CLEMSON — The Clemson University Graduate School received a record-breaking 6,082 applications for the 2010-11 academic year, a 20 percent increase over last year. The university reports 3,752 graduated students were enrolled, up from 3,600 last year.

This year there are nine Fulbright Scholars from seven countries, and 10 National Science Foundation Fellows in graduate studies at Clemson.

The popularity of graduate programs at Clemson can be attributed to a 2004 university commitment to make the graduate school more competitive.

“We undertook a deeply reflective series of benchmarking and planning activities, and have been working diligently to implement the plans that we developed ever since,” said Bruce Rafert, dean of Clemson’s Graduate School. “Major actions have included looking at everything from tuition to stipends to health care to the graduate opportunities we were providing for our students.”

Rafert said graduate school applications increase nearly 20 percent each year, with the biggest growth being in the number of students seeking a doctoral degree. The number of doctoral degrees awarded annually have increased from about 100 in 2004 to about 180 now, and that should continue to rise, Rafert said.

“We have an exceptionally dedicated group of graduate program coordinators working successfully in a very competitive national environment to recruit and educate not only the best students across South Carolina, but also across the nation and world,” Rafert said.

The graduate school offers more than 140 programs of study.

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