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 the three-year, multidisciplinary program are uniquely prepared for leadership positions in a variety of K-16 settings, including, national nonprofits and philanthropies, as well as state and federal departments of education. 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 Curriculum

    The Curry School offers a doctoral experience unlike any other learning institution. Every candidate receives a personalized experience 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 Date

    Applications for full-time, on-Grounds study are due on the following date.  Departmental funding is available on a competitive basis.

    Fall Start: December 1

    Applications for part-time study, on-Grounds or online, are due on the following dates:

    Fall Start: April 15

    January Start: November 1

    June Start: March 15

    Decisions will be available 6 weeks after the deadline.

    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.

    Start An Application
  • Prerequisites & Admission Requirements


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

    Admissions Requirements

    1. At least one recommendation from a current supervisor.
    2. GRE scores no more than 5 years old that meet the Curry School’s minimum entrance requirements for doctoral study (153 verbal, 148 quantitative, and a 4.5 analytic writing. Unofficial scores are accepted when applying; however, once admitted official scores will be required. 
    3. Goal statement (typically 2-3 pages).
    4. Writing sample from the applicant’s masters program.
    Application Checklist Scholarships & Financial Aid Request More Information
  • 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 will ordinarily complete the program in 3 years, although some full time students may take longer to complete requirements, depending upon internships and other responsibilities.
    • Part time students experience a variety in how long the program lasts, however, individual students will not exceed the 7-year time to degree limit.

    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.

  • Related Programs & Areas of Emphasis

    Doctoral candidates will work with their assigned advisor to select 12 credit hours in an "area of emphasis" that best suits their individual needs and professional goals.

    Curriculum & Instruction

    Science Education

    Instructional Technology

    English Language Learner Education

    Reading Education

    Gifted Education

    Social Foundations of Education

    Special Education

    Educational Innovation

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 hours, consisting of:

    • Eighteen (18) semester hour core requirement
    • Minimum of eighteen (18) semester hours in research
    • Twelve (12) semester hours of courses in a supporting area (area of emphasis)
    • Six (6) semester hours of electives
    • Six (6) semester hours internship requirement, typically beginning in the student’s second year of full-time study
    • Twelve (12) additional credits related to the final capstone project.

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

  • Core Requirements—18 semester hours

    EDIS 5422: Education Across Cultures

    EDIS 7025: Teachers as Leaders

    EDIS 7035: Professional Knowledge

    EDIS XXXX: Instruction: Advanced Seminar (TBA)

    EDIS 8082: Curriculum: Advanced Seminar

    EDIS 7810: K12 Assessment

  • Research Methodology Requirements—18 semester hours

    EDLF 8382: Educational Inquiry for Practitioners

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

    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: Reading Research and Policy

    The required research courses must be completed prior to the preliminary examination.

  • Area of Emphasis Requirements—12 semester 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 8800: Principles of Curriculum Design
    • EDIS 7230: Curriculum for the Gifted and Talented
    • EDIS 5470: ESL Assessment and Curriculum Design
    • EDIS 7000: Introduction to Instructional Design
    • EDIS 7930: Differentiated Instruction
    • EDIS 7820: Creativity and Problem Solving

    Instructional Technology Area of Emphasis (Choose four classes)

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

    Gifted Area of Emphasis (Choose four classes)

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

    English as a Second Language (Choose four classes)

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

    Applied Behavior Analysis Area of Emphasis (Choose four classes)

    • EDIS 5133: Principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (3 credits)
    • EDLF 7330: Single Case Research Design (3 credits)*
    • EDIS 5134: Behavior Observations and Analysis (3 credits)
    • EDIS 5136: Ethics of Behavior Analysts (3 credits)
    • EDIS 5135: Behavioral Intervention (3 credits)
    • EDIS 5137: Explicit Instruction (3 credits)*

    *All courses must be taken in order, except for EDLF 7330 and EDIS 5137.

    *Note: If you are interested in sitting for the BCBA examination, you will need to take 4 courses for the Ed.D. as well as the remaining 2 additional courses. In addition, you will need to provide evidence of supervised experience. The Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) sets the requirements for board certification. 

  • Internship Requirement--6 semester 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 area of their 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 Requirement—12 semester hours

    Students complete a minimum of 12 credit hours of supervised capstone research (EDIS 9991 – Capstone Research) that is completed in conjunction with the advisor and the student’s capstone committee. Program completion requires successful passage of the written capstone and oral defense.

    Students enroll in 12 capstone hours total. The distribution of these credits are:

    • EDIS 9991-Comprehensive Examination (1 credit)
    • EDIS 9991-Capstone Proposal & Defense (1 credit)
    • EDIS 9991-Capstone Project & Defense (1 credit)
    • EDIS 9991-Capstone Research (9 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

    Doctoral students in good standing will take a preliminary examination after a minimum of 12 semester hours (in the middle of the second semester of full time study or after four courses for part-time study). 

    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 12 semester 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 is not duplicative of 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 Curriculum and Instruction Ed.D. Student Handbook.

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.