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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in

Curriculum and Instruction

College Teaching Emphasis

The Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in College Teaching is a research degree that prepares individuals interested in teaching and research positions in both community colleges and universities. Appropriate professional positions for graduates of this program would be:

  • faculty who wish to teach in community colleges,
  • faculty who intend to teach in universities in the field of higher education,
  • college and university curriculum coordinators,
  • program and policy analysts in state and national higher education agencies and organizations.

The structure of the Ph.D. degree allows for both depth and breadth. The depth component is addressed through a core of higher education courses, which all students, regardless of career objectives, would take. The cognate requirement of three or four courses allows for flexibility. Examples of cognates taken by currently enrolled or recently graduated Ph.D. students include Instructional Technology, Business and Management, Psychology, Sociology, and Fine Arts. Students interested in pursuing faculty positions in a community college could fulfill the cognate requirement in a content area field that might be the same as their Master's degree area. Students interested in policy analysis may wish to pursue additional coursework in political science or in a field closely related to higher education, such as adult or vocational education.


Basic Requirements for Admission

In order to be admitted to the Ph.D. program, a student will need to meet the following requirements:

  • an undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 (B) minimum on the upper division portion of the baccalaureate degree or a grade point average of 3.5 at the master's level and a GRE score of 1,000 minimum (quantitative and verbal), and
  • a Master's degree from a regionally accredited institution of higher education.

In addition, students need to submit the following information directly to the Department of Leadership Development when they apply for admission to the program:

  • a vita or a resume,  
  • a personal statement describing the student's professional goals and why he or she is applying to the program, and
  • three letters of recommendation from references familiar with the student's academic and/or professional abilities.


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Outline of Degree Plan

Program of Studies for the Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction

College Teaching Emphasis

PhD Program

Required Basic Core (9 hours)*

All students must complete the following 3 courses:
1. EDH 6081 The Community College in America
EDH 6051 Higher Education in America
2. EDH 7225 Curriculum Development in Higher Education
3. EDH 7636 Organizational Theory & Practices in Higher Education

Specialization (18 - 19 hours)*

Students may choose from among the following courses:
ADE 6385 The Adult Learner
EDG 6938 Seminar in College Teaching
EDG 7931 Issues in Globalization in Higher Education
EDH 6947 Internship
EDH 7505 Higher Education Finance
EDH 7632 Leadership in Higher Education
EDH 7633 Governing Colleges & Universities
EDH 7635 Organization & Administration of Higher Education
EDH 7935 Higher Education Capstone Course (required for all Higher Education Ph.D. students)

Substitutions to courses listed in the Required Basic Core or the Specialization may be made, if the student's Program of Studies Committee agrees.

Cognate (12 hours)

3 to 4 courses in an approved cognate area for a minimum of 12 credits, to be determined by the student and the student's Program of Studies Committee. The cognate could consist of courses in the student's teaching area or another area, such as instructional technology.


Foundations** (8-9 hours)

2 courses (1 Educational Psychology and 1 Social Foundations)

Pre-Approved Courses for Psychological & Social Foundations  

Research and Measurement** (12 hours)

EDF 6407 Statistical Analysis for Educational Research I
EDF 7408 Statistical Analysis for Educational Research II
EDF 7410 Design of Systemic Studies (or other approved course(s) in Measurement)

Dissertation EDH 7980 (24 hours minimum)

Total: 83 - 85 hours

*At least 15 of the 27 hours must be at the 7000 level or in 6000 level courses for which advanced graduate standing is a prerequisite (as stated in the catalog).

**Students must consult their advisors to choose Foundations and Research and Measurement courses from among those listed as approved courses for doctoral students.

Students may also elect to enroll for up to 6 credits of Internship (EDH 6947) and/or Independent Study (EDH 6906). These credits are over and above the requirements listed above.

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Specific Residency Requirements

Students in the Ph.D. program in the College of Education must complete a residency requirement during which time the student must enroll for at least nine semester hours during any two semesters within a 12-month time frame. During the semesters of residency, the student should not be employed more than 50% of the time.  

In addition, the faculty of the Higher Education Program philosophically believe that the residency experience for doctoral students should be flexible enough to appropriately meet the various professional goals of the students, yet at the same time, provide scholarly experiences for them. To that end, numerous options are available to students that include (but are not limited to) the possibilities listed below: Each of these options is dependent upon the availability of faculty. Students should discuss with their faculty advisor which of the following activities would enhance their residency experience:

  • observe and critique at least two proposal and two dissertation final defenses (two within the department and two outside, if possible),
  • organize a major part of a conference or a doctoral student colloquia/symposia,
  • author and/or co-author at least one refereed journal article (must be research-based),
  • participate in a research project with an approved faculty member.
  • attend one national higher education conference,
  • deliver a formal presentation on a research area of interest (to faculty or at a professional meeting),
  • assist a professor to teach a course, including presenting or facilitating several units, and/or
  • conduct a significant job-shadowing experience with someone in a position consistent with your professional goals.


Program of Studies Requirements

By the end of the 2nd semester of the student's coursework or before the student has completed 15 hours of graduate coursework, the student will select a Program of Study Committee comprised of a minimum of four credentialed faculty members, one of whom serves as a chairperson, or two of whom serve as co-chairs. This committee will be responsible for developing the student's Program of Study, including a list of all coursework the student will complete , and designing and evaluating his/her qualifying examination.


Qualifying Exam

After completing all coursework or during the last semester of coursework, Ph.D. students must pass a qualifying examination in the candidate's specialization, the cognate area, and required coursework areas. The student and his/her major advisor can select one of three options for planning and evaluating the qualifying examination.

Option 1 -The exam integrates the work in the student's specialization area, the cognate area, and required coursework. The majority of students choose this option.

Option 2 - The exam is composed of sub-tests covering the specialization, the cognate area, the and required coursework.

Option 3 - The student writes a formal, scholarly paper that demonstrates integration and synthesis covering knowledge in the specialization, the cognate area, and the required coursework. This paper cannot be used to fulfill part or all of the dissertation requirements . The paper is evaluated by all members of the student's Program of Study Committee.

Qualifying Exam Grading Rubric



After completing all coursework and passing the qualifying exam, the student is "admitted to candidacy." At this point, the student will prepare a dissertation proposal that identifies the research problem, surveys and evaluates the relevant literature, and describes the plan for conducing the research. The proposal is a contract between the candidate and the Doctoral Committee as to the specific research that will be conducted. While working on the dissertation, the student enrolls for a minimum of 24 Dissertation credit hours. Beginning with the semester immediately following admission to candidacy, the doctoral student must be continuously enrolled in dissertation hours (including summer term) until the dissertation is successfully defended. Exceptions to the continuous enrollment policy are possible, but a formal request must be made in writing to the student's Major Professor.

The student will defend the dissertation before a committee comprised of a minimum of four members. The Dissertation Committee members do not necessarily have to be the same as those on the student's Program of Study Committee. In some instances, a student's interest in a topic changes as s/he progresses through the program and the student may wish to ask different faculty members to be a part of his/her Dissertation Committee, especially if these faculty members conduct research and/or have expertise in the student's dissertation topic.

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Higher Education Home

Basic Requirements for Admission

Outline of Degree Plan

Specific Residency Requirements

Program of Studies Requirements

Qualifying Exam


Pre-Approved Courses for Psychological & Social Foundations



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