College of Education

Clemson remains among top-ranked national online graduate education programs for fourth straight year


U.S. News & World Report has once again ranked a Clemson University College of Education program among the top online graduate education program in the nation in 2021. The college’s Master of Education in Teaching and Learning program was ranked #2 out of more than 300 online programs. This marks the fourth year in a row that it was first or second.

According to George J. Petersen, founding dean of the College of Education, maintaining a top ranking in a crowded field of online education programs is no small feat. He said the ranking is once again proof of the hard work put into curriculum design and delivery by a faculty and staff that see the value in online programs that allow busy education professionals to further their careers.

Petersen said that amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the field of online education has only become more crowded and competitive, so maintaining a top ranking is something of which the faculty and staff of the College of Education should be proud.

“We are committed to offering graduate programs that provide a best-in-class education experience,” Petersen said. “We are once again thrilled by this recognition, and we’re sure that our alumni and current graduate students are, too. COVID-19 has presented many challenges, so I see this recognition as proof that our college has risen to the occasion and adapted to provide much-needed online tools to our students.”

Jeff Marshall, associate dean for research and graduate studies for the college, said faculty and staff behind the program have continued to focus on the best ways to shape education content and delivery. Over the past year, they have prioritized constant, effective communication and support for students in the program while continuing to improve the online delivery for a growing number of students in the program.

Marshall said the online program has allowed the college to provide high-quality, inclusive continuing education to teachers throughout the state and nation in areas both urban and rural. Addressing the complex and varied needs of these educators has further strengthened and refined the program.

Marshall said college leadership need only look to graduate program enrollment to see they’re on the right track with program design and delivery. Since fall 2016, enrollment in the program has gone from 19 students to 287 in 2020. He said this growth indicates an excitement and high engagement with K-12 teacher audiences. Marshall said this increase coupled with four years of top rankings demonstrates a high-growth program with unsurpassed excellence.

“We’re extremely proud of this program, and we never stop in our efforts to refine and improve it,” Marshall said. “We ensure that the program is an excellent experience for educators from their beginning inquiry and application until they graduate 18 months later.”

Marshall said achieving a top ranking requires a dedication to program quality and a determined commitment to graduating each student who enters the program. According to U.S. News, the highest-ranked programs at the master’s level perform well on traditional metrics — such as having selective admissions and credentialed faculty — while also successfully adapting their course delivery for educating students remotely. U.S. News provides comprehensive data and ranking of online programs to prospective students.

The College of Education offers master’s and educational specialist degrees that prepare professionals for such fields as teaching, school administration, counseling, human resources and leadership in both higher education and athletics. The college offers many classes online to maximize accessibility and maintain quality.

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