Ed.D. in Curriculum & Instruction

The Doctorate in Education (Ed.D.) is a terminal graduate degree for devoted practitioners committed to promoting quality and equity in classrooms, school systems, and communities. Graduates of this multidisciplinary program are uniquely prepared for leadership positions in a variety of settings, including K-12 schools and universities. We now offer this program part-time and online.

  • A Cohort of Leaders

    Your classmates, research partners, and faculty mentors represent some of the most diverse, passionate leaders from across the country. Within this community, you and other practitioner scholars will combine academic, theoretical, and practical understandings with personal practice and self-reflection to become change leaders in service of others. 

  • Personalized Course of Study

    The Curry School offers a doctoral experience unlike any other learning institution. Every candidate maps out a personalized course of study based on their professional knowledge and research interests, and the part time option allows dedicated practitioners to flexibly earn their degree while working from anywhere in the world.

  • Experiential Learning

    Critical reflection, knowledge, and research lead to transformational learning, and when combined with field internships, mentor supervision, collaborative group work, and a variety of technologies, our doctoral candidates build a robust portfolio of practical work. 

“As a result of getting my doctorate I am now able to read, understand, and critique educational research in a way that I was unable to do prior to coming back to Curry. After completing my capstone, which broadly focused on educational equity, I also feel I am more prepared to advocate for historically underserved populations. ”

– Victoria Hobson, Ed.D. '19

Program Overview & Requirements

Familiarize yourself with the Ed.D. program prerequisites and admission requirements, as well as the deadlines, typical length of study, and available funding opportunities. We also encourage you to look over the areas of emphasis, which can help shape your time and body of work while in the program.

  • Ed. D. Degree Information
  • Application Due Dates (Ed.D. studies begin in the fall term)

    For full-time study on-Grounds: December 1

    For part-time study, on-Grounds or online: January 15

    Applicants are responsible for ensuring that all required materials are submitted by the deadline. Incomplete applications will not be read and may be cancelled if left incomplete. Materials should be tracked using the checklist in the application. Decisions will be available 6 weeks after the applicable deadline.

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  • Prerequisites & Admission Requirements


    1. Master’s degree from an accredited institution. 
    2. Minimum of four years full-time teaching experience (or equivalent professional experience).

    Admissions Requirements

    1. Two letters of recommendation, at least one of which must come from a current supervisor.
    2. GRE scores that are no more than 5 years old. Successful applicants typically have scores of at least 153 verbal, 148 quantitative, and 4.5 analytic writing. Unofficial scores are accepted when applying; however, once admitted official scores will be required. 
    3. Goal statement of approximately 2,000 words.
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  • Typical Length of Study

    The Ed.D. can be earned on a full time or part time basis either online or on-grounds.

    • Full-time students ordinarily complete the program in 3 years.
    • Part-time students typically complete the program in 4-7 years (and cannot take longer than 7 years to do so).

    Students must be enrolled continuously at the University during the fall and spring semesters while working toward the Ed.D. degree. If circumstances require a pause in forward progress, students must petition to take a formal leave of absence from the program. Except in limited circumstances, taking the leave of absence does not extend the time limits for completing the degree.

  • Funding Opportunities

    Departmental Funding

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

    Federal Financial Aid

    Students may apply for federal financial aid, including work study. Information can be found at Student Financial Services.

Program Curricula

It is imperative that students remain knowledgeable of Curry School requirements for the Ed.D. as specified in the Graduate Record of the University of Virginia. These guidelines are detailed extensions of the overall Curry School requirements. Ultimately, a student’s doctoral committee is responsible for program approval. ​

  • Degree Summary

    The Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction requires a minimum of 72 credit hours, consisting of:

    • Eighteen (18) credit hours of the C&I Core
    • Minimum of eighteen (18) credit hours of the Research Methods Sequence
    • Twelve (12) credit hours of courses in a supporting Area of Emphasis
    • Six (6) credit hours of electives
    • Six (6) credit hours of internship
    • Ten (10) credit hours related to the culminating Capstone Project
    • Two (2) credit hours of examinations

    Of the required classes, 36 credit hours must be completed after admission to the Curriculum & Instruction Ed.D. program. There are no residency requirements.

  • C&I Core—18 credit hours

    EDIS 7025: Teachers as Leaders

    EDIS 7035: Professional Knowledge

    EDIS 7810: K12 Assessment

    EDIS 8082: Curriculum: Advanced Seminar

    EDIS 8855: Special Topics: Education & Diversity

    EDIS XXXX: Instruction: Advanced Seminar (TBA)

  • Research Methods Sequence—18 credit hours

    EDLF 5301: Academic Writing Lab (register for this first)

    EDLF 8382: Educational Inquiry for Practitioners

    EDLF 8383: Qualitative Inquiry with Data Management & Analysis

    EDLF 8384: Qualitative Lab of Practice

    EDLF 8385: Survey Inquiry for Practitioners with Data Management & Analysis

    EDLF 8386: Survey Lab of Practice

    EDLF 8387: Practical Evaluation for Practitioners

    EDIS XXXX: Capstone Seminar

    The required research courses must be completed prior to the preliminary examination. Note that the three labs listed above – EDLF 5301, 8384, and 8386 – are each 1 credit-hour; the other courses are 3 credit-hours each.

  • Area of Emphasis—12 credit hours

    Student should work with the assigned advisor to determine which courses are most appropriate to achieve program goals. The areas of emphasis and the associated courses are listed below:

    Curriculum and Instruction (Choose four classes)

    • EDIS 5025: Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment
    • EDIS 5470: ESL Assessment and Curriculum Design
    • EDIS 7000: Introduction to Instructional Design
    • EDIS 7230: Curriculum for the Gifted and Talented
    • EDIS 7820: Creativity and Problem Solving
    • EDIS 7930: Differentiated Instruction
    • EDIS 8800: Principles of Curriculum Design

    Instructional Technology Area of Emphasis (Choose four classes)

    • EDIS 5075: Online Instructional Procedures
    • EDIS 7000: Introduction to Instructional Design
    • EDIS 7010: Courseware Tools
    • EDIS 7070: Instructional Materials Design
    • EDIS 7072: Performance Improvement
    • EDIS 7076: Technology Learning Systems and Culture

    Gifted Area of Emphasis (Choose four classes)

    • EDIS 5000: Exceptional Learner
    • EDIS 7220: Introduction to the Gifted
    • EDIS 7230: Curriculum for the Gifted and Talented
    • EDIS 7250: Models and Strategies for Teaching the Gifted
    • EDIS 7270: Differentiation of Instruction for Gifted Learners
    • EDIS 7280: Creativity and Problem Solving

    English as a Second Language (Choose four classes)

    • EDIS 5270: Reading & Writing Instruction for ELLs
    • EDIS 5423: English Linguistics
    • EDIS 5424: Second Language Acquisition
    • EDIS 5428: ESL Methods PreK-12
    • EDIS 5470: ESL Assessment & Curriculum Design
    • EDIS 7700: Foundations of Reading Instruction

    Educational Innovation Area of Emphasis (Choose four classes)

    • EDIS 7072: Performance Improvement
    • EDIS 7280: Creativity and Problem Solving
    • EDIS 7805: Past as Prologue
    • EDIS 7815: Pro-Seminar: Innovations in Education
    • EDIS 7890: Educational Entrepreneurship in Action-Practicum

    Leadership in Reading and Literacy

    • Students work with their advisors to select courses that align with their interests. Students in this Area of Emphasis take a total of 18 credits of courses focused on Leadership in Reading and Literacy - 12 credits as is required for all Areas of Emphasis, plus an additional 6 credits in lieu of electives. Please contact Dr. Tisha Hayes (llh6e@virginia.edu) with any questions.
  • Electives—6 credit hours

    Students complete 6 credit hours of electives. These courses must be graduate level (numbered 5000 and above) and are selected by the student in dialogue with the student’s advisor.

  • Internship--6 credit hours

    Students complete 6 credit hours of internship (EDIS 9995 - Internship) after the completion of 24 hours of course credits. The internship requires 200 clock hours of applied work in a professional setting related to the student's developing expertise. Students can complete the internship in 3-credit increments (100 clock hours) over two semesters or during one intensive semester of 6 credits (200 clock hours). Students create an internship portfolio which is juried by faculty as the assessment for this program requirement.

  • Capstone Project—10 credit hours

    Students complete a Capstone Project that encompasses three core components: 1) submitting and defending a written proposal; 2) conducting research and writing your Capstone Project; and 3) defending your Capstone Project.  This work totals a minimum of 10 credit hours and is supervised by the student’s advisor and the student’s Capstone committee. Program completion requires successful passage of the written Capstone and oral defense.

    Students enroll in 10 Capstone hours total. The distribution of these credits are:

    • EDIS 9991-Capstone Proposal & Defense (1 credit)
    • EDIS 9991-Capstone Project (Research and Writing) (8 credits)
    • EDIS 9991-Capstone Defense (1 credit)
  • Examinations—2 credit hours
    • EDIS 9991-Preliminary Examination (1 credit)
    • EDIS 9991-Comprehensive Examination (1 credit)
  • Transferring Credits

    Up to 24 credits from a current master’s degree may be applied toward the Ed.D. (if earned within five (5) years of application to the program, and 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.

    University of Melbourne students who have completed the Clinical Teaching Master's Degree are also eligible to transfer 24 credits (100 credit points) into the Ed.D. program and can discuss details with their admissions coach and/or advisor. 

Doctoral Assessments

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.

  • Preliminary Examination

    Full-time students take the preliminary examination after the equivalent of one semester of full-time study; part-time students work with their advisors to determine the best timing for the examination.

    The purpose of the examination is to ensure student proficiency in key skills of synthesizing research literature, effective writing, and oral presentation necessary for advanced-level doctoral studies. After the examination, the committee recommends one of the following:

    • The student continues in the program without contingencies;
    • The student continues in the program with contingencies;
    • The student is advised to apply for transfer to another program; or
    • The student is advised to discontinue her/his doctoral study.
  • Internship Portfolio and Presentation

    All Ed.D. students are required to complete 6 credit hours of unpaid service focused on solving a persistent problem of practice in the field of Curriculum & Instruction. The internship is typically completed in the second year of full-time study and after 24 semester hours for part-time students. The internship requires:

    • An application;
    • Internship portfolio;
    • Presentation to faculty and students; and
    • Evaluation of the internship’s goals from both the student and the internship supervisor in the field. 


  • Comprehensive Examination

    Students complete a comprehensive examination during or immediately following the final semester of their doctoral coursework. Students must pass the comprehensive examination before proposing their capstone research. 

    The comprehensive examination is designed to assess students’ ability to apply their accumulated knowledge to a real-world practical and scholarly task, such as developing a set of core courses for a teacher education program, submitting a single-authored manuscript for publication, or conducting a pilot program evaluation. Projects are designed with input from the advisor and approval by the student’s doctoral program committee. The work on the comprehensive examination should contribute to a student's growing professional agenda; it can build on previous work, but it ican not duplicate previous scholarly efforts or course activities. Students who are not successful with the comprehensive examination are given one opportunity to rewrite the exam for reconsideration.

  • Capstone Project Assessment

    All Ed.D. students will complete a Capstone proposal and project.

    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.

    Guidelines and the rubric for the preliminary examination, as well as additional information on doctoral assessments, can be found in the Graduate Record.

Ed.D. Global Partnership

Partnering with the University of Melbourne broadens resources, encourages practitioner collaboration, and promotes diversity of thought–all within our online community.

Learn More

Curry School Faculty & Research By The Numbers

  • 20

    $20M+ Research Funding Generated in FY 2017

  • 131

    Faculty Members at the Curry School

  • 23

    Research Centers and Labs at the Curry School

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 http://records.ureg.virginia.edu/index.php.