Clemson Graduate School

Clemson Graduate School

Degree Requirements

Master's Degree


Course Work

The total number of graduate credits required for the degree is determined by the student's advisory committee, consistent with the specific program guidelines and Graduate School policy. These credits constitute the core of the student's Graduate Degree Curriculum (form GS2) and appear on the form at the location entitled REQUIRED COURSES (GRADUATE LEVEL ONLY). Undergraduate deficiencies are listed at the designated location. Supplemental courses, carrying undergraduate or graduate credit and chosen to broaden the student's academic experience, are not required on form GS2. However, if a listing is desirable, such courses will be listed as departmental requirements at the designated location.

The Graduate School requires each degree program to consist of a minimum of 30 semester hours of graduate credit with at least 12 semester hours, exclusive of master's thesis research (891), in the major discipline as defined by the advisory committee, subject to degree program regulations. A minor outside that degree program, if chosen, shall consist of at least six semester hours in that area. The following conditions, appropriate for the types of degrees, must also be observed:

  1. Master of Arts or Master of Science (Thesis Option). Each program includes a minimum of 24 semester hours of graduate credit exclusive of six semester hours of master's thesis research (891). At least one-half of the total graduate credit hours required by the advisory committee, exclusive of thesis research, must be selected from courses numbered 800 or above.

  2. Master of Arts or Master of Science (Nonthesis Option). Each program includes a minimum of 30 semester hours of graduate credit, none of which may be master's thesis research. At least one-half of the total graduate credit hours required by the advisory committee must be selected from courses numbered 800 or above.

  3. Professional Master's Degrees. Each program includes a minimum of 30 semester hours of graduate credit. Except for professional programs in the College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities that require a thesis, research credits (891) may not be included in the program requirements. Any additional requirements for these degrees are described under the colleges which offer the degrees.

Residence

There is no University-wide residence requirement for a master's degree. However, individual degree programs may establish a requirement, which will be described and publicized for all prospective master's degree candidates in the particular program.

Time Limit

A master's student has six years to complete a degree. Therefore, all course work to be credited toward any master's degree must have been enrolled in and completed within six calendar years prior to the date on which the degree is to be awarded. For example, a person graduating in the spring semester must have started and completed all course work within the 72-month period beginning with the summer term six years earlier. When recommended by the student's advisory committee and approved by the graduate dean, as many as six semester hours of course work at Clemson University completed outside the six-year limit may be validated by a written comprehensive examination based on the latest syllabus and course content. Such examinations will be under the direction of the department regularly offering the course or courses for which the student seeks validation. Independent study courses are not subject to validation. Course work completed outside the six-year time limit at an institution other than Clemson University may not be transferred to Clemson or validated for graduate credit.

Foreign Language

A reading knowledge of one approved foreign language is a departmental requirement for certain Master of Arts and Master of Science degrees. Languages commonly accepted are French, German, Spanish and, in some cases, Russian or a classical language. Upon the recommendation of the chair of the Department of Languages, knowledge of another language may be approved provided that adequate justification can be presented, that the language is not native to the student and that a proper testing procedure can be established. Any expense incurred in obtaining assistance for such testing must be paid by the student.

The language level expected is a basic reading knowledge equivalent to that provided by two years of study at the college level. The requirement may be satisfied in one of the following ways: 1) by completing a 202 course or a course at the 300/400 level in the approved language with a grade of B or better; 2) by passing a translation test administered by the Department of Languages; 3) by passing French, German or Spanish 151. The requirement must have been completed within six years prior to the student's finishing the graduate degree.

The Department of Languages will administer the foreign language translation test three times annually: on the second Thursday of October, on the second Thursday of March and once during the summer, in conjunction with the final examination of the specific graduate language courses, if offered, or otherwise on the second Thursday in July. The student will be assessed a $20* fee for the test administration for foreign language translations tests, unless the graduate student fulfills the language requirement within a designated language course. Applications, available in the Department of Languages, must be filed with the Department of Languages at least three weeks before the test date.

On the recommendation of the chair of the Department of Languages, a student may satisfy the requirement by having completed at least 12 semester credit hours in an approved foreign language with an average grade of B or better. These credit hours must be earned from an accredited baccalaureate institution and must have been completed in total within six years prior to the student's finishing the graduate degree.

Off-Campus Research

Although thesis research is normally performed at Clemson University, it is recognized that Clemson University may not have on its campus certain specialized equipment or facilities that would be desirable for advanced training at the master's level. Thus, for those cases in which thesis or other advanced study is required and the facilities to pursue such study are not available on the Clemson campus, permission may be granted for off-campus research. The requirements to be satisfied in such cases are identical to those listed for the doctoral degree under "Off-campus Research" , with the exception that the off-campus research supervisor need not hold the Ph.D. degree, provided he/she is qualified and certified for the supervisory position by the department and college involved and by the graduate dean.

Final Examination

Each candidate for the master's degree, after completion of the thesis, if required, and at least three weeks before the degree is to be awarded, must pass a final examination. The examination may be oral and/or written, and is administered by the advisory committee or a standing committee appointed in accordance with published program policies. The purpose of the examination is to ascertain the general knowledge of the candidates with particular reference to the major and minor subjects and the thesis or departmental report.

The Graduate School will be notified of the time and place of the examination at least 10 days prior to the time scheduled. Members of the faculty, as well as members of the Graduate Curriculum Committee and the dean of the Graduate School, are invited to attend the examination. Within five days after the examination, the examining committee, through form GS7, will notify the Graduate School of the results of the examination. A student who fails a final examination may be allowed a second opportunity only with the recommendation of the advisory committee. Failure of the second examination will result in dismissal from the Graduate School. A majority decision is required; dissenting members of the examining committee should feel free to forward a minority report to the Graduate School.

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Specialist in Education Degree

The requirements pertaining to residence, time limits and final examinations for master's degrees also apply to the Specialist in Education Degree. Course work required includes 30 semester hours beyond the master's degree to be selected from five areas prescribed by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Doctor of Philosophy Degree


Course Work

Work leading to the Doctor of Philosophy degree is planned to give the student a comprehensive knowledge of his or her field of specialization and a mastery of the methods of research. The degree is not awarded solely on the basis of course work completed, residence or other routine requirements. The final basis of granting the degree is the student's grasp of the subject matter of a broad field of study, competency to plan and conduct research, and ability to express himself or herself adequately and professionally in oral and written language.

The advisory committee aids the student in developing a graduate degree curriculum, which includes the selection of specific courses and their sequence. Although no minimum course work requirements exist for the doctoral degree, committees are encouraged to require courses other than those that directly support the dissertation research. Work in the minor field or fields, if required, normally comprises from 12 to 24 hours in courses carrying graduate credit. A minimum of 18 hours of doctoral research is required. A minimum of 12 credit hours of non-research coursework is required (for students matriculating in August 2013 or later; students matriculating before August 2013 are subject to the requirements in effect at the time of their matriculation). Should the direction of study or research interest change, the student may request the appointment of a new adviser.

Residence

Residence is a necessary concept in graduate education, particularly in the preparation of the dissertation. The purpose of residence is to require the student to spend a specified minimum amount of time as follows:

  1. in direct personal association with members of the faculty of the University;

  2. under direct tutelage and advisement of a research adviser and advisory committee in the department or program of the major; and

  3. participating in other normal activities pertinent to graduate education such as seminars and close association with other student researchers.

To receive the Doctor of Philosophy degree, the student must complete at least 15 semester hours of graduate credit including research credit hours (991) on the Clemson University campus in a continuous 12-month period.

For students employed substantially more than half time, a statement specifying the manner in which the residence requirement is to be satisfied shall be formulated by the advisory committee and be included in the graduate degree curriculum. Also, upon completion of the final examination, the student's committee will forward to the Graduate School a statement approved by the department chair and college dean certifying that residence requirements have been met.

Time Limit

Because no minimum course work requirements exist for the Doctor of Philosophy degree, the time limitation for completion is determined by the dates by which essential ingredients of the degree are completed. The following must be passed in the five-year period prior to graduation:

  1. Comprehensive Examination,

  2. Foreign Language Examination(if required by program)

  3. Defense of Dissertation

  4. Approval of Dissertation by the Graduate School.

Foreign Language

Certain doctoral programs include a foreign language requirement. Languages commonly accepted are French, German, Spanish and, in some cases, Russian or a classical language. Upon the recommendation of the chair of the Department of Languages, knowledge of another language may be approved provided that adequate justification can be presented, that the language is not native to the student and that a proper testing procedure can be established. Any expense incurred in obtaining assistance for such testing must be paid by the student.

The language level expected is a basic reading knowledge equivalent to that provided by two years of study at the college level. The requirement may be satisfied in one of the following ways: 1) by completing a 202 course in the approved language with a grade of B or better; 2) by passing a translation test administered by the Department of Languages; 3) by passing French, German or Spanish 151. The requirement must have been completed within six years prior to the student's finishing the graduate degree.

The Department of Languages will administer the foreign language translation test three times annually: on the second Thursday of October, on the second Thursday of March and once during the summer, in conjunction with the final examination of the specific graduate language courses, if offered, or otherwise on the second Thursday in July. The student will be assessed a $20* fee for the test administration for foreign language translation tests, unless the graduate student fulfills the language requirement within a designated language course. Applications, available in the Department of Languages, must be filed with the Department of Languages at least three weeks before the test date.

The foreign language requirement must be satisfied in a five-year period prior to the awarding of the doctoral degree. On the recommendation of the chair of the department of languages, a student may satisfy the requirement by having completed at least 12 semester credit hours in an approved foreign language with an average grade of B or better. These credit hours must be earned from an accredited baccalaureate institution and must have been completed in total within six years prior to the student's finishing the graduate degree.

Off-Campus Research

Under special circumstances, it may appear desirable that doctoral research be conducted away from the Clemson University campus. If such research is to be performed under the immediate direction of a Clemson University faculty member acting as dissertation adviser and supervisor, then in order to accommodate the student as well as to exercise proper and necessary control over this most important phase of doctoral study, the following additional requirements will be made:

  1. Written Consent and Research Plan. The student must have the written consent of his or her dissertation adviser, full advisory committee, department chair, college dean and the graduate dean. Prior to departure from campus, the student must submit a written plan for his or her research effort to the advisory committee for approval. The plan should include a discussion of the problem and intended scope of the investigation, and should be structured in terms of a specific time frame.

  2. Statement from Organization Where Research Will Be Conducted. The advisory committee may require a statement from an appropriate officer of the organization at which the student will be located agreeing to (a) the student's plan to complete dissertation research using the organization's equipment and facilities; (b) the apportioning of at least 25 percent or other appropriate amount of the student's employment hours to dissertation research; and (c) the organization's release of patent rights or copyrights arising from discoveries or concepts that evolve during the course of the student's doctoral research.

  3. Travel. The student may be required to travel to Clemson University, not at the expense of Clemson University, to meet with the dissertation adviser and advisory committee as often as is deemed necessary by the committee. Further, the student may, at the discretion of the dissertation adviser and advisory committee, be required to return to the Clemson campus subsequent to the performance of the mechanics of the research for the purpose of comprehensive review and analysis of the research.

  4. Continuous Enrollment. The student must maintain continuous enrollment at Clemson University each semester while the research is in progress. It will be the student's responsibility to make suitable arrangements with the department to maintain this continuous registration. Normally the student will not be required to register for summer sessions; however, he/she must be registered for the term that involves the review of the completed dissertation and/or the final examination.

  5. Supervision and Reports. When doctoral research is conducted away from the Clemson campus and under the immediate direction of a dissertation supervisor who is employed by an organization other than Clemson University, in order to accommodate the student, as well as to exercise proper and necessary control over this important phase of doctoral study, the following requirements must be met:

    1. An employee, having earned a Ph.D. and being engaged in the general subject area of the student's research, must be designated by an officer of the organization to supervise the student's research work.

    2. The employee must be recommended to the provost by the appropriate college dean for appointment as an adjunct professor of Clemson University.

    3. A résumé of the research supervisor must be submitted to the student's full advisory committee for its review and recommendation to the graduate dean.

    4. The research supervisor must submit a final statement regarding the dissertation research, as well as interim reports if the committee deems such as necessary.

    5. The off-campus research supervisor cannot serve as the student's major adviser.

Qualifying Examinations

Some doctoral programs require preliminary or qualifying examinations prior to the comprehensive examination. The structure, duration, review and re-examination policies for these examinations are defined in writing by the program faculty and are available from the program coordinator. A copy of these policies is also to be filed with the Graduate School.

Comprehensive Examinations before Admission to Candidacy

Prior to taking the comprehensive examination before admission to candidacy, the doctoral student must have selected an advisory committee and filed an approved graduate degree curriculum (form GS2) with the Graduate School.

Satisfactory completion of the comprehensive examination must occur no less than six months and no more than five years prior to the date of graduation. For examinations consisting of several parts (for example, a written plus an oral, or a written in cumulative format), the date of completion will coincide with the date of the last examination activity. However, the time span from the beginning to the end of the examination must not exceed 12 months, and failure of any portion that negates further examining will be reported as a failure of the examination. The student has five calendar years after the date of the completion of the comprehensive examination to complete all other degree requirements. A student who completes all the degree requirements will be invited to participate in the next scheduled graduation ceremonies.

A comprehensive examination is attempted only at the recommendation of the student's advisory committee after completion of most of the required course work. The function of the examination, which may be written or a combination of written and oral, is to obtain objective evidence of an adequate intellectual mastery of the areas of the major and minor specializations. This examination must be administered by the Clemson University program faculty offering the degree. The examining committee may be the student's advisory committee or a standing committee appointed in accordance with published program policies. A majority decision is required; dissenting members of the examining committee should feel free to forward a minority report to the Graduate School. The chairperson of the advisory committee will inform the Graduate School of the result, via form GS5, within three weeks following the examination. The student's performance on this examination will determine whether he/she will be recommended for admission to candidacy for the degree.

Should the student fail to pass the comprehensive examination, he/she may be given a second opportunity if so recommended by the examining committee. A second failure shall result in the student being declared ineligible to receive the Doctor of Philosophy degree at Clemson University.

Final Doctoral Examination

The candidate for the Doctor of Philosophy degree must pass a final oral examination (dissertation defense) at least three weeks prior to the time of the commencement at which he/she plans to obtain the degree. The examination will be conducted by the student's advisory committee, and all faculty members are invited to participate. The Graduate School will be notified of the time and place of the examination at least 10 days prior to the time scheduled. Members of the faculty, as well as members of the Graduate Curriculum Committee and the dean of the Graduate School, are invited to attend the examination. Exceptional cases may arise; however, and the guidelines below shall apply to any sponsored projects requiring that results be kept confidential.

This final examination demands a broad and penetrating interpretation by the student of the research project and conclusions. It may include examination of the student in the major and minor fields of specialization.

A student who fails a final oral examination may be allowed a second opportunity only with the recommendation of the advisory committee. Failure of the second examination will result in dismissal from the Graduate School.

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Doctor of Education Degree


Degree requirements pertaining to residence, time limit, and comprehensive and final examinations are the same as those for the Doctor of Philosophy degree. In addition, the candidate for the Doctor of Education degree must arrange with his or her advisory committee to engage in an internship appropriate to his or her field of professional service.

Theses and Dissertations

Candidates for advanced degrees receive academic credit for conducting research and preparing a thesis (master's candidates) or a dissertation (doctoral candidates) under the direction of the research adviser. In those Master of Arts or Master of Science degree curricula requiring a thesis, six credits of research (891) are required. The thesis option curricula in the Master of Architecture, Master of City and Regional Planning and Master of Fine Arts degree programs require 15, 6 to 9 and 15 credits of research, respectively. A dissertation, mandatory for all candidates for the Ph.D. or Ed.D. degrees, requires 18 credits of doctoral research (991) exclusive of any research credits earned at the master's level.

The accumulation of grades of pass in thesis or dissertation research does not imply completion of the research, but only indicates satisfactory progress.

  1. Student Responsibility. The student, in consultation with his or her major adviser, shall provide each remaining advisory committee member with a copy of the manuscript for initial review. This action should take place well in advance of, and not less than three weeks prior to, the final examination and defense of the thesis or dissertation. Students must prepare the manuscript in a publication style acceptable to the advisory committee. When the manuscript is approved by the advisory committee, the thesis or dissertation is presented to the Graduate School for final review and signature prior to duplication.

    Three copies of the thesis or dissertation, required for hard binding, must be submitted to Cooper Library Binding by the deadline date appropriate for the anticipated graduation date. A binding fee of $30* must be paid to the bursar and the completed forms submitted with the duplicated theses or dissertations to Cooper Library Binding. If the student desires, two personal copies may be bound at a cost of $10* per copy; additional copies may be bound at a cost of $15* per copy.

    For doctoral candidates, a fourth copy of the dissertation is required for microfilming and is placed by Cooper Library Binding with University Microfilms Intl. of Ann Arbor, Mich. An additional copy of the approval page, title page and abstract must also be submitted, with the abstract not exceeding 350 words. Occasionally, this will necessitate revision of the longer original abstract, which is retained in all copies. The abstract should be written and edited in a form suitable for publication and database retrieval. It is the responsibility of the candidate to make these revisions; further information may be obtained from the Graduate School. The total microfilming fee is $55* and must be paid to the bursar simultaneously with the binding fees. A fee of $35* is necessary if copyright is desired.

  2. Faculty Responsibility. The research adviser determines when the manuscript is suitable for initial review by the remaining committee members. Guidelines for the review process and a thesis/dissertation review form are available in the departments and the Graduate School. These guidelines are designed to produce a timely review by each committee member and to provide a measure of protection for all affected parties against problems resulting from lack of communication and/or attention. If the student requests, the research adviser is obligated to initiate the thesis/dissertation review form and forward it to the remaining committee members along with the manuscript. The research adviser must be cognizant also of departmental practices regarding the quality of the manuscript at the various review stages and of the wishes of the department chair, as an ex-officio committee member, to exercise the option of approving the thesis or dissertation in its final form.

    Committee members should normally complete the initial review in three weeks or less. Provisions of the guidelines, however, allow for additional time if necessary. Failure of a committee member to complete the initial review within six weeks may result in his or her replacement, provided the student has requested use of the thesis/dissertation review form. A second review after revisions should be completed in one week, with provisions being available for additional time.

    It should be understood that a vote to pass a student on his or her performance at the thesis/dissertation defense (form GS7) does not imply final approval of the thesis or dissertation. Approval of the thesis or dissertation is given by faculty signing the approval page.

Restriction on Use of Theses and Dissertations

Unpublished theses and dissertations submitted to the Graduate School in partial fulfillment of the requirements for graduate degrees and deposited in the University library are, as a rule, open to the public for reference purposes. However, extended quotations or summaries may be published only with the permission of the author and the graduate dean.

Publication Policy

A university's primary function is the accumulation and dissemination of knowledge. It is therefore expected that the results of research performed using University facilities be published in the open literature (i.e., theses, dissertations, journals, magazines or books) and that any information obtained may be freely disclosed by the faculty in the teaching programs of the University.

Exceptional cases may arise, however. The guidelines below shall apply to any sponsored projects requiring that results be kept confidential.

  1. The University shall not accept awards that require research results to be kept confidential forever. A definite term of confidentiality shall be stated in a written nondisclosure agreement and shall not exceed one year beyond the date of notification to the sponsor that a manuscript suitable for publication has been prepared. Exceptions may be granted by the University administration only under unusual circumstances; e.g., national security, national emergency, classified activities or certain confidential agreements.

  2. Students associated with confidential projects must have prior approval for the use of results in preparing reports, theses or dissertations in fulfillment of degree requirements. The Graduate School will normally not accept a thesis or dissertation that must be held in confidence for more than one year. Documents submitted in partial fulfillment of degree requirements will be retained by the Graduate School (or the department in the case of project reports for nonthesis programs) in accordance with the nondisclosure agreement. The student's thesis or dissertation defense shall not be open to those not bound by the nondisclosure agreement.

Patents and Copyright

All students enrolling in the Graduate School at Clemson University do so with full understanding that:

  1. The University has full ownership rights in any inventions, discoveries, developments and/or improvements, whether or not patentable (inventions), which are conceived, developed or reduced to practice, or caused to be conceived, developed or reduced to practice, by graduate students during the course of their research activities conducted as part of any Graduate School curriculum. Any such invention will be handled by the University in the same manner as set forth in The Faculty Manual of Clemson University, the pertinent provision for which appears as Part VIII B entitled "Patent Policy," and

  2. Copyright ownership of any research work will be determined by University policy and by policies of organizations responsible for publishing or distributing copyrighted materials.

Copies of the policies on patents and copyrights are available in the individual departments and colleges and in the Graduate School. Any graduate student who plans to accept a research assistantship or public service assistantship is encouraged to read the policies prior to accepting the assistantship.

Scientific Research

Graduate students conducting scientific research in a student role at Clemson University do so with the full understanding of the following:

  1. At the discretion of their thesis adviser or employment supervisor, as appropriate, students may be required, at the initiation of the research efforts, to maintain and preserve all primary data and materials associated with the research, and deliver these materials to their supervisor in complete, cataloged and identified form before the students will have been deemed to have completed the requirements for their program of study, and

  2. At the discretion of their thesis adviser or employment supervisor, as appropriate, students may be required to keep a clear, concise and complete research notebook(s) as an accurate record of their research activities and deliver these notebooks to their supervisor before they will have been deemed to have completed the requirements for their program of study.


* Subject to change.

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