Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

The Ph.D. in Curriculum & Instruction is intended for candidates who have a master's degree and desire to strengthen their abilities to do scholarly work and research in one or more of the emphasis areas.Ph.D. candidates are characterized as those individuals who will add to the knowledge base in their fields through intensive, systematic investigations of original questions. In preparation for this work, candidates and their doctoral committee design a series of courses, readings, and experiences that will enhance the candidate’s understandings of the traditions, research, and practices in their field and prepare the candidate to conduct original research. This design becomes a formal document when the doctoral committee members sign the Ph.D. Plan of Study form and submit it to the C I Graduate Office at least one semester prior to a candidate’s comprehensive examination.

The Ph.D. policies and procedures are intended to assure high academic performance while permitting flexibility in what is required of each student to achieve that standard. Advisers and doctoral committee members are expected to use their professional judgment in setting specific requirements for each doctoral student based upon their understanding of the students' individual goals and needs. Consequently, seldom do any two students complete their programs in the same way — even those who choose the same emphasis area. Each student must complete a candidacy examination, an oral and written comprehensive examination, residency requirement, and a dissertation within an eight-year period. Consult the Doctoral Degree Manual for further explanation.

The Graduate School has not set a minimum number of course credits for completion of the Ph.D. degree. The C I faculty have agreed in principle that a plan of study will include a distribution of courses and experiences among four categories: C I doctoral core, depth of knowledge (emphasis area), breadth of study (supporting field or fields), and research knowledge and capabilities. The candidate, doctoral adviser, and members of the doctoral committee negotiate the specifics of this plan.

Core Requirements

Core Requirements include two credits of course work. Students must enroll in C I 590 (one credit) during their first year in the doctoral program. This course offers an orientation to the C I doctoral program and fulfills the SARI requirement. Students must also enroll in a 590 colloquium (one credit) within their chosen emphasis area.

Depth of Knowledge 

Depth of Knowledge can be demonstrated through the successful completion of a combination of courses, readings, and experiences. The specifics of this category are left to the discretion of the emphasis area and the acceptance of the members of the doctoral committee. Doctoral committees typically expect the equivalent of at least 18 credits of course work to indicate depth of knowledge.

Breadth of Study

Breadth of Study represents a student’s efforts to broaden his or her inquiry into a chosen field by including a collection of academic, professional, and foundational work and studies in other departments and colleges across the University. Doctoral committees typically expect the equivalent of 15 credits to demonstrate breadth.

Research Knowledge and Capabilities

Research Knowledge and Capabilities are demonstrated through completion of coursework and projects. Ph.D. candidates are expected to demonstrate their abilities to function effectively within at least two research traditions; being able to read, understand, and critique published research; and to create, conduct, evaluate, and report on their original studies to scholarly audiences. The C I faculty recognizes the legitimacy of a wide variety of research traditions, including, but not limited to demographic, ethnographic, experimental, hermeneutic, historical, interpretive, linguistic, narrative, phenomenological, and theoretical. Doctoral committees typically expect 12 credits as demonstration of competence in this category.

Ph.D. Student Timelines/Milestones

  • Course work including C I 590 and C & S 590 in first year of doctoral study
  • Rotations (Guided experiences) in a variety of activities including teaching, supervision, research, leadership and service
  • Candidacy exam (taken at or near the end of the first year of study)
  • A two-semester residency experience is required for all doctoral degree candidates
  • Comprehensive exam (taken at or near the end of course work)
  • Dissertation proposal
  • Dissertation defense