PhD Programs, Curriculum and Instruction, Doctoral Degree, DoctorateCurriculum and Instruction is one of the cornerstone parts of the field of education. In this concentration, you are the one who designs course materials, design lessons, and more. This field has a major influence on how teachers interact with and teach students, and it is a very broad category. You can choose to specialize in distance education, a particular grade level or subject, or adult education. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that this job is growing at the national average rate of 7%.

Programs in this subject draw on several different disciplines because it is vital that you are very well-rounded as an educator in order to create programs that fit the needs of student and teachers alike. At the doctorate level, you’re likely to learn things like advanced curriculum theory, predictive design and analysis, and research methods.

Why Choose a Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction?

Curriculum and Instruction, PhD, Doctorate DegreeThe curriculum in academic programs and the method of instruction that students receive is a critical aspect of their education, and it is important that the people who design it have a true understanding of how to craft it. A doctoral program will give you a depth of understanding beyond that of any other degree program. With a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction, you will be an expert in your field.

The advanced nature of the classes is going to help you to explore and understand more about the theories behind curriculum design. You will also have a better understanding of research methodologies, how to analyze your findings, and implement them to make sure that you’re creating evidence-based solutions. The degree program will also cover topics in educational administration, education policy and reform, and teacher leadership.

If you’re interested in earning a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction, you could graduate in as little as three years of full-time study depending on the program you select and the amount of time you have to dedicate to your studies.

Earning Your Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction Online

Online College Degree, Doctorate, Doctoral Degree, Masters Degree, Bachelor Degree, Associate DegreeOnline degree programs offer a greater degree of flexibility than traditional programs. First and foremost, you don’t have to relocate to go to the school that suits your financial and academic needs. The structure of the programs is also inherently more flexible. Many programs offer asynchronous courses which means that you will be able to log in at any point during the day or week to complete your coursework. This is ideal for those of you who are working professionals. Of course, the synchronous programs are still created with you in mind as well. Most synchronous courses are held on nights and weekends; these are times that you need to attend class via live stream.

In addition to the convenience aspect, online programs tend to be more affordable because there are fewer fees, no commutes, and often fewer materials that you have to purchase to be able to study. One thing to keep in mind about online doctoral programs is that there may be a few times when you do need to attend campus; this could be seminars, intensives, or just to defend your dissertation (if applicable).

phd in special education online degree programThere are a lot of schools in America that offer online PhD programs in Curriculum and Instruction. That is a good thing because it means that you will have a lot of options when you’re looking for a program that is best for you. However, with more options, that can seem overwhelming. That is why we created this ranking; so you can explore the best options. These are the top 30 best online PhDs in Curriculum and Instruction, and they were ranked according to the following:

Methodology

In order to create our ranking of the top 30 best online PhD programs in Curriculum and Instruction, we started by curating a list of all of the schools that offer such programs. In order to be eligible for consideration, schools must be based in the United State, must hold proper accreditation, and can not currently operate as a for-profit institution. After we created our list, we then gave each school a composite score based on these factors:

  • Freshman Retention Rate (⅓ of final score),
  • Graduation Rate (⅓ of final score), and
  • Affordability (⅓ of final score)

Once each score was calculated, the schools were placed in order accordingly. Alphabetical order was used to break any ties. The data that was used to score each school and talk about the programs presented throughout this article was collected from the schools’ websites whenever it was available. In the event that it wasn’t, we also used the databases of the National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. News & World Report, Niche.com, and CollegeData.

Cost information is represented by the residential cost of attendance as determined by CollegeData. Please bear in mind that this is an estimate and it is not likely that you’ll pay that amount. We include it to help portray the schools as accurately as possible.

OnlineCollegePlan prides itself on transparency and providing you with the most accurate and helpful information and resources. In light of that, we want to point out that no institution is ever given preferential treatment for any reason. However, some schools that would otherwise be present have been omitted either due to insufficient data or per their own request.

  1. MERIT: 271
    View Profile Average Cost: $21,131

    EdD program in Curriculum and Instruction

    University of Florida
    The University of Florida is home to an online EdD program in Curriculum and Instruction. It has a specialization in Teachers, Schools, and Society. The program was designed for practicing educators, and it is described as being job-embedded. This program is not intended for a research-intensive job; instead, this is focused on practice and affecting positive change in your own classrooms.

    The program is presented in a cohort model, and as you go through, you will learn how you can apply theory and research to your decision-making process and serve your students to the best of your ability. You will work very collaboratively with your cohort. Cohorts begin every other year and applications are not accepted on a rolling basis. Most students finish their degree in four years.

    There is very slim opportunity for transfer credit because of the intensity of this online doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction. You will be required to take a qualifying exam in order to become a doctoral candidate. Classes are eight- and sixteen-weeks long and the program has mandatory summer intensives that are a week long. In order to graduate, you also will be responsible for completing a capstone project.

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  2. MERIT: 266
    View Profile Average Cost: $31,506

    Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction

    University of Virginia
    The University of Virginia also offers a Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction. In order to make sure that it is accessible to those who want to take this important next step, the program is presented on a full- and a part-time basis on campus and of course, online in its entirety as well. It is only open to those who hold a masters degree and have at least three years of teaching experience.

    The program consists of a minimum of 72 credit hours. Students may apply as many as 24 credits from their Master’s program to the EdD if the credits were earned in the past five years prior to application. There are an internship and a capstone project that must be completed in order for you to graduate from the program. Students can choose to specialize in Instructional Technology or in Curriculum and Instruction.

    In the Curriculum and Instruction area of emphasis, some of the courses you may take include Creativity and Problem Solving; Introduction to Instructional Design and; Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment. Typically, you take four electives in your area of emphasis. This online doctorate in curriculum and instruction can be completed in as little three years of full-time study.

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  3. MERIT: 254
    View Profile Average Cost: $29,463

    Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction

    7 TAMU-logo
    Texas A&M University offers an online Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction that it boasts has impacted over 400 teachers around the world. The purpose of the program is to equip students with the knowledge and skills that they need to direct curriculum, instruction, and instructional assessment. This is a 64-credit program that takes about four years to complete.

    Students progress through this program in a cohort, and all of the coursework is delivered online. The program is open only to those who have already earned a masters degree and that have at least five years of teaching experience. The program is not just for practicing teachers but also administrators. It is designed in such a way that it lays a foundation for careers in leadership in school improvement, curriculum leadership at the school or district level, professional development, or even in a government setting.

    This online degree is focused on K-12 leadership in curriculum and instruction, whether that is public or private institutions. There are three campus visits required. These include a mandatory on-campus orientation before the start of the first semester; a meeting with a faculty chair in the second summer of the program to work on your Record of Study and; defense of your record of study. You will also complete two internships, but those can be completed locally.

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  4. MERIT: 253
    View Profile Average Cost: $23,462

    Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction


    The University of South Carolina offers two different online programs in curriculum and instruction. These are its Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction-Curriculum Studies Concentration and Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction-Educational Technology Concentration. Both programs consist of 60 credits and can typically be completed in just three years.

    The Curriculum Studies concentration is not in a cohort model. It is for those who want to secure careers in K-12, higher education, or the private sector. It doesn’t lead to any certifications to teach. Classes in this program are just eight weeks in length. Courses span topics in the core concentration, the specialization, professional development, and research. This program will culminate in a dissertation.

    The Educational Technology Concentration doesn’t prepare you for any certifications either. This concentration is presented in a cohort model and requires students to come to the campus for orientation. There is a project-based approach built into the courses, which are also eight weeks in length. You will take the same core classes in both concentrations. You will also complete a dissertation in this concentration.

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  5. MERIT: 242
    View Profile Average Cost: $27,463

    Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum, Instruction

    University at Buffalo
    The University at Buffalo is the first school on our list that offers a true PhD program. You can earn a Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum, Instruction, and the Science of Learning at this institution. The Science of Learning is what the university prides itself on and says that is what sets it apart. This modern approach allows graduates to combine research and evidence to inform your practice.

    This is a multidisciplinary program that consists of a total of 72 credit hours. There are optional concentrations in English education, Math Education, and Science education. The other concentrations are not available online, but they are elementary education and Reading education. It takes the typical student between four and five years.

    Ten of the credit hours come from relevant masters degree courses, ten from the required dissertation, and 28 of them come from research. The remaining 24 credit hours are called the multidisciplinary concentration. You will take classes like Educational Informatics; Educational Technologies; Real and Virtual Learning Spaces and; Situated and Embodied Cognition.

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  6. MERIT: 233
    View Profile Average Cost: $22,348

    PhD in Curriculum and Instruction

    Texas Tech University
    Texas Tech University’s College of Education has an online PhD in Curriculum and Instruction with a track in Curriculum Studies and Teacher Education. The program is presented in a blended format in a cohort model. All of the courses are delivered online in a sequenced format. Students will have to participate in summer intensives as well.

    The summer intensives happen for the first three summers of enrollment, and they last from one to two weeks. The program admits students every fall and students must hold at least a masters degree in order to be eligible for enrollment. The minimum credits in this program are 63, but TTU estimates that the degree is 93 to 99 hours of coursework.

    This program will prepare you for careers in academia, government organizations, and business. It explores several aspects of history, culture, ethics, politics, and more and how those things relate to curriculum design and development, delivery, and evaluation.

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  7. MERIT: 231
    View Profile Average Cost: $19,817

    EdD in Education: Learning, Design, and Technology


    The University of Wyoming offers an online EdD in Education: Learning, Design, and Technology. This type of program could prepare you for a career in design, instruction, administration, and so on. You could seek work in a K-12 environment or higher education, as well as corporate or government centers.

    This is an 81-credit program that is broken into three main areas, and those are instructional design, visual literacy, and change; media development and production; and instructional management, implementation, and technology integration. All of the coursework can be completed entirely online through UW at a Distance; however, students are required to attend a minimum of two on-campus orientations.

    This online EdD in Curriculum and Instruction does culminate in a dissertation. Leading up to that, you will take courses such as Learning Theories for Educators, Message Design, Interactive Learning Systems, and more. Students will face authentic challenges that prepare them for real-world situations thanks to the focus on advanced application and research.

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  8. MERIT: 224
    View Profile Average Cost: $68,537

    Doctor of Education in Curriculum, Teaching, Learning, and Leadership

    Northeastern University
    Northeastern University’s online Doctor of Education in Curriculum, Teaching, Learning, and Leadership consists of a minimum of 60 credits; you do have the opportunity to transfer in nine of those credits. All of the coursework can be completed online, but there are mandatory residencies. There are residencies each year, but Northeastern doesn’t openly disclose the length of time you’ll spend on campus.

    One thing that does make the residencies flexible, though, is that you can go to any one of the three campuses in Massachusetts, Washington, or North Carolina. Another thing that sets the program apart is that students begin working on their dissertation at the onset of the program. You will have a faculty advisor to help with your dissertation and go to with any questions. Also at the beginning of the program, you’ll take foundational courses and research courses that prime you for the rest of the program of study and get you oriented.

    From there, in the Curriculum, Teaching, Learning, and Leadership concentration there are five required courses. These are Curriculum Theory and Practice Over Time: Implications for Educational Leadership; Social Justice and Educational Equity; Educational Systems: The Dynamics between Policy, Values, and Practice; Situated Leadership and; Education Entrepreneurship. You’ll also have the opportunity to take electives.

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  9. MERIT: 221
    View Profile Average Cost: $52,108

    Ed.D. Instructional Technology & Leadership


    Duquesne University has an Ed.D. Instructional Technology & Leadership that you can earn online. This program starts with a three-day orientation at the beginning of the Fall semester. This orientation allows you to meet the faculty and the other students in your cohort. There are no more on-campus meetings required in order to graduate.

    This is a 57-credit program that prepares graduates for a career in academia or a corporate setting, anywhere that technology-infused teaching could be professionally applicable. The curriculum is designed by the faculty and draws on the influence of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), and the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT).

    This program is unlike the others we have featured here because it is synchronous. You will still be able to complete all of your courses online, but they will meet at set times where you’ll have to participate in live classes with your cohort. To ensure that this online degree in curriculum and instruction is still convenient for the lifestyle of a working adult, classes are held in the evenings.

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  10. MERIT: 219
    View Profile Average Cost: $15,076

    Doctor of Education in Educational Technology


    Boise State University is featured for its Doctor of Education in Educational Technology. This degree focuses on technology integration, technology leadership in academia, educational software development, and innovative teaching in K-12 as well as higher education. Boise State states that this is the degree for someone who is passionate about evidence-based practice and innovative education coming together to serve students.

    The online curriculum and instruction doctorate program doesn’t require any on-campus meetings at all. All coursework, exams, and even the defense of your dissertation can be done 100% online. This is the first degree program in this article that won’t bring you to campus even once. Instead, you will take a blend of asynchronous and synchronous classes in a flexible online format.

    The EdD in Educational Technology is made up of 66 total credits. Online students pay the same tuition as in-state students do and are eligible for scholarships and financial aid. A new cohort begins once each year, but applications are accepted on a consistent basis in case there is an opening. Keeping with the theme of flexibility, you can also transfer in as much as 33 credits towards your doctorate.

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  11. MERIT: 218
    View Profile Average Cost: $23,931

    Ed.D. in Instructional Systems Design and Technology

    SHSU
    Sam Houston State University has an online Instructional Systems Design and Technology degree program; it is a Doctor of Education. Students are admitted into the program every Fall. The curriculum of the program is a collaborative effort between the Department of Curriculum and Instruction and the Department of Computer Science, which makes this a truly unique and multidisciplinary degree.

    There are 60 credit hours required for graduation. The curriculum is broken into three parts, and those are the Instructional Systems Design and Technology Core, the Educational Research Core, and then it culminates in a dissertation. Students of this program will experience unique courses in technology and education, along with courses that equip them with key skills. For example, students will take Professional Development and Leadership in Technology Administration.

    Students progress through the program in a cohort and according to a set schedule. This is an incredibly rigorous degree track. In order to be eligible for enrollment, you must have obtained a master’s degree and have at least three years of relevant professional experience.

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  12. MERIT: 217
    View Profile Average Cost: $27,474

    Doctor of Education in Learning Design and Leadership


    The University of Illinois offers an online Doctor of Education in Learning Design and Leadership through its Urbana-Champaign campus. While it is being provided from a specific school, you don’t have to go to campus to complete any part of the program. You are welcome to go to campus at any time, though. U of I was ranked by U.S. News & World Report as number ten in their ranking of the best overall online graduate programs in education.

    This program is good for those educators that work within the PK-16 grade levels. This online curriculum and instruction degree will help you to advance your credentials, increase your educational efficacy, and pave the way for you to be an innovator in your professional life. You can also choose to add an optional specialization in Foundations of eLearning in Higher Education, New Learning, or Technology Specialist.

    You will take courses like eLearning Ecologies and Learning & Human Development with Educational Technology in the project-based curriculum as well as having ample opportunity for research and independent study. This is a fairly intense program. You can only bring in 12 credits from previous learning, and you must have a minimum of two years of full-time work experience. This is an entirely synchronous program.

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  13. MERIT: 215
    View Profile Average Cost: $45,752

    Doctor of Education in Instructional Design and Development


    George Fox University offers a Doctor of Education in Instructional Design and Development. You will take courses like Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment; Equity In Educational Environments and; Leading Educational Organizations through Professional Development. In addition to that, you will progress through the core curriculum to strengthen your understanding of research, effective teaching, statistics, and more. This program does culminate in a dissertation.

    This curriculum degree is presented in a cohort model. You will take all of your core courses with the same students, an approach designed to create lasting professional relationships. There are a total of 56 credit hours of coursework in the program. You are allowed to transfer in just six post-master’s credits from another institution. The program is designed to be completed in three years.

    This is a distance-based degree in curriculum and instruction, but it is not available online in its entirety. Despite that, students are able to maintain full-time employment as they study. All classes are held online in the Fall and Spring semesters, and then the Summer has hybrid courses. Two weeks of those courses are online and two weeks must be taken face-to-face in Newberg, Oregon.

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  14. MERIT: 214
    View Profile Average Cost: $30,028

    PhD in Curriculum & Instruction

    Regent University
    Regent University was deemed number one in online graduate education programs for the year 2018 by U.S. News & World Report. The School of Education at the university also prides itself on the fact that close to a thousand of their graduates has gone on to win Teacher of the Year at their respective institutions. This division of the university provides students with an online PhD in Curriculum & Instruction.

    This program is designed to prepare you for a career in academia and prepare you for high-level leadership positions and continued research. This PhD is a minimum of 75 credits to complete. The degree plan that you will follow in a cohort model sees you finishing the program in five years. Part-time study is not allowed, but students have seven years to complete the curriculum and a dissertation if something were to change the pace at which they can study.

    This online PhD in Curriculum and Instruction does have a few on-campus requirements. You will have to attend a four-day residency each summer you’re in the program. These residencies serve to create a sense of community among the faculty and the rest of your cohort; they also give you the opportunity for specialized professional experiences. As for coursework, the majority of it is presented synchronously, and classes are just eight weeks in length.

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  15. MERIT: 211
    View Profile Average Cost: $20,652

    Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction

    UWF
    The University of West Florida has a Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction program with a Curriculum and Assessment Specialization that you can complete entirely online. UWF’s program is one of the more flexible options we’re featuring. It is a nationally-ranked degree program that seeks to impart skills in research, educational philosophies, and the design and evaluation of assessments.

    Even though the program is a 100% online doctorate in curriculum and instruction, it is still led by the school’s incredible faculty. You will have access to the same professors and students support resources as traditional students. You must have a Master of Education to be considered for admittance. There are three start dates throughout the year for this program, and the tuition is considerably lower than that of comparable programs.

    The curriculum includes 66 total credits. You will take a curriculum and instruction core, a research course, curriculum and assessment specialization courses, and electives. The program does require a dissertation. Classes are typically just eight weeks in length; during the summer semester, they are further condensed to seven weeks.

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  16. MERIT: 210
    View Profile Average Cost: $20,324

    Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum and Instruction

    New Mexico State University Logo
    New Mexico State University’s Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum and Instruction is presented in a hybrid format. Outside of the set curriculum of the program, there are what the university calls options. You have the choice to focus on Bilingual/TESOL, Critical Pedagogies, Early Childhood Education, or Language, Literacy, and Culture. The program also has an optional concentration in Educational Learning technologies. The program of study is designed to be customizable based on your needs, so we recommend working with an advisor to determine what will work the best for you.

    This online PhD in curriculum and instruction has a minimum of 66 credit hours including a dissertation. Students may be asked to complete more credits, but the program is typically completed in just three years. All of the coursework in the fall and spring semesters is presented through Canvas and can be taken entirely online.

    The program is considered to be hybrid because of the summer sessions that occur all three summers that you’re enrolled. You must attend them and spend two weeks on campus. It is held during summer so as not to disrupt the career of professionals in the field of education. The curriculum is presented in a set course schedule and your progress through it in a cohort model.

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  17. MERIT: 208
    View Profile Average Cost: $40,814

    PhD in Curriculum and Instruction

    Andrews University
    Andrews University has a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction program. The university describes the program as being research-oriented and designed for leaders. There are five times throughout the year that students can begin the program. Only those who hold a masters degree and a minimum graduate GPA of 3.30 are eligible to apply, though.

    The PhD program is a minimum of 61 credits, and most students can finish in six years. The program is one that is mostly online, but there are summer intensives and regional group sessions that may or may not be a mandatory component of your particular degree plan.

    The typical degree plan is broken into the following parts:

    • PhD Background Courses
    • PhD Core
    • PhD Foundations
    • PhD Research
    • Dissertation

    You will cover topics in education statistics, design, and analysis of education surveys, curriculum theory, the psychology of learning, and so much more, making this a very well-rounded program.

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  18. MERIT: 208
    View Profile Average Cost: $20,482

    Doctor of Education in Instruction and Curriculum Leadership with a focus in Instructional Design and Technology

    12 Memphis-logo
    The University of Memphis has a Doctor of Education in Instruction and Curriculum Leadership with a focus in Instructional Design and Technology. While that is a bit of a mouthful, this degree program is multidisciplinary and can propel you ahead in many different fields. Some careers this degree could lead to include Instructional Designer, Researcher, Professor, Director of Educational Technology, Assessment, or Curriculum and Instruction as well as more corporate-oriented positions.

    This online EdD program is made up of 54 credit hours. The program of study that you’ll take is one that is tailored to your academic expectations and career goals. You will be able to pursue experience and complete projects that prepare you for day to day on the job. Students progress through the program in a cohort.

    The classes you’ll take vary in length from as much as 14 weeks to as little as seven. The university warns that some semesters, you may see yourself taking nine hours or only being able to take one or two courses at a time. This is a rigorous online curriculum and instruction program that will take you just three years to complete.

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  19. MERIT: 204
    View Profile Average Cost: $22,326

    Doctor of Education with a Specialization in Educational Technology Leadership


    Morehead State University offers a Doctor of Education with a Specialization in Educational Technology Leadership. This is a unique program because it is designed for those in a leadership position to gain the necessary skills to support a team through instructional design phases, curriculum development, and technology innovation. This is a practitioner-based program of study that was designed to provide strong leaders in a quickly expanding field.

    In order to enroll in the program, you must have a masters degree and relevant professional experience in educational technology, instructional design, or curriculum development. There is a minimum of 60 credits required to graduate. You would move through this online degree track in a cohort and studying part-time. You complete the degree at a rate of six credits per semester, allowing you to graduate in just three years.

    You will take a Program Core that covers grant writing, research, leadership, and educational change; You will have classes in the EdTech specialization, and those are Individualized Learning Systems, Needs Assessment and Program Evaluation, Advanced Instructional Design, and Advanced Multimedia Design. Apart from your seminars and capstone, the remaining credits are electives that allow you to add an area of emphasis.

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  20. MERIT: 203
    View Profile Average Cost: $20,597

    Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction

    ULM-logo
    The University of Louisiana at Monroe offers a 100% online Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction. ULM has created this program in such a way that you can get genuinely in-depth knowledge about curriculum and instruction that you can take with you into a variety of career settings. You will explore theories based on research, gain the skills to do your own research, and examine several topics in regards to how they impact education such as morals, politics, and social environments.

    This is an accelerated online doctorate. The program is made up of a minimum of 60 credits but thanks to short eight-week terms, you can graduate in just two years. That does mean that this program moves at an intense pace. Another benefit of the short terms is that it allows the university to offer multiple start dates throughout the year.

    This program is open to those who hold a masters degree in any discipline, and you don’t need to have a teaching certificate. This program is 100% online and does include a dissertation. Your dissertation must be traditionally defended on campus; however, you do have the option to write three research articles and defend those instead.

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  21. MERIT: 202
    View Profile Average Cost: $33,147

    Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership with a concentration in Curriculum & Instruction

    Evangel University
    Evangel University offers an online Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership with a concentration in Curriculum & Instruction. The fully-online iteration of the program begins in the Fall of 2019. The program consists of 50 credit hours and is designed to combine strong leadership skills with a solid understanding of effective curriculum and instruction. You can transfer up to 15 post-master’s credits if you have them.

    The program emphasizes innovative technology in education throughout its entirety. In order to be eligible for enrollment, you have to hold a master’s degree, but you don’t have to have relevant work experience. Beyond your degree and a GPA of 3.0 or better, you just need to take the qualification exams. However, there are several factors that go into whether you will be accepted or not and we’re not saying this is easier, just a more straightforward process.

    Whether you work in administration, K-12, or higher education, this program can help you to advance your career. You will take classes like Advanced Curriculum and Design and take a Leadership Internship; but you will also cover topics in educational funding, data analysis, resource management, and you will conduct research to complete a dissertation.

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  22. MERIT: 200
    View Profile Average Cost: $26,733

    Education Specialist degree in Curriculum and Instruction

    10 KSU-logo
    Kennesaw State University offers a different type of terminal degree in education, and that is the Education Specialist degree in Curriculum and Instruction. This program is only open to those who hold a masters degree and are certified teachers. The program is made in such a way that the courses you’ll take will build on whatever your teaching specialty already is. Students also take some research courses and complete a capstone seminar.

    The entire program consists of 33 hours and upon completion, teachers will be able to be recognized as experts in their specific field and will be able to update their certifications. There is a Curriculum & Instruction core that includes Curriculum Development and Evaluation; Cognition, Development, and Instruction; Instructional Decision-Making; Curriculum Theory, Development, and Practice for Diverse Learners and; 21st Century Teaching and Learning.

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  23. MERIT: 199
    View Profile Average Cost: $22,480

    Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Leadership


    Columbus State University offers a Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Leadership. The program focuses on creating academic professionals that have a passion for and the skills required to improve the educational experience of students based on research. This program is mainly geared towards teachers and administrators, but it is open to anyone who wants expertise in leadership.

    The entire program is 63 credits, and students complete those in a cohort model. This is a hybrid program that does include traditional classes as well as online. In order to be eligible for enrollment, you must hold at least a masters degree with a cumulative grade point average of 3.50. You also must have a minimum of four years of experience in a professional educational setting.

    The Curriculum Specialization builds on an in-depth research component with classes like Curriculum Design and Evaluation, Diversity in Education, and Curriculum Development and Reform. You will also learn about current trends and issues in the field and explore professional development. This degree program does allow for plenty of electives as well as require a dissertation.

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  24. MERIT: 196
    View Profile Average Cost: $41,112

    PhD in Education with a Curriculum and Instruction Specialization

    Christian Counseling
    Liberty University offers a PhD in Education with a Curriculum and Instruction Specialization. Liberty is a leader in online education because of the incredible variety of degrees that they offer and the unbeatable flexibility of the programs available. This online PhD in Curriculum and Instruction is 100% online; you can attend optional intensives and events on campus, but it isn’t expected of you.

    The program is 60 credits in total, and the university allows you to transfer in as many as 15 credits to apply towards that total. Even though the program is of average length, students still can graduate in just three years of full-time study. All of the classes you’ll need to take at Liberty are condensed into eight-week sessions. You also have the benefit of multiple start dates throughout the year, so you don’t have to wait.

    Liberty University’s 100% online Curriculum and Instruction PhD has a curriculum that was expertly designed to cover a range of topics in administration, curriculum development, learning theory, and research so you can take a well-rounded approach to your eventual career.

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  25. MERIT: 195
    View Profile Average Cost: $27,173

    PhD in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in special education


    The University of Toledo offers a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in special education online. This is a leadership preparation degree, and it is the only approved online doctorate in special education in the state of Ohio where the university is located. It is a 70 credit hour program that typically takes four or five years to complete.

    The program is designed to be close-knit even though it is an online degree. In order to be eligible to enroll in the program you must hold at least a masters degree. Once enrolled, you will take two courses per semester. You will have to attend campus twice per year to meet with your advisor, but the rest of the program is entirely online. You will even have the opportunity to participate in virtual seminars and internships as you study.

    Online students are eligible for the same financial aid and scholarships as traditional students. You will also have the benefit of eTutoring, an eLibrary, a helpdesk, and plenty of other resources dedicated to making your course of study go as smoothly as possible so you can focus on your success. The university’s membership in DEC’s Consortium for Innovations in Doctoral Education (DECIDE) will also enrich your experience even further.

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  26. MERIT: 192
    View Profile Average Cost: $25,205

    Doctor of Education in School Improvement

    University of West Georgia
    The University of West Georgia has a Doctor of Education in School Improvement; the program has two areas of concentration that are great options for someone looking to have a deeper understanding of curriculum and instruction to expand their career horizons. You can concentrate in K-12 Online Teaching or Instructional Technology. Students are also allowed to create their own concentrations with the help of an advisor.

    This online doctorate in education is also being recognized for its flexibility here. The only on-campus requirement of the program is a two-day orientation during the first summer. Cohorts begin with this orientation in the summer. The remainder of what you’ll do isn’t only entirely online, and it is asynchronous. This is one of the few programs in this ranking that lets you work at your own pace.

    The K-12 Online Teaching AoC has courses like Instructional Design, Introduction to Distance Education, and Leadership and Administration of Online Learning and e-Learning. The Instructional Technology AoC is going to cover a lot of the same concepts but will also include Diffusion of Innovations, Digital Game-Based Learning, Data Networks for Instruction, and so much more.

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  27. MERIT: 186
    View Profile Average Cost: $50,333

    Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Teaching

    7 Nova-logo
    Nova Southeastern University has a Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Teaching. This program prepares students to take on leadership roles in curriculum development, implementation, and evaluation. The main focus of the curriculum is increasing your ability to organize and manage instructional programs regardless of the context. You must have a masters degree, but that is not limited to the field of education.

    All doctoral students are required to participate in an intensive conference during summer at the main campus in Florida. Outside of that intensive, the entire program is 100% online. NSU prides itself on being able to accommodate the needs of someone with a busy lifestyle while still providing them with a cutting edge academic experience.

    This online curriculum and teaching doctorate consists of a minimum of 54 credits; in some cases, some students require more. Most students can finish in just three years of full-time study. One thing that we’d like to highlight is that this university’s online EdD has a larger number of courses in your concentration area than most schools.

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  28. MERIT: 185
    View Profile Average Cost: $21,111

    Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership with an Emphasis in Instructional Design & Technology


    Idaho State University is home to a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership with an Emphasis in Instructional Design & Technology. The university goes above and beyond to make sure that programs fit into a busy lifestyle, fit your needs, and are delivered conveniently to wherever you are through online courses. This degree is for professional educators that have a masters degree, and it prepares its students to lead, develop programs, and improve performance in whatever industry they choose.

    Corporate Instructional Designer, Higher Education Researcher, and Educational Systems Consultant are just a few career options that this degree would qualify you for. The entire program is a minimum of 64 credits. There is a doctoral core, cognate courses, your area of specialization, and your dissertation. The majority of the credits will be Curriculum and Teaching courses; you will also have to have at least three practicum credits.

    The program is entirely online, so you will never have to attend campus. You will take some synchronous classes though, which means you will have to be virtually present to class when it’s scheduled. The majority of the work is asynchronous. Idaho State also requires continuous enrollment from its doctoral students.

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  29. MERIT: 180
    View Profile Average Cost: $44,426

    PhD in Leadership with a Specialization in Curriculum and Instruction


    Concordia University Chicago has an online PhD in Leadership with a Specialization in Curriculum and Instruction. The curriculum is geared towards those in K-12 education and seeks to produce graduates that can design, implement, evaluate and manage the curriculum at their organization. It has a total of 67 credits and culminates in both a comprehensive exam and a dissertation.

    The curriculum is broken up into Foundational PhD Courses, Research and Statistics, and the Curriculum and Instruction Specialization courses. Outside of the specialization, you will encounter classes like Policy Analysis, Organizational Change, Research Design, and more. These classes establish a foundation to build on with more in-depth research and the focus area curriculum.

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  30. MERIT: 177
    View Profile Average Cost: $38,910

    Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction

    3 Southeastern-logo
    Southeastern University is featured for its Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction. This program is open to those who hold a graduate degree and have a minimum of three years of successful full-time employment in a relevant field. Southeastern University is a Christian school, so a Christian Faith Statement is part of your application and admission requirements.

    This is a competitively affordable 54-credit program that is broken down like this.

    • Doctoral Core: 15 Credits
    • Research Core: 9 Credits
    • Curriculum & Instruction Concentration: 18 Credits
    • Dissertation: 12 Credits

    The two cores explore topics like how to conduct research, public policy, leadership, and mentoring. In your concentration, the courses build upon what you learned and give you a better grasp of curriculum theory, instructional design, curriculum evaluation, and so on.

    You can expect this program to take three to four years to complete. It is presented completely online with the exception of two in-person intensive courses in either Summer or Spring — these intensive last one week. The remaining classes last for eight weeks, and you will take them one at a time, which allows for greater focus. You can defend your dissertation in person if you so choose, but it can be done remotely.

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What is Curriculum?

Curriculum is often just defined as the courses offered at a particular school or the subjects you’ll cover in a particular course of study but it isn’t used so generally in the realm of education. Curriculum can also be used in place of the word syllabus or educational program. In the field of education, curriculum is more encompassing than even that. Curriculum for a particular teacher could include all of the lesson plans created as part of a course, learning standards or benchmarks, assignments, and all of the materials to teach a particular course or unit within a course.

Why is Curriculum Important?

Curriculum is important because of all of the academic content in a particular course or program. The impact it has on students is immeasurable. A curriculum has to be designed to fit the level of knowledge that students coming into a course or program should possess, and it is an encompassing term that covers all of the components that will be used to bring those students to the next level academically.

The purpose of curriculum, and all of the expert design that goes into it is to make sure that every student is able to receive an integrated and coherent learning experience that will actively contribute to their personal, academic, and professional learning and development.

What do you Learn in Curriculum and Instruction?


Curriculum and instruction is a facet of the field of education that is very important, as you read above. This particular area focuses on the development of curriculum, education theory, student data evaluation, and more. People in this field can work in a range of careers that are centered around designing and evaluating instructional materials, evaluating course content, and ensuring that a school is adhering to certain standards and delivering effective outcomes.

Some of the courses you might take as part of these programs include:

  • Classroom Assessment
  • Interactive Learning Environments
  • Leadership in Teaching and Learning
  • Multicultural Education
  • Theories of Learning

The point of these programs is to make sure that you understand the fundamentals of providing education and that you know how to apply that theoretical knowledge in academic practice, whether that is through actively teaching, helping to design courses or instructional materials, or using what you know to evaluate statistics and ensure that students are getting the most out of their educational experiences.

You can learn how to cater to a more tailored group of students by specializing in Special Education, Gifted Education, or Elementary Education; you can also focus on a specific aspect of the field such as instructional material design, instructional technology, data analytics, and more. Depending on where you choose to focus, you will expand on the foundational courses according to your particular interests or goals.

What is a Director of Curriculum and Instruction?


A Director of Curriculum and Instruction is exactly what it sounds like, so you would think it was a more straightforward position but the area of curriculum and instruction is so multifaceted, so we completely understand why this sounds like a little confusing of a career. The basic responsibility of a Director of Curriculum and Instruction is to oversee all of the educational aspects of the organization they are in charge of whether that is a school, a district, or otherwise. This could include selecting curricula, monitoring student performance, evaluating teachers, and presenting data to superintendents, school boards, and other agencies.

Directors are in charge of very long term planning regarding the institutions that they supervise. They manage curriculum specialists, instructional technology staff, and several other positions within this area, and their planning includes creating long term goals and breaking those down into milestones for those staff to reach.

Every district and a lot of different institutions all need procedures for selecting textbooks, course materials, technology-based delivery systems, and instructional approaches; a director of curriculum and instruction is in charge of creating those procedures and ensuring that they are adhered to and are working in favor of the students. They are also in charge of overseeing the curriculum adoption process, delivering data based on student performance metrics, and adapting the plans that they have set in place as needed based on student needs and performance.

What is a Curriculum Developer?

A curriculum developer is someone that works with teachers to make sure that books and materials are ordered for instructional use. They also observe teachers and evaluate lesson plans to make recommendations on changes to be made that would boost student performance.

Curriculum developers also work with teachers to help them make sure that they understand state guidelines and that their lesson plans are putting them, and more importantly, their students on track to meet their educational benchmarks and state standards. Some teachers are also curriculum developers.

What is a Curriculum Specialist?

Curriculum Specialists are essentially the same thing as curriculum developers and they are also sometimes called instructional coordinators. Someone with this job title is less likely to be a teacher and more likely to work in an administrative position, or even at a school district. It is their job to support teachers by providing the foundation materials for a course and give constructive feedback on how teachers implement them.

Both of these jobs include several higher-level responsibilities as well, which include but are not limited to the following.

  • Selecting textbooks for district-wide implementation.
  • Laying a framework for what material needs to be covered by certain points throughout the academic year.
  • Determining what material needs to be covered within an academic year to keep students in line with the state standards.
  • Keeping up with trends in education to keep instructional methods modern and engaging.
  • Helping teachers implement changes and new technology into their existing instructional methods.
  • Observing and evaluating teachers.
  • Analyzing student performance data to influence change.

Why Get a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction?


Most positions in the field of Curriculum and Instruction require a Master’s degree, but there are several reasons why you might want to go beyond that and earn your doctorate. The main reason is that this is an advanced degree and it will push you to explore topics you care about in a deeper way and it will give you the tools to analyze them effectively.

You can earn this degree if you want to make a career out of research, if you want to teach Curriculum and Instruction at the university level, or if you just want to advance your reach and deepen your understand of your practice in your current career. Some of the courses you’ll take in a doctoral level curriculum and instruction program include:

  • Advanced Ideas in Curriculum Theory
  • Imperatives for Educational Leaders
  • Education Policy, Reform, and Teacher Leadership
  • Predictive Design and Analysis
  • Imperatives for Educational Leaders

You will also have the opportunity to create research projects in specific areas that are important to you, you have a lot more free reign when it comes to what area you specialize in, and you’ll be able to take a lot of seminars and have more networking opportunities.

The benefits of earning a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction include better job and salary opportunities, deeper understanding of educational theory, and the opportunity to research different topics and affect change based on your findings.

You may also enjoy our ranking of the best colleges that offer online phD programs.