Jul 11, 2020  
2017-2018 Graduate Catalog 
2017-2018 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Educational Leadership, PhD

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Program Requirements

The PhD program in Educational Leadership provides students with a strong background in five domains: leadership, research, policy, ethics and diversity. As the highest academic degree granted by Clemson University, the PhD prepares students to become scholars who can discover, integrate and apply knowledge as leaders in schools and postsecondary and community educational institutions and agencies. This is accomplished through close association with and apprenticeship to faculty members experienced in research, teaching and administration.

Admission Requirements

A complete application package should include competitive GRE scores, bachelor's and master's degree transcripts, three letters of recommendation, current curriculum vita, and a cover letter. The cover letter must be two to three pages in length, and should discuss (1) the candidate's reasons for pursuing the PhD degree in Educational Leadership, particularly as they relate to career and professional goals (elementary and secondary education or higher education); (2) one or more issues on which the candidate might like to do research; and (3) distinguishing characteristics that demonstrate the candidate's potential for success in the program. This letter will be evaluated as a writing sample.


A student admitted to the Educational Leadership program must begin coursework within one year from the semester of acceptance or reapply for admission. Two concentrations-P12 and Higher Education-are offered for candidates pursuing the PhD in Educational Leadership. All candidates must take a minimum of 58 credit hours of graduate-level courses beyond the master's degree and complete an 18-hour dissertation project. The program core consists of a minimum of nine credits completed within the first two years of enrollment culminating in the Preliminary Exam. Upon successful completion of the Preliminary Exam, students consult with their doctoral advisory committees establishing their program of studies, including courses in concentration, research, internships and cognates. Internships are supervised by a practicing educational leader and by a faculty member. The internship experience is designed to acquaint the student with the practical applications of education theory in a planned, extensive and closely monitored opportunity for the student to work in a setting that reflects the student's long-range goals and the requirements for rigorous applied research. Cognates are courses from academic fields supporting the student's research agenda. Upon completion of the coursework, students qualify as doctoral candidates by successfully completing a comprehensive exam. The culminating requirement for the program is successful completion of the dissertation as guided by the major advisor and the doctoral advising committee.

Course Requirements

Preliminary Core Courses:

The following credits are required before taking the preliminary exam:


A minimum of 18 credit hours, selected with the advice of the doctoral advisory committee, is required.


Cognates include courses from another area of study. As a part of the program of study, each student must complete six graduate credit hours beyond the field of Educational Leadership. All six hours must be from the same discipline and approved by the student's doctoral advising committee.


A minimum of 18 credit hours is required for the dissertation.


All students are required to complete three hours of field research internship credit

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