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Ed.D. in Curriculum & Instruction

The Ed.D. in Curriculum & Instruction is a terminal graduate degree that prepares graduates for positions in PK-12 settings, higher education, foundations, NGOs, and government agencies.  Graduates will be prepared for employment as curriculum specialists, faculty members, and educational consultants where the emphasis is on the preparation of professionals, the application of practice, and the development of policies related to curriculum and the education of professionals.  The Ed.D. program is designed to prepare students to strategically confront the complex realities and challenges facing schools today and in the future from a broad-based perspective.

Potential optional areas of emphasis include: English Education, Gifted Education, Mathematics Education, Science Education, Social Studies Education, and Instructional Technology.

Prerequisites and Admission Requirements

Students must have an approved master’s degree. Additionally, applicants must have a minimum of three years full-time teaching experience, at least one recommendation from a current supervisor, and GRE scores no more than 5 years old that meet the Curry School’s minimum entrance requirements for doctoral study (at or above 500 Verbal (old scoring)/153 (new scoring), 600 Quantitative (old scoring)/148 (new scoring) and 4.5 in Analytic Writing OR equivalent scores on the new GRE exam). Unofficial scores are accepted when applying; however, once admitted official score will be required. Applications must include a goal statement (typically 1 to 2 pages) and a writing sample from the applicant's masters program.

Application Due Date

December 15

Degree Requirements

It is imperative that students be knowledgeable of Curry School requirements for the Ed.D. as specified in the Graduate Record of the University of Virginia.  The following guidelines are conceived as detailed extensions of the overall Curry School requirements.  Ultimately, a student’s doctoral program committee is responsible for program approval.  Students must maintain the  Ed.D. Record of Progress.  Up to 24 credits from a current master’s degree may be applied toward the Ed.D (earned within five (5) years of application to the program), provided the program area determines that the courses are relevant to the doctoral program.  Initial decisions about transferring credits are made in conjunction with the student’s advisor upon entering the program.  Final decisions are made in concert with the program committee.

The Ed.D. in Curriculum & Instruction requires a minimum of 78 hours.  There is a 24-semester hour core requirement.  In addition, students must take a minimum of 18 semester hours in research and 12 semesters hours of electives or courses in a supporting area—either English Education, Mathematics Education, Science Education, or Social Studies Education.  An internship of 12 semester hours, typically beginning in the student’s second year of full-time study, must be completed. Students are encouraged to complete their internship in their supporting area.  Twelve (12) additional credits related to the final capstone project round out the required 78 credits.  Of the Curry classes that are required, 36 hours must be completed after admission to the Curriculum & Instruction Ed.D. program.  Students must maintain a Record of Progress that documents progress in the program.

Residency Requirement:  Ed.D. candidates must complete at least one semester (Fall, Spring, Summer) of full-time (12 hours) graduate work which is specified on the Record of Progress form.

Faculty Evaluation:  Student progress, performance, and professional behavior may be evaluated by the program area faculty at any time.  Following such evaluations, advisors will notify students about the assessment of their progress in the program and inform them of any deficiencies identified and the required action to remain in good standing.  Failure to remediate deficiencies may result in dismissal from the program.

Research Methodology Coursework:

Ed.D. students will take a minimum of 18 hours of research coursework.  Required courses include Introduction to Educational Research, Reading the Research Seminar, Introduction to Educational Statistics (Stat 1), and Qualitative Analysis (Qual 1).   In addition, students will also take at least one additional quantitative research methods class and one additional qualitative research methods class.
The required research classes should be completed before the preliminary examination.

Doctoral Assessments

Assessment of student progress will be continuous and multifaceted during a student’s enrollment.

Student Annual Report:  Each Ed.D. student will complete an annual report describing his or her growth and accomplishments. The report will guide students in reflecting on their own learning and progress and also allow faculty to assess student progress toward program goals.

Preliminary Examination: Doctoral students in good standing will take a preliminary examination, generally in the middle of the second semester of the first year of full-time coursework, designed to determine the likelihood of the student’s continued success in doctoral study.  Part-time students in good standing will complete the preliminary examination after the completion of 12 credit hours in the program.  (Good standing is determined by successful completion of 12 credit hours of doctoral coursework designed to prepare students to take this exam.)  The purpose of the exam is to ensure student proficiency in key skills of synthesizing research literature, effective writing, and oral presentation necessary for advanced-level doctoral studies.  Guidelines and the rubric for the preliminary examination can be found in the Curriculum and Instruction Ed.D. Student Handbook. After the exam, the committee recommends one of the following:  The student a) continues in the program without contingencies; b) continues in the program with contingencies; c) is advised to apply for transfer to another program; or d) discontinues doctoral study.

Comprehensive Examination: After the conclusion of all required course work, students will complete a written comprehensive examination to demonstrate understanding of the knowledge base and methodology in the area of curriculum and instruction and demonstrate readiness to undertake doctoral capstone research.  The examination will be graded independently by at least two faculty members according to the Ed.D. Assessment Rubric for Comprehensive Examinations.  In the event of discrepant scores, a third faculty member will read the work and adjudicate.  After reading each part of the exam, the committee may a) judge it satisfactory; b) judge it unsatisfactory; or c) require an oral exam for purposes of clarifying the student’s responses.  Students who are successful with Parts A and B of the comprehensive exam move toward the Capstone.  Students who are not successful with Part A and/or Part B are given one opportunity to rewrite the exam for reconsideration. 

Capstone Project:  The goal of the Ed.D. degree is to prepare practitioner-scholars; thus, all Ed.D. students will complete a capstone proposal and project.  Practitioner-scholars are expected to develop and disseminate knowledge for the improvement of practice by drawing on both experience and systematic inquiry. Given this distinctive role, the purpose of the capstone project is to provide prospective practitioner-scholars with a supervised opportunity to demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and understandings that they have acquired in their course of study. Ed.D. students are expected to identify a problem of importance to practitioners and apply what they have learned (i.e., use-inspired disciplined inquiry) in order to address the problem. The capstone will build on this inquiry to develop and make recommendations regarding practices, programs and/or policies and will communicate the results of this inquiry and development to appropriate audiences.

Ed.D. Handbook:  This document further explains program requirements.

Funding Opportunities

Departmental funding is available on a competitive basis to full-time students.  Funding for Ed.D. students is limited to three years.      

Students may apply for federal financial aid, including work-study. Information about federal aid programs, including applying using the FAFSA, can be found through Student Financial Services. Additional financial aid information can be found on Curry's Financial Aid webpage.

Typical Length of Study

Students will ordinarily complete the program in 3 years of full-time study. Some students may take longer to complete requirements, depending on internships and other responsibilities.  Ed.D. students may also study on a part-time basis.  All course work must be Curry delivered. Additionally, part-time students must complete at least one academic semester of their program as a full-time graduate student (12 hours).

Semester of Entry:

Students must be enrolled continuously at the University during the fall and spring semesters while working toward the Ed.D. degree. If students are not taking courses or working with a committee they may maintain enrollment by paying a University non-resident fee through the Office of Admission in the Curry School. Failure to maintain continuous enrollment will require students to reapply for admission. Students must be enrolled for dissertation hours during any semester in which they are working with their committee.

Full or Part Time:

This degree can be earned on a full-or part-time basis.

Course Overview

Core Requirements

A minimum of 24 semester hours of core coursework is required.  Options for core courses include:

  • EDIS 5055 Models of Instruction
  • EDLF 7180 Tests and Measurements
  • EDIS 5500 Assessment of Curriculum K-12
  • EDLF 7230 Curriculum for the Gifted
  • EDIS 7250 Gifted Models and Strategies
  • EDLF 7390 Differentiated Instruction
  • EDIS 7800 Fundamentals of Curriculum
  • EDIS 8800 Principles of Curriculum Design
  • EDLF 8810 Policy in Teaching and Teacher Education
  • EDIS 8820 Advanced Seminar: Curriculum
  • EDIS 8855 Diversity in Education
  • EDLF 5500 K-12 Educational Policy


Coursework in Research

A minimum of 18 semester hours of research methods coursework is required.  Students must take at least 2 quantitative research methods courses and 2 qualitative research methods courses. Options for research methods courses include:

  • EDLF 7300 Foundations of Ed Research         
  • EDLF 7310 Educational Statistics-Stat I
  • EDIS 7852 Reading the Research                     
  • EDLF 8300 Experimental Design-Stat II
  • EDLF 7402 Program Evaluation                         
  • EDLF 7404 Qualitative Analysis
  • EDLF 8310 Correlation & Regression—Stat III
  • EDLF 8440 Advanced Qual Analysis
  • EDLF 8450 Qualitative Analysis with Computers
  • EDLF 5500 Data Management


Electives OR Coursework in One Supporting Area

A minimum of 12 semester hours is required.  Coursework is determined in concert with your program committee.  Possible supporting areas include:

  • English Education
  • Gifted Education
  • Mathematics Education                
  • Science Education             
  • Social Studies Education
  • Instructional Technology

Other Requirements

Internship—A minimum of 12 semester hours must be completed.

Preliminary Examination

Comprehensive Examination

Capstone Project—A minimum of 12 semester hours must be completed.

The information contained on this website is for informational purposes only. The Undergraduate Record and Graduate Record represent the official repository for academic program requirements. These publications may be found at

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