Clemson Graduate School

Clemson Graduate School

Policy Studies

General Information

Degrees Offered


The PhD in policy studies program is designed around interdisciplinary precepts and built upon the subject matter strengths of a land-grant University. The program integrates the social sciences with specific fields of interest, enabling you to be grounded in the basics of policy studies, while preparing you to conduct high-level research, emphasizing quantitative, economic and political skills to solve public problems.

About the Program

For additional information, please contact the program coordinator (Bruce Ransom)

Application Requirements


Successful candidates typically have a minimum GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) for both the bachelor’s and master’s degrees. You must submit the following to be considered for enrollment:

  • The online application
  • Unofficial Transcripts
    Official Transcripts required upon acceptance. Do not send official transcripts until you have received your letter of acceptance.
  • GRE scores (verbal, quantitative and analytical portions)
  • Three letters of recommendation from persons familiar with your academic and/or job performance
  • A biographical statement
  • A statement of interest that expresses your reasons for seeking the PhD in policy studies

In addition, international students must submit scores on the TOEFL examination. After the initial screening, the admissions committee reserves the option of interviewing you about your academic backgrounds, scholarly interests and career objectives.

You may apply on the web at Applications should be received no later than four weeks prior to registration for domestic students (late August for the fall semester and early January for the spring semester). Every required item in support of your application must be on file by that date. International students living abroad must have completed applications (including all supporting materials) to the Graduate School by May 1 for the fall semester and by October 1 for the spring semester.

Required Documents

For additional information, please contact the program coordinator (Bruce Ransom)

Financial Aid

To see the proposed Graduate Tuition Rates for this academic year, click here.

The School or Program offers a number of graduate assistantships to students each year based on merit. These are offered in the form of stipends and the additional benefit of tuition remission. Students must be enrolled in a minimum of 9 credit hours per semester to qualify for a graduate assistantship and must work a minimum of 10 hours a week as a teaching or research assistant or perform other tasks assigned by the School or Program.

Tuition for 2007-08 is $2,810 per semester for in-state students and $5,622 per semester for nonresidents. Off-campus rates are $330 per hour for in-state students and $660 per hour for nonresidents. Graduate assistants pay a flat rate of $950 per semester. Graduate fellows pay South Carolina resident fees.

Graduate research assistantships and the potential for salary supplements for externally funded projects are available. If you are awarded an assistantship, you will pay reduced tuition and fees. Decisions about awarding graduate assistantships are made in April and early October for the fall and spring semesters, respectively.

Course of Study

Program of Study

PhD: This doctoral degree will provide you a firm understanding of the basics of policy studies and a land-grant-oriented subject domain—a cutting-edge practice for policy studies programs in the US.

The core curriculum (33 credit hours) is interdisciplinary, drawing heavily from the policy sciences, including economics, political science/public administration, quantitative methods and management science. The four concentration areas are:

  • Environmental and natural resource policy
  • Agricultural policy
  • Economic development policy
  • Science & technology policy

Concentration courses (18 credit hours) and elective courses (12 credit hours) come largely from linkage disciplines, which are related to the life and physical sciences, technology fields and the social sciences. Policy application is made through seminars, practicums and workshops as well as in-house research activities. In addition, you must research, write and defend a dissertation (at least 18 credit hours).

Current Program


The Jim Self Center on the Futurefocuses on South Carolina’s future. The center brings to the debate leaders from all walks of life and varied political persuasions. The agreements that emerge provide grassroots leaders with the matrix that helps shape South Carolina’s destiny.

The South Carolina Water Resources Center(SCWRC) is one of 54 institutes established by the US Congress through the Water Resources Research Act of 1964. The SCWRC provides an avenue for applied research in water resources across South Carolina and a mechanism of access to water resources expertise and information for scientists, resource managers and concerned citizens.

Our Students

There are 17 graduate students enrolled in the program, five of whom are women and five of whom are international students.

Students generally come from one of two backgrounds—those with a strong science/technology base and those with grounding in the social sciences or the humanities.

Graduates are employed in state and national government entities, “think tanks,” consulting firms, international lending institutions and academia. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of the program, graduates are well grounded in both

the natural and policy sciences and capable of bridging the gap between science and technology and the policy realm. Analysts with this background are particularly valuable in an increasingly complex arena, and employment prospects are quite strong.

Program Coordinator

Additional Contact

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