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.

The GRE is not required for applicants applying to begin in 2021.  Due to test center closures related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic applicants may apply without submitting GRE scores.

  • 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 studies, 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

    The GRE is not required for applicants applying to begin in 2021.  Due to test center closures related to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic applicants may apply without submitting GRE scores.


    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 a 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 Field Study
    • 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 8855: Education & Diversity

    EDIS 8060: Instruction: Advanced Seminar

    EDIS 8082: Curriculum: Advanced Seminar

    EDIS 8084: Assessment: Advanced Seminar

  • Research Methods Sequence—18 credit hours

    EDLF 5301: Academic Writing for Practitioner-Scholars (taken with EDLF 8382)

    EDLF 8382: Educational Inquiry for Practitioners

    EDLF 8383: Qualitative Inquiry with Data Management & Analysis

    EDLF 8384: Lab of Practice of Qualitative Inquiry (taken with EDLF 8383)

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

    EDLF 8386: Lab of Practice of Survey Inquiry (taken with EDLF 8385)

    EDLF 8387: Practical Evaluation for Practitioners

    EDIS XXXX: Capstone Seminar

    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

    Students select one of the following Areas of Emphasis and work with their assigned advisors to determine which courses to take.

    Curriculum and Instruction (Choose four classes)

    • EDIS 5025: Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment
    • EDIS 5080: Differentiated Instruction
    • EDIS 5470: ESL Assessment and Curriculum Design
    • EDIS 6200: Principles of Curriculum Design
    • EDIS 6220: Assessment of Curriculum K-12
    • EDIS 6800: Creativity and Problem Solving
    • EDIS 7000: Introduction to Instructional Design
    • EDIS 7230: Curriculum for the Gifted and Talented

    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 6800: Creativity and Problem Solving
    • EDIS 7072: Performance Improvement
    • 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.

  • Field Study--6 credit hours

    Students complete 6 credit hours of Field Study (EDIS 8970 – Field Study) after the completion of 24 hours of course credits. The internship requires 200 clock hours of applied work focused on a professional setting that is 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 a Field Study 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 a total of 10 Capstone hours. These credits are allocated as follows:

    • 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 ten(10) years of admission 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. The C&I EdD program includes the following five Milestone Assessments. Students must pass each milestone in succession in order to continue to progress through their doctoral studies.

  • Problem of Practice White Paper Proposal

    Students complete the Problem of Practice White Paper Proposal while taking EDLF 8382 Educational Inquiry for Practitioners, which is the first course in the Research Methods Sequence and is typically taken during the first semester of doctoral study.

  • 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 preliminary examination asks students to define a specific problem of practice (PoP), conduct a literature review about that PoP, and craft a set of recommendations to address that PoP. 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.

  • Field Study Portfolio and Presentation

    Full-time students undertake the Field Study after one year of full-time study; part-time students work with their advisors to determine the best timing for the Field Study, which typically takes place after a minimum of 24 credit hours of study.

    The 6-credit Field Study challenges students to perform unpaid field work at a school, district, nonprofit, or other educational setting, where students investigate and address a specific problem of practice (PoP) or other compelling question faced by the partner organization.

    Each student’s culminating task is to create a comprehensive Field Study Portfolio that captures the student’s work at their partner organization and sets forth the Final Product – a piece of curriculum, an academic program, an operational system, etc. – that the student creates to address the chosen POP or other organizational challenge.

  • 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. 

    At the conclusion of their coursework, all students complete a Comprehensive Exam, which asks students to synthesize their coursework and to delve more deeply into the academic literature pertaining to a specific area of interest. Students work with their respective advisors to develop a comprehensive exam question that is of particular interest to the student. Exam questions should focus on one or more key themes that connect to students’ studies in the C&I Core and in their chosen Area of Emphasis. The Comprehensive Exam challenges students to conduct a targeted literature review with two goals in mind: to deepen their learning about specific topics or themes that are of particular interest, and to refine the literature-review skills that will be critical to the final Capstone Project.

  • Capstone Project Assessment

    After completing all required coursework and milestones, Ed.D. students will complete a Capstone proposal and project.

    A capstone project is intended to be of direct benefit to practitioners and, ultimately, the public. It is also a demonstration of a student’s ability to carry out disciplined inquiry and argumentation in accordance with Curry’s standards of performance, which should prepare students to be leaders in their fields.

    Through the Capstone project, students should demonstrate the capacity to:

    • Consider problems of practice from perspectives other than those derived from their own experience and early training.
    • Challenge prevailing assumptions and beliefs about teaching, learning, leadership, and what it means to be a professional in a democratic society.
    • Make sound, defensible, research-based judgments regarding how current practices can be undertaken more effectively and efficiently.
    • Apply skills of practical inquiry in a rigorous and systematic way to address problems of practice. Such skills should include, but not be limited to, locating and framing problems; acquiring, organizing, and analyzing information; and planning, implementing, and evaluating decisions.
    • Develop recommendations regarding practices, programs, and/or policies.
    • Take into consideration the needs of specific individuals and the characteristics of particular contexts.
    • Effectively communicate the results to appropriate audiences.

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

School Faculty & Research By The Numbers

  • 20

    $20M+ Research Funding Generated in FY 2017

  • 131

    Faculty Members at the School

  • 23

    Research Centers and Labs at the 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.