School of Education

Ph.D. Curriculum and Instruction

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.

  • Overview
  • Program Goals
  • Admission Requirements
  • Program Requirements
  • Scholarly Focus
  • Find Out More

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: elementary education, English education, mathematics education, science education, social studies education, literacy education or special education. In addition, students may choose from a range of scholarly focus areas including academic and behavioral interventions for diverse learners; 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; and 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.

Applications for the curriculum and instruction doctoral program are considered throughout the year. Only complete application packets are considered for admission and should be submitted by Oct.1 for spring admission and March 1 for summer/fall admission. Admission requirements include the following:

  • Admission to the Clemson University Graduate School
  • Minimum of two years teaching experience or the equivalent
  • Master’s degree with a GPA of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale
  • Complete application packet:
  • Online Application
  • Two letters of reference
  • Unofficial transcripts (Official transcripts will be required if recommended for admission).
  • Competitive GRE scores
  • Current Resume/Vita
  • 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.
  • Students whose native language is not English must submit acceptable scores for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

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: 

  1. courses and/or equivalent experiences to demonstrate competency in teaching and research practice (e.g., ED 8940 and ED 9800) and
  2. 18 hours of specialized focus.

Dissertation Credits (Minimum 18 hours)

Total minimum program hours – 65

Program Benchmark Expectations and Assessments

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. Dissertation Proposal

  • Written proposal
  • Oral defense

4. Dissertation

  • Written dissertation
  • Oral defense
Specialty Concentrations Faculty Research and Scholarship
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.

C&I Speciality Concentrations

Elementary Education

In-depth knowledge of one or more of the academic areas taught in the elementary school with an understanding of how the selected area or areas relate to the learning and instructional needs of all students.


Faculty
Mikel Cole, assistant professor (Language, Literacy and Culture)
Cynthia Deaton, assistant professor (Science)
Alison Leonard, assistant professor (Arts and Creativity)
David Reinking, distinguished professor (Literacy)
Debbie Smith
, professor (Physical Education)
Mindy Spearman, associate professor (Social Studies)
Andrew Tyminski
, assistant professor (Mathematics)


Selected Courses
EDEL 9370 Designing Elementary Curriculum
EDEL 9380 Teacher as Researcher
EDF 8700 Identity and Democracy in U.S. Public Schools
EDF 8720 History of American Education
Literacy Education

In depth knowledge in the field of reading with an understanding of the learning and instructional needs of all students.


Faculty
C.C. Bates
, assistant professor
Mikel Cole, assistant professor (Language, Literacy and Culture)
Pamela Dunston, associate professor
Susan Fullerton, associate professor
Linda Gambrell
, distinguished professor
Jonda McNair, associate professor
David Reinking
, distinguished professor


Selected Courses
READ 9390 Psychology of Reading
READ 9440 Reading Research: Review and Critique of Literature
READ 9430 The Reading-Writing Connection: An Integrated Approach
Special Education

In depth knowledge of disability and at-risk characteristics integrated with an understanding of how these characteristics relate to the learning and instructional needs of the individual.


Faculty
Jennie Farmer
, assistant professor
Janie Hodge, associate professor
Antonis Katsiyannis, distinguished professor
Sara Mackiewicz
, assistant professor
Joe Ryan, associate professor
Pam Stecker
, professor


Selected Courses
EDSP 8530 Legal and Policy Issues in Special Education
EDSP 9300 Critical Issues and Trends in Special Education
EDSP 9340 Evidence-Based Research in Instructional Design and Delivery
EDSP 9350 Preparing Highly Qualified Special Education Educators: Research in Teacher Education
English Education

Students completing an emphasis in English education will demonstrate a research knowledge base that includes the areas of teaching composition, literary response, language development, developments in English language and multimedia applications for the English classroom.


Faculty
Beatrice Bailey, professor (middle level)
Lienne Medford, associate professor (middle level)


Selected Courses
EDSEC 8410 Advanced Studies in the Teaching of Secondary School English
EDSEC 8460 Current Literature in English 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.


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


Selected Courses
EDSEC 8420 Advanced Studies in the Teaching of Secondary School Mathematics
EDSEC 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.

Faculty
Michelle Cook, associate professor (secondary)
Cynthia Deaton, assistant professor (elementary)
Jeff C. Marshall, associate professor (secondary)
Cassie Quigley, assistant professor (middle level)


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

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.


Faculty
Robert P. Green, distinguished professor (educational foundations)
LaGarrett King, assisstant professor (secondary)
Suzanne Rosenblith, associate professor (educational foundations)
Mindy Spearman, associate professor (elementary)


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

Faculty research interests and expertise span many domains related to education. Below is a list of current areas of faculty scholarly interest and expertise.

C&I Faculty Research and Scholarhship

Academic and Behavioral Interventions for Diverse Learners

Research and scholarship focuses on instructional and behavioral interventions to address academic and behavioral learning needs of diverse students including those with disabilities and at risk of academic problems.


Associated Faculty
Jennie Farmer
Susan Fullerton
Sara Mackiewicz
Joseph B. Ryan
Pamela Stecker

Arts Education

Research explores social history, culture, ideology, cognition, pedagogy, and curricula involving the arts (dance, drama, music, visual arts, and design) in education using inter/trans-disciplinary perspectives.


Associated Faculty
Alison Leonard
Sandra Linder

Bilingual/Multilingual Research

Research foci include: emergent bilingualism, first and second language development and learning in and out-of-school, as well as language ideologies and policies as they interact with schooling for linguistically diverse students.


Associated Faculty
Mikel Cole
Susan Fullerton
Sara Mackiewicz

Early Childhood Learning and Development

Research encompasses learning and developmental processes from birth to age 8.


Associated Faculty
C.C. Bates

Susan Fullerton
Anna Hall
Sandra Linder
Sara Mackiewicz
Jonda McNair
Dolores Stegelin

Informal Education

Research includes examination of the effectiveness of informal (after-school, summer, recreational) programs on student learning and development.


Associated Faculty
Dave Fleming
Cassie Quigley
Mindy Spearman

Integrated Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM)

Research examines the possibilities related to meaningfully integrating the STEM disciplines.


Associated Faculty
Nicole Bannister
Matthew Boyer
S. Megan Che

Michelle Cook
Cynthia Deaton
Danielle Herro
LaGarrett King
Alison Leonard
Sandra Linder
Jeff C. Marshall
Cassie Quigley
Andrew Tyminski

International-Global Education

Research expertise in this area includes international teaching, study abroad, international education and postcolonial studies.


Associated Faculty
S. Megan Che
Cassie Quigley
Mindy Spearman
Dolores Stegelin

Learning Sciences

Research examines the many ways technology impacts the learning process.


Associated Faculty
C.C. Bates
Matthew Boyer
Michelle Cook

Cynthia Deaton
Danielle Herro
Alison Leonard
David Reinking
Deborah Switzer
Pennie Vargas

Legal and Policy Issues in Education

Research focuses on special education legal and policy issues, juvenile delinquency, desegregation and religion.


Associated Faculty
David Barrett
Mikel Cole
Robert Green
Antonis Katsiyannis
Suzanne Rosenblith
Joseph B. Ryan

Mixed Methods and Design-Based Research

Mixed methods research is the complementary use of quantitative and qualitative research methods in the collection and analysis of data, integration of findings and conclusions drawn from findings, while a design-based research is pragmatic and goal-oriented.


Associated Faculty
Matthew Boyer
Michelle Cook

Jennie Farmer
David Reinking
Pennie Vargas

Motivation and Learning

Research examines both student and teacher motivation and cognition related to the learning process.


Associated Faculty
Nicole Bannister
Michelle Cook

Susan Fullerton
Linda Gambrell
Alison Leonard
Sandra Linder
Jeff C. Marshall
Deborah Switzer

Professional Development and Educational Quality

Research examines the various interventions and programs that better prepare in-service and pre-service educators.


Associated Faculty
Nicole Bannister
David Barrett
C.C. Bates

Matthew Boyer
S. Megan Che
Michelle Cook
Cynthia Deaton
Sandra Linder
Jeff C. Marshall
Lienne Medford
Debbie Smith
Pamela Stecker
Andrew Tyminski 

Qualitative Research Methodologies

Research that examines the teaching and learning processes using such traditions as ethnography, case study, phenomenology, grounded theory, historical and narrative research as well as emerging methodologies such as photo voice, self-study, portraiture and arts-based research.


Associated Faculty
Nicole Bannister
Matthew Boyer
S. Megan Che

Cynthia Deaton
Sandra Linder
Cassie Quigley
 

Research, Evaluation, Measurement and Statistics

Studies in education employing hierarchical linear modeling, advanced regression analyses, regression discontinuity design, structural equation modeling.


Associated Faculty 
Dave Barrett
Jennie Farmer
Antonis Katsiyannis

Social, Historical, Philosophical Foundations of Education

Research examines major issues in the foundations of education including segregation, religion, gender and democracy through several disciplinary lenses.


Associated Faculty
Beatice Baily
Robert P. Green Jr.
LaGarrett King
Suzanne Rosenblith
Mindy Spearman 

Social Justice and Educational Equity

Research examines multiple factors and issues related to educational access, individual agency, collective identity and barriers to quality education.


Associated Faculty
Nicole Bannister

S. Megan Che

Mikel Cole
Alison Leonard
Cassie Quigley
Mindy Spearman
 

Sustainability Education

Sustainability education is a 21st century reincarnation of the environmental education field with attention to sociocultural and economic factors affecting the environment. Education for sustainability seeks to educate students about creating a future where relationships between the environment, economic systems and human culture remain healthy.


Associated Faculty
Michelle Cook
Cynthia Deaton
Cassie Quigley
Mindy Spearman

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