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Doctor of Philosophy in Education

Doctor of Philosophy in Education - Curriculum and Instruction Concentration

Dr. Charlene Fleener, Graduate Program Director

The Doctor of Philosophy in Education with a concentration in curriculum and instruction is the degree most often desired by classroom teachers/SLMS who want to continue their education but remain in the classroom or school library media center,individuals who want to teach curriculum and instruction (including specialties such as library science) in higher education, and/or individuals in supervisory positions in school divisions who wish to continue their education in curriculum and instruction. With a solid grounding in assessment, evaluation, and quantitative and qualitative research, the rigorous course of study provides an opportunity for students to develop a strong background in curriculum and instruction while providing the flexibility to pursue individual interests.The curriculum described below contains elements that will, if completed successfully, provide research expertise, curriculum and instruction skills and experience, and the ability to serve the nation's schools, colleges and universities and contribute to global education.


For admission to this program, individuals should have a completed master's degree in an appropriate discipline from a regionally accredited university. Degrees that are equivalent to a master's degree such as L.L.B., J.D., and D.D.S. are also acceptable.Prospective students should also have prior course work in statistics, and curriculum and instruction.If this assumption is not met, then additional course work will be added to the candidate's graduate program of study.Please see prerequisites on the curriculum description for specifics.

Application requirements for the PhD in Education Concentration Curriculum and Instruction are as follows:

  • A completed application form which is available online or from the Office of Graduate Admissions.
  • Official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate courses and degrees completed.
  • Official report scores from the Graduate Record Examination (verbal, quantitative, and analytical) taken within the last five years. GRE scores expire after five years; however, candidates who have completed the exam prior to five years before the application deadline may submit those scores for consideration if they are provided from an official source such as a transcript or form provided by the Educational Testing Service. Old Dominion University reserves the right to determine what is an "official source."
  • Applicants whose native language is not English must submit a current score for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOFEL) of at least 600 (written) or 250 (computer based).
  • Applicants must submit a 1000 word statement of their academic and professional goals with an emphasis on how the Ph.D. degree in Curriculum and Instruction will contribute to the achievement of the stated goals.
  • Three letters of reference from sources capable of commenting on the applicant's readiness for advanced graduate study. It is recommended that these letters come from employment supervisors and/or university faculty members.

Admission to the Ph.D. programs in the Department of Educational Curriculum and Instruction is competitive. A number of criteria are considered including graduate and undergraduate GPA scores, GRE scores, writing ability, a personal interview, and the match between student interests and faculty expertise. Meeting the minimum requirements established by the department does not ensure admission to the program. Students applying to the PhD programs in the department should have a minimum score of 500 on the verbal reasoning, 500 on the quantitative reasoning and 4.5 on the analytical writing component of the GRE. A minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.8 and a minimum graduate GPA of 3.25 are recommended.

Program Completion and Exit

In order to complete the program students must fully comply with the curriculum, all requirements noted elsewhere in the University catalog for graduate students, and within the PhD in Education Handbook. It is the responsibility of the student to obtain these materials and complete required portions.

Prerequisite Coursework

All students admitted (Regular and Provisional) into the PhD in Education program in Curriculum and Instruction must complete the following prerequisite courses unless they have previously completed equivalent graduate level coursework or have appropriate educational experience.

  • ELS 660, Coun 635, ECI 635, ECI 619, OTED 635 Introduction To Research in Education

  • ELS 732 Statistics Applied to Research in Educational Leadership - Data Driven Decision Making

Introductory Core: (6 hours - Required courses )
ECI 740/840 Critical Issues: Curriculum Research
ECI 724/824 Readings in Contemporary Society
Research Core: (15 hours - Required Courses)
ELS 832 Statistics Applied to Research in Educational Leadership - Data Driven Decision Making II
ELS 833 Advanced Research Design and Analysis
ECI 790/890 Qualitative Research Design
ECI 791/891 Program Evaluation
ECI 748/848 Assessment and Evaluation
Content Area Credits: (24 hour minimum)
ECI 701/801 Seminar in Education: Theories of Learning and Instruction
ECI 721/821 Advanced Curriculum and Development
ECI 722/822 Curriculum Seminar in Content
ECI 788/888 Seminar in the Multicultural Environment
ECI 752/852 Curriculum Problems in the Changing Urban School and Society
ECI 741/841 Change Issues in Curriculum and Instruction
ECI 731/831 Instructional Technology Trends in Curriculum and Instruction
ECI 735/835 Technology in Education Instructional/Administrative Usage
ECI 795/895 Topics in Education (Not to exceed 6 credits)
Additional ECI courses or substitutions as approved by advisor/committee and ECI PhD Graduate Program Director. With approval of advisor/committee, a student may select up to 4 courses fromand of the other education PhD concentrations with no more than 2 courses from any one of these areas.
Dissertation Seminar: (3 credits)
Dissertation Seminar
If seminar is waived by doctoral committee, the hours are added to the content.
ECI 899
12 credits minimum

The Ph.D. program in Education with a concentration in Curriculum and Instruction is comprised of courses totaling a minimum of 60 academic credit hours beyond the masterï's degree. The curriculum includes an introductory core of 6 credits,a content areawith 24 credits minimum,a research component including 15 credit hours, the 3 credit dissertation seminar and the dissertation which will include a minimum of 12 credit hours. The dissertation will often include more than 12 credit hours depending on the length of time necessary for completion. Students entering the program may also need to complete introductory statistics courses if they have not had such courses or cannot demonstrate competency at a satisfactory level. Students who come into the Ph.D. program with a master's degree in an academic field that is unrelated to curriculum and instruction and/or who have not completed courses to develop competency in specified areas may need to complete these courses in addition to the required courses.

Under normal circumstances, admissions will be offered to build efficient cohort groups for this type of advanced study. In order to enhance the experience of the students and to increase the efficiency by which courses are offered, cohorts will be limited. The limited number of students assures that there is an adequate number of full-time faculty to serve the students through advising and other duties, particularly when the cohorts reach the dissertation stage of the program.

To build a cohesive cohort group, the introductory core will be offered on the Old Dominion University campus each summer. It will be expected that all newly admitted students will come to campus for these courses during the first summer after which they are admitted to the program. Residency at a second intensive set of courses the following summer is recommended but not required.

A minimum of two semesters of full-time study is required of students in the program to meet University residency requirements.One of the semesters of full-time study (defined as completion of nine credit hours fall and spring or six credits during the summer) must be accomplished by the completion of the intensive summer noted above. The second semester of residency can be accomplished in several ways. Students may complete nine credit hours during any spring or fall semester or may take six credits during the summer. Courses taken via TELETECHNET or other distance education methodologies are considered nonresidentïal courses, so that taking three TELETECHNET courses during a semester may complete the second residency requirement.

Admissions are conducted on a rolling basis. Prospective students are advised to complete their application and send in all related materials by March 15 for Summer/Fall admission and October 15 for Spring admission.