive exam. Doctoral candidates then complete nine credits of post-comps core in preparation for their proposal defense and then move to 18 hours of dissertation studies before defending their dissertation research. The timeframe for completing this program is controlled by Ph.D. students with support from their doctoral advising committees.
To be considered for admission, you will need a complete Graduate School application, a competitive GRE composite score, transcripts from baccalaureate and master’s degree programs, three letters of recommendation, a two-page letter discussing your reasons for pursuing this degree (especially focused on the field of educational leadership, higher education) and a résumé/curriculum vita listing educational background, work experiences, professional service and other related experiences. Apply on the Web at the Graduate School. Applications should be received by October 1 for spring admission and by March 1 for summer or fall admission. Every required item in support of your application must be on file by the deadline date for consideration.
Mail all documents to:
Office of Graduate Admissions
E-209 Martin Hall
Clemson, SC 29634
For additional information on the Higher Education concentration, please contact the Program Coordinator, Pam Havice.
For additional information on the P-12 concentration, please contact the Program Coordinator, Frederick Buskey.
In accordance with departmental policy, the program of study in educational leadership will include a minimum of 58 graduate level course credits beyond the master’s degree and an 18-hour dissertation project.
These required courses represent a basic body of knowledge in educational leadership. A student must demonstrate a proficiency in this material through the comprehensive examination. The following is a list of core courses:
Program Core: 18 hours
Research and Assessment Methodology: 16 hours
(All courses must be approved by the committee.)
Concentration: 18 hours
The field of specialization may be either public school administration (P12) or higher education. The courses for specialization should be selected in close consultation with the student’s advisory committee. These courses allow the student and advisory committee to tailor the program to the unique needs of the student within the overall philosophy and structure of the program. An 18-hour minimum is required as approved by the student’s committee.
Possible courses for higher education specialization are:
EDC 8040: Student Development Theory
EDL 9200: Sociology of Higher Education
EDL 9290: The Academic Profession
EDL 9550: The Two-Year College
EDL 9600: Legal Principles in the Administration of Institutions of Higher Education
EDL 9620: Higher Education Governance
EDL 9650: Higher Education Finance
EDL 9700: Historical Foundations of Higher Education
EDL 9720: Ethics in Educational Leadership
EDL 9750: College Teaching
EDL 9760: External Effectiveness and Planning in Higher Education
EDL 9770: Diversity in Higher Education
EDL 9800: Current Issues in Educational Leadership
EDL TBD: Globalization in Higher Education
EDL TBD: Organizational Theory in Higher Education
Possible courses for the P-12 specialization are:
Building Level Certification
EDL 7200: School Personnel Administration
EDL 7250: Legal Phases of School Administration
EDL 7300: Techniques of Supervision – the Public Schools
EDL 7400: Curriculum Planning and Improvement for School Administrators
EDL 7450: School Finance
EDL 7500/7510: Elementary Principal and Supervisor Field Experience
EDL 7550/7560: Secondary Principal and Supervisor Field Experience
District Level Certification
EDL 8100: Introduction to School Building Planning
EDL 8150: The Superintendency
EDL 8200: Politics of Education
EDL 8300: Business Management in Education
EDL 8850: Advanced Education Law
EDL 9250: Instructional Leadership
EDL 8500/8510 – Practicum in School System Leadership
Combination of any certification courses plus other options:
EDL 8850: Selected Topics in Educational Administration
EDL 9150: Educational Planning
EDL 9250: Instructional Leadership
EDL 9720: Ethics in Educational Leadership
Internship: 3 hours
The purpose of the Research Internship (EDL 9860) is to provide students a research apprenticeship, preferably under the guidance of their major advisers or any other member of their doctoral advising committees, to build their curriculum vita and emerging research agenda for their dissertations. The Research Internship provides students an opportunity to develop viable research questions from the problems and issues of practice and then participate in the development of the research design, data collection, analysis and reporting phases of research studies. Student products from the Research Internship include conference proposals, presentations and manuscripts.
Cognates: 6 hours (18-21 recommended)
Cognates are courses from academic fields outside of educational leadership supporting students’ research agendas. As part of the program of study, each student must complete six graduate semester hours in a cognate area. All six hours must be from the same discipline and approved by the student’s graduate committee.
Dissertation: 18 hours
EDL 9910 Doctoral Dissertation Research
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