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Ph.D. Curriculum and Instruction

The Curriculum and Instruction Doctoral Program is designed for individuals who seek to investigate learning and teaching from birth, as well as the dynamics within and surrounding educational school systems. The Ph.D. program is deliberate in providing rich opportunities to work with and learn from expert faculty and other Ph.D. seeking students. This program offers four specialty concentrations—Early Childhood Education, Mathematics Education, Science Education, and Social Studies & Educational Foundations. Working alongside faculty, students design a program of study and research uniquely suited to your areas of interest. The Curriculum and Instruction Ph.D. program prepares critically reflective professionals who are dedicated to access and equity, providing theoretical and practical training for a wide-variety of leadership positions in colleges and universities, policy, and school districts.

The Doctor of Philosophy degree in curriculum and instruction is a research degree designed to prepare the student to become a scholar who can discover, integrate and apply knowledge, as well as communicate and disseminate it. The intent of the program is to prepare the student to make a significant original contribution to knowledge in a specialized field. The program prepares students in one of the following specialty concentrations: early childhood education, mathematics education, science education, or social studies and educational foundations. In addition, students may choose from a range of scholarly focus areas including:

  • Early childhood learning and development
  • Informal education
  • STEM
  • International-global education
  • Learning technologies and educational psychology
  • Legal and policy issues in education
  • Mixed methods and design-based research
  • Motivation and learning
  • Professional development and educational quality
  • Qualitative research methodologies
  • Research, evaluation, measurement and statistics
  • Social, historical and philosophical foundations of education
  • Social justice and educational equity
  • Sustainability education

All students — regardless of the specialty concentration and/or areas of scholarly focus — are expected to work with faculty to design programs uniquely suited to their areas of interest.

  • The student will be able to critically analyze social, historical, psychological, personal and policy factors in the development and current practices of curriculum and instruction.
  • The student will acquire an understanding of the research processes within the field of curriculum and instruction, including practical design, analysis and reporting.
  • The student will understand how to use historical, correlational, descriptive, experimental and qualitative methods within research in curriculum and instruction.
  • The student will be able to analyze critically and evaluate research within the field of curriculum and instruction.
  • The student will be able to conduct scholarly research and contribute to the field of curriculum and instruction.

The curriculum and instruction doctoral program admits for spring and fall terms. Only complete applications are considered for admission. To ensure consideration for an assistantship or University Fellowship, applicants are encouraged to apply early.

Fall:

  • Priority application deadline – January 15
  • Application deadline – April 15

 

Spring:

  • Priority application deadline – August 15
  • Application deadline – October 1

 

Applications will be reviewed beginning January 15 (for fall admission) / August 15 (for spring admission) and will be accepted for consideration until April 15 (for fall admission) / October 1 (for spring admission).

Admission requirements include the following:

  • Minimum of two years teaching experience or the equivalent
  • Master’s degree with a GPA of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale
  • A complete application:
    • Unofficial transcripts (Official transcripts will be required if recommended for admission)
    • Competitive GRE scores
    • Current resume/vita
    • Two letters of reference
    • Letter of intent – Writing sample that communicates the applicant's professional philosophy and goals, research interests and purpose for seeking the doctorate. The letter should be two to three pages in length.
    • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores for applicants whose native language is not English

In addition to the application packet, students may be required to participate in an on-campus or telephone interview. Interviews are conducted in October and December for spring admissions and February and May for fall admissions.

Program Curriculum
This section includes the requirements for completing the doctoral degree. More detailed information about these requirements can be found in the Program Handbook.

Doctoral Seminars (2 hours)
Students will take these seminars beginning their first fall semester and continuing into the following spring semester.

ED 9030: This course initiates new doctoral students into the academic culture of a doctoral program, particularly at Clemson, with emphasis on the skills, strategies and dispositions of academic research and writing.

ED 9040: This course continues the process of introducing new doctoral students into the academic culture of a doctoral program, particularly at Clemson, with emphasis on the roles and responsibilities of teacher educators.

Program Core (Minimum 21 hours) 
Core knowledge consists of constructs in educational foundations and curriculum and instruction. Core knowledge should be demonstrated in the following areas:

  • Curriculum: Students will successfully complete at least one course and/or demonstrate competency in the theoretical understanding of curriculum as it relates to design and policy.
  • Instruction: Students will successfully complete at least one course and/or demonstrate competency in the theoretical understanding of instruction as it relates to teaching and learning.
  • Assessment: Students will successfully complete at least one course and/or demonstrate competency in the theoretical understanding of assessment as it relates to measurement and evaluation.
  • Research: Students will successfully complete at least four courses that prepare students to understand and use both quantitative and qualitative research methods and procedures.

Area of Specialization (Minimum 24 hours) 
Students study in a focused area of curriculum and instruction chosen from their concentration area. Each specialty area includes at least 24 hours of course work designed by the student's doctoral committee, to include:

  • courses and/or equivalent experiences to demonstrate competency in teaching and research practice (e.g., ED 8940 and ED 9800) and
  • 18 hours of specialized focus.


Dissertation Credits (Minimum 18 hours)

Total minimum program hours – 65

Program Benchmark Expectations and Assessments

Professional Competence (documented by advisory committee). These competencies will be fulfilled before the student is awarded the doctoral degree.

  • Students will teach a college/university undergraduate class and/or demonstrate competency in instructional methods as they relate to higher education.
  • Students will conduct national presentations as a primary presenter and/or demonstrate competency in scholarly communication within a professional setting.
  • Students will submit manuscripts for publication (national level preferred) as a primary author and/or demonstrate competency in scholarly writing in an external resource.

Comprehensive Examination

  • The comprehensive examination consists of two components: a written response and an oral defense. Multiple formats for the written response are possible, but all students are required to complete an oral defense of their written responses.
  • An examination plan (necessary for alternative formats) approved by the advisory committee.

Dissertation Proposal

  • Written proposal
  • Oral defense

Dissertation

  • Written dissertation
  • Oral defense

Overview
While students must select from one of the special concentration areas listed below, they are also encouraged to work with faculty to design programs uniquely fitted to their areas of interest.

Early Childhood Education | Mathematics Education | Science Education | Social Studies | Educational Foundations


Early Childhood Education
In-depth knowledge of the early childhood education field with an understanding of the learning and instructional needs of young children (birth to age 8), including design, implementation and evaluation of curriculum; effective instructional methods; current issues and trends affecting teaching and/or learning; and competence in basic and applied research and evaluation.

Associated Faculty
Anna Hall, associate professor | Sandra Linder, associate professor (Mathematics)

Selected Courses
EDEC 9100
Foundations of Early Childhood Education
EDEC 9200 Paradigms and Policy in Early Childhood Research
EDEC 9300 Early Childhood Research in Educational Settings
EDEC 9400 Seminar in Early Childhood Education


Mathematics Education
Students completing an emphasis in mathematics education will develop a knowledge base in current mathematics education issues, research and classroom applications, and be able to select and pursue appropriate research topics in mathematics education.

Associated Faculty
Nicole Bannister, assistant professor (middle level) | S. Megan Che, associate professor (secondary) | Sandra Linder, associate professor (early childhood) | Andrew Tyminski, associate professor (joint appointment elementary and mathematical sciences) | Carlos Nicolas Gomez, assistant professor (secondary)

Selected Courses
EDSC 8420
Advanced Studies in the Teaching of Secondary School Mathematics
EDSC 8470 Current Literature in Mathematics Education
ED 9010 Classics in Mathematics Education


Science Education
Students completing an emphasis in science education will demonstrate an understanding of how the science process and content are most effectively learned, the components of state-of-the-art curriculum models and the utilization of the most effective research methodologies designed to expand the theory base.

Associated Faculty
Michelle Cook, associate professor (secondary) | Cynthia Deaton, associate professor (elementary) | Jeff C. Marshall, professor (secondary)

Selected Courses
EDSC 8430
Advanced Studies in the Teaching of Secondary School Science
EDSC 8480 Current Literature in Science Education


Social Studies and Educational Foundations
Students completing an emphasis in social studies education will develop a knowledge base in current social studies issues, research and classroom applications, and be able to select and pursue appropriate research topics in social studies.

Associated Faculty
Beatrice Bailey, professor (secondary) | Mindy Spearman, associate professor (elementary) | Nafees M. Khan, assistant professor (secondary) | Kristen E. Duncan, assistant professor (secondary)

Selected Courses
EDSC 8440 Advanced Studies in the Teaching of Secondary School Social Studies
EDSC 8490 Current Literature in Social Studies Education
EDF 8700 Identity and Democracy in U.S. Public Schools
EDF 8720 History of American Education

For more information regarding the program or questions associated with applying to this program, please contact Julie Jones at jgambre@clemson.edu or 864-656-5096.