Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction Program Guide

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September 24, 2021

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Building a curriculum is a complex task. It involves strategic decision-making and a deep understanding of how different age groups learn and retain information.

Students in online doctorate in curriculum and instruction programs learn the educational theory, cultural competency, and learning measurement techniques needed to develop comprehensive curricula for diverse student bodies. The degree provides insight into subjects, such as psychology, child development, ethics, and law.

Graduates can secure high-level positions in a growing field. Between 2019 and 2029, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 6% job growth for instructional coordinators and 9% job growth for postsecondary teachers.

Should I Get a Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction?

A doctorate in curriculum and instruction provides students with an in-depth understanding of educational theory and how it applies to the classroom. Coursework teaches students to interpret data, integrate new technologies into their curricula, and conduct research in the field.

A doctorate in curriculum and instruction provides students with an in-depth understanding of educational theory and how it applies to the classroom.

Most doctoral programs in curriculum and instruction take 3-5 years to complete. Students can pursue a Ph.D. or a doctor of education (Ed.D.) degree. Ph.D. graduates can pursue careers in academia as professors and researchers, while Ed.D. graduates can become instructional coordinators and school leaders.

Online doctorate in education programs often allow busy professionals to work full time while still attending classes asynchronously.

What Can I Expect from a Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction Program?

There are two types of doctorate in curriculum and instruction programs: an Ed.D. and a Ph.D.

While these two degrees share many similarities, they prepare students for different careers. Graduates of Ed.D. programs typically go on to work as principals, superintendents, and curriculum designers. Ph.D. graduates often work in academia, teaching courses and performing research.

Both programs cover educational theory, student learning assessment strategies, cultural competency, advanced research methods, and instructional technology. Coursework allows students to build expertise in areas like student evaluation, educational statistics, and learning measurement. Programs may also allow degree-seekers to specialize their studies in a particular area of the field by choosing a concentration.

Concentrations

Higher Education Teaching
This concentration focuses on leadership in higher education and the design and implementation of online instruction. Students learn to develop curricula for in-person and online programs at the college level, build advanced problem-solving skills, and conduct research in their field.
Instructional Design and Technology
This concentration prepares graduates to lead the way in technology-based education and learning. Students explore how to implement the newest technologies in classrooms, research which technologies have the greatest learning outcomes, and may help develop new educational technologies.
Learning and Development
Degree-seekers in this concentration study the latest educational theories and research to maximize student learning outcomes. Graduates can pursue careers in academia and research and leadership roles at educational institutions.
Urban and Multicultural Education
Designed to help graduates become leaders in social equality and diversity in education, this concentration prepares students to develop culturally competent curricula and advocate for social justice within schools. Learners study organizational leadership, education administration, and diversity advocacy.

Still Looking for the Right Fit? Discover Similar Programs

How to Choose a Curriculum and Instruction Doctoral Program

Before applying to any doctoral program, evaluate factors like cost, location, program design, and course and concentration offerings.

You must also decide whether you want to enroll full or part time. Working professionals often find it easier to balance their work responsibilities with part-time studies, and online programs often offer even more scheduling flexibility through asynchronous coursework.

Students must decide whether a Ph.D. or Ed.D. program best suits their career goals and evaluate their financial needs and the cost of individual programs. While many schools offer assistantships to doctoral students to help cut out-of-pocket expenses, it's critical to determine the tuition rates at each school on your shortlist.

Programmatic Accreditation for Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction Programs

Programmatic accreditation is an important factor to consider when seeking a doctorate in curriculum and construction. Programs that participate in this accreditation process demonstrate their commitment to maintaining academic quality in education.

Doctoral programs in curriculum and instruction receive accreditation from the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). The council evaluates teacher preparation programs to ensure they provide the most up-to-date and highest quality curricula available.

Related Programs That Might Interest You

Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.

Find the top online doctorate in curriculum and instruction programs.

How to Get Into a Curriculum and Instruction Doctoral Program

While each program is unique, most doctorate in curriculum and instruction programs maintain similar admission requirements. Most programs require a minimum of two years of teaching experience, a master's degree with a 3.0 GPA or higher, competitive GRE scores, a current resume, and letters of recommendation. Some programs require an interview.

Most school websites list program requirements and contact information for the admissions department.

Read Our Guide to Graduate Admissions.

What Can I Do With a Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction?

Earning a doctorate in curriculum and instruction can open the door to careers in educational administration, curriculum design, postsecondary teaching, academic research, and school leadership. Graduates can find work in K-12 schools, postsecondary institutions, school districts, and the government.

Popular Career Paths

How Much Money Can I Make With a Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction?

Since a doctorate in curriculum and instruction programs is the terminal degree, graduates can pursue the most lucrative and advanced careers in the field. According to the BLS, instructional coordinators earn a median salary of $66,970, postsecondary teachers make a median annual salary of $80,790, and school principals earn $98,490 per year.

Certifications and Licenses a Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction Prepares For

Frequently Asked Questions About Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction Programs

What is curriculum and instruction? true

Curriculum and instruction centers around the design and implementation of new curricula while improving teaching methods and integrating the latest technology into the classroom. Professionals who work in this field improve student learning outcomes through research, strategy, and the analysis of student and teacher data.

Is a doctorate in curriculum and instruction worth it? true

If you aspire to a career providing quality education for students of all ages and you feel confident about dedicating yourself to several years of rigorous studies, a doctorate in curriculum and instruction can be a worthwhile investment.

Is a Ph.D. more prestigious than an Ed.D.? true

Both a Ph.D. and an Ed.D. are considered prestigious degrees in the education field. While neither degree is better than the other, students who want to go on to work as administrators are better suited to an Ed.D., whereas learners who plan to become postsecondary teachers should pursue a Ph.D.

How much does it cost to get a doctorate in curriculum and instruction?

The cost of a doctorate in curriculum and instruction can vary substantially from school to school. Some programs may waive the cost of tuition for doctoral students, while others may charge hefty tuition rates. Students can often save on tuition by attending an in-state program. Many Ed.D. programs charge $350-$800 per credit.

How long does it take to get a doctorate in curriculum and instruction?

A doctorate in curriculum and instruction often takes 3-5 years to complete depending on a student's course load and dissertation requirements.

Photo Credit: Getty Images | Klaus Vedfelt | 1049271026

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