Clemson University: Engineering and Science Education

Phd Program

 

Program Overview

The PhD program in Engineering & Science Education is a nationally-unique graduate program in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education research. The Department of Engineering & Science Education (ESED) in the College of Engineering and Science at Clemson University is the only department in the country that includes both engineering education and science education in a College of Science/Engineering. As such, it includes faculty who are experts in several areas of science education and engineering education, and have active research programs in these fields. Students in this program will be exposed to a wide breadth of STEM education research under current investigation as well as be prepared to interface between the development of new theory in STEM education and the implementation of new research findings in practice. This discipline-based education research (DBER) combines knowledge of teaching and learning with deep knowledge of discipline-specific science content. It describes the discipline-specific difficulties learners face and the specialized intellectual and instructional resources that can facilitate student understanding. ( See http://www7.nationalacademies.org/bose/DBER_Homepage.html for more discussion of this topic.)
The objectives of the ESED PhD program are to prepare students for academic careers in STEM education, science education policy in higher education or informal education institutions, or a range of other careers that require a deep disciplinary knowledge coupled with understanding of the factors that affect student learning, retention, and inclusion in STEM. Students who enroll in this program will be expected to be content experts in a STEM discipline with at least a Master's degree in their content area of expertise. Graduates from this program will be prepared to become faculty in traditional departments of engineering or science, as well as STEM education departments. They will be prepared to lead curricular and pedagogical reform at the post-secondary level as well as conduct research in the burgeoning fields of STEM education research.

Research Opportunities and Assistantships

Current ESED faculty members have active research projects in the broad areas of chemistry, physics, mathematics and engineering education including, for example, assessment and improvement of problem solving, relationships between motivation and learning, student-centered learning environments, equity and gender issues in STEM disciplines, identity development, modeling of large-scale data, the graduate school experience, and students' academic and career development and success. It is expected that each ESED doctoral student will choose a research project in conjunction with their faculty advisor in one of these or a similar area. Assistantships are stipends paid to graduate students to conduct research (research assistantship, or RA) or teach (teaching assistantship, or TA). RA and TA positions are subject to availability of funds, and may be offered to selected full-time students upon acceptance into the Clemson University Graduate School.

Admissions Requirements

All students admitted into the program must have at least a Bachelor of Science degree in a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) discipline from a college or university that is acceptable to Clemson University, with preference being given to those who have completed graduate studies (masters level or higher) in a STEM discipline. Those who enter the program with a STEM Bachelor of Science degree must take 18 credit hours at the graduate level in a single STEM discipline (i.e., mechanical engineering, physics, chemistry, etc.). Thus, the program is designed for students who are content specialists in a STEM discipline who seek to pursue discipline-based education research. Students will be admitted into the PhD program in Engineering & Science Education in the fall, spring, and summer semesters.

Engineering and Science Education Curriculum

Students in the ESED doctoral program will be exposed to the wide breadth of STEM education research under current investigation as well as be prepared to interface between the development of new theory in STEM education and the implementation of new research findings in practice. Students who enter the degree without a Master's degree in a STEM discipline will take 18 hours of coursework in their discipline. All students will take 14 or more hours of coursework in discipline-based education research courses.

Engineering & Science Education PhD Sample Curriculum:

Students will be required to take a minimum of 11 credits from core ESE courses, which include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • ESED 8000 - Seminar in Engineering and Science Education 1(1,0)
  • ESED 8610 - Teaching/Mentoring Practicum in Engineering and Science Education 1-3(1-3,0); Practicum that includes teaching or mentoring undergraduates in Engineering and Science. May be repeated for a maximum of three credits.
  • ESED 8710 - Engineering and Science Education Research Methods 3(3,0);Introduces methods and tools available for conducting pedagogically sound engineering and science education research. Quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods are discussed and practiced.
  • ESED 8700 or ED F 9550 - Theoretical Basis of Instruction 3(3,0); Establishes a foundation in theories of learning with a particular focus on their application to the teaching and learning of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics
  • ESED 8200/8210 - Teaching Undergraduate Engineering/Science 3(3,0); Designed for engineering or science graduate students seeking a career in academe. Includes both discussion and practice of effective teaching techniques, assessments, and technologies, as well as an overview of current engineering and science education research.
  • ESED 8250 - Engineering and Science Student Strategies 3(3,0); Provides evidence-based information on effective strategies for teaching, learning and mentoring, focusing on relationships between students' motivation, prior knowledge, problem solving skills, cognition and metacognition in undergraduate engineering and science courses.
  • ESED 8750 - Current Topics in STEM Education Research 3(3,0); Designed for doctoral students who are interested in STEM education research. The two main objectives of this course are: (1) to guide students through current topics in STEM education research fields (including physics education, chemistry education, engineering education, and mathematics education research); (2) to provide students an opportunity to investigate a current STEM education research topic of their own choosing in depth. Research topics will be drawn from across STEM education disciplines and will be representative of the research techniques/methodologies that are in practice in these fields today.
  • ESED 8880 - Preparing for the Professoriate 3(3,0); Designed to mentor students in preparing to obtain a faculty position and achieving tenure in science and engineering disciplines. Students will develop a professional portfolio and prepare for the application/interview process.

As directed and approved by each student's doctoral committee, students will take a minimum of 3 credit hours in supporting areas, which include (but are not limited to) education, psychology, sociology, or statistics.

Additional Requirements:

  • Enrollment in ESED 9900 - Thesis Research and Writing
  • Disciplinary requirement - 18 credit hours at the graduate level in a single STEM discipline (i.e., mechanical engineering, physics, chemistry, etc.), unless a student holds an M.S., M.E., or higher in their STEM discipline.
  • Comprehensive and Qualifying Examinations - In addition to the regular course requirements detailed above, students in the Engineering & Science Education PhD program will be required to pass a comprehensive examination as well as a dissertation qualifying examination before undertaking their dissertation research. The comprehensive examination must be scheduled within 12 months after students have completed their required coursework. Upon successfully passing the comprehensive examination, the dissertation qualifying examination will follow within another 12 months.

A full description of requirements and policies for the ESED PhD program can be found in the ESED Graduate Student Handbook.

How to Apply

Students interested in applying to the ESE doctoral program must be accepted to the Clemson University Graduate School. Application information and forms can be found on the Graduate School website. International students are welcome to apply, and must meet Graduate School requirements for TOEFL and GRE scores.

Contact information

For all inquiries, questions, and further information, please contact:
Graduate Affairs Committee
ESEgradinquiries@clemson.edu
M-13 Holtzendorff Hall
Clemson University, Clemson, SC, 29634-0956