Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business

Clemson rolls out South Carolina’s first Executive Leadership PhD program


Clemson University is launching a brand-new program targeting full-time, working professionals – the Executive Leadership PhD Program.  

Through its Department of Management, the Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business is launching a unique three-year, AACSB-accredited program that will allow candidates to earn their PhD while working in their full-time careers. Inaugural applicants will participate in a research boot camp this October and begin the program in July of 2022. 

Kristin Scott

“This new offering at Clemson will take a deep-dive into leadership that will allow participants to pursue a research agenda in academia or significantly expand their skillset for growth in the business world,” said Kristin Scott, director of the Executive Leadership Ph.D. program. “Graduates of our program will be qualified for faculty positions or be armed with advanced research techniques they can utilize in transforming organizations.”

Clemson’s Executive Leadership Ph.D. program is different from the handful of other advanced executive PhD programs that exist nationwide in that students are exposed to and will need to demonstrate mastery of leadership literature, advanced analytical techniques, and research methodology.

“Working hand-in-hand with the Department of Management’s internationally recognized faculty in research practicums and completing a dissertation, students will gain the necessary skills to lead rigorous and meaningful research projects that will qualify them to pivot to an academic career or provide rocket fuel to accelerate an existing business career,” said Craig Wallace, Department of Management chair.

Craig Wallace

Applications for the program, which will utilize distance and face-to-face learning, will begin being accepted in August 2021. Applicants will need a master’s degree and have successful leadership experience of preferably a decade, or more.

“Candidates will experience a small and selective cohort that will create a high-touch program. In addition to lasered-in focus on leadership, the program will provide them with deep analytical skills,” Scott said. “Clemson’s world-class management faculty will be joined by global scholars who will be guest faculty throughout the three-year program.”

The Executive Leadership PhD Program is offered in a hybrid format with virtual class meetings and three-day residencies three times per semester (nine per year) and is designed to be completed in three years over nine semesters while attending fall, spring, and summer terms.

Other features of the program include:

•            Core curriculum covers organizational behavior, strategic management, entrepreneurship, and a comprehensive spectrum of research methods courses that are taught by senior researchers in these fields.

•            Leadership curriculum covers individual, team, cross-cultural and strategic leadership theory, content, and application.

•            Students complete a year-long research practicum with the intent to publish research at the practicum’s conclusion.

•            Doctoral dissertations are conducted one-on-one with a faculty research advisor.

“This advanced program removes the rigidity of traditional PhD offerings so executives can elevate their understanding of leadership without leaving the workforce,” added Wallace. “Our faculty is comprised of accomplished researchers and mentors who will deliver an innovative portfolio of courses that will take a leader’s career to the next level.”

The Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business is taking applications now. Further information on the Executive Leadership PhD Program can be obtained by contacting Kristin Scott, professor of Management and director of the program at execphd@clemson.edu.

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