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Ed.D. Education Systems Improvement Science

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

    The Doctorate in Education Systems Improvement Science, Ed.D., is an applied professional doctoral degree designed for certified PK-12 practitioners who have previously completed an Education Specialist (Ed.S.) degree. Students complete dissertations in practice related to complex issues facing South Carolina educators, in which they identify opportunities for change and innovation and document improvement.

    Based on The Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED) Framework, the Ed.D. prepares scholarly practitioners to solve problems of practice in schools. Students develop the theoretical and practical knowledge base and research skills needed to design innovative solutions that positively impact local students, families, and communities. Designed for working professionals, the program helps students build a strong background in leadership, ethics, diversity, research, and educational improvement science.

    Improvement Science is a method of inquiry that helps scholarly practitioners define problems, implement changes, and determine whether the changes result in improvement. The Ed.D. program includes field embedded research with the goal of moving theory into practice to improve educational outcomes.

  • Admission Requirements

    Admission to the Program
    Applications for the Ed.D. in Education Systems Improvement Science are accepted for the Summer term only. Admission decisions are made following the deadline below.

    Application Deadline

    January 15th – Priority Deadline

    • Applications will be reviewed for early decision.


    March 1st – Traditional Deadline

    • Applications should be submitted for full consideration.


    Application Requirements
    To be considered for the program, applicants must:

    • Have completed a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university with a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale or a recognized international university with a baccalaureate degree equivalent to a US bachelor's.
    • Have an Educational Specialist (Ed.S.) degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
    • Complete any missing prerequisite requirements following a review of Ed.S. transcript, if from a non-partner institution.
    • Submit a Graduate School application which requires:
      • Unofficial transcripts (Official transcripts will be required if you are accepted into the program.)
      • Competitive, official GRE (Graduate Record Exam)- taken within the last 5 years OR one of the following:
        • Equivalent academic admissions exam (e.g., GMAT, LSAT, MCAT) – taken within the past 5 years
        • A GPA of at least 3.0 in the most recent graduate degree
        • At least 5 years of classroom experience AND at least 2 years in a leadership position (e.g., building or district level)
      • A current resume
      • Three letters of recommendation.  Two can be professional recommendations but at least one should be from someone to speak on your academic achievement.  This can be from a partner institution (Winthrop, The Citadel, or Coastal Carolina) or other accredited institution. 
      • A statement of research interest/ problem of practice you plan to examine in the program.
      • Official TOEFL/IELTS scores for international students

      Additional information concerning supporting materials can be found at:

  • Program Requirements

    For more detailed program information, please refer to the program handbook.

    Education Systems Improvement Science Ed.D. (42 credit hour minimum)

    Core Courses (6 credit hours):
    EDIS 9100 Models for Whole School Reform
    EDIS 9200 Systemic Educational Reform

    Cognate Courses (minimum 6 credit hours):
    As a part of the program of study, each student must complete six graduate credit hours approved by the student’s doctoral advisory committee. The cognate is focused on issues contextually important to practitioners in South Carolina. The cognate should support the student’s professional goals and research program. As the EDIS program grows, additional courses may be developed.
    EDIS 9300 Rural Education
    EDF 8710 Cultural Diversity in Education
    ED 8540 International Perspectives on Poverty and the Schools P-12

    Research Courses (12 credit hours):
    EDF 9270 Quantitative Research Designs and Statistics for Educational Contexts
    EDF 9790 Qualitative Research in Education
    EDIS (EDL) 9360 Advanced Program Evaluation
    EDL 9880 Directed Research

    Dissertation Course: (minimum 18 credit hours):
    ED (EDF, EDSP) 9910 Doctoral Dissertation Research

  • Financial

    Tuition and Fees

    Explore information on tuition and fees using the Student Financial Services’ tuition and fee calculator. ( Be sure to choose the ‘graduate’ tab at the top of the page.)

    Financial Aid

    For information regarding Financial Aid, please contact the office of Student Financial Aid.

  • Faculty

    Coming Soon

  • Alumni News and Resources
    For more information on alumni news and events, please visit our Alumni Resources website.
  • Find Out More

    For more information regarding the program or questions associated with applying to this program, please contact:

  • Links

    Program Handbook coming soon

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Clemson University Ph.D. in Education Systems Improvement Science



Program Handbook