Ph.D. in Curriculum & Instruction

Feed your intellectual curiosity, develop research skills and build your leadership potential in our Ph.D. program, which will prepare you for university-level positions in academia, research institutes or think tanks.

Courses focus on a wide range of topics important to education professionals, including curriculum, instruction, diversity, policy and research. Our flexible degree program encourages you to work closely with our expert faculty to develop a customized coursework plan. You can take classes across the Morgridge College of Education, as well as the entire University, opening up your course selection to meet your particular interests.

Applications Open for Next Academic Year in August 

Applications Open In August

Explore Admission Requirements


Areas of Study

Curriculum Studies

  • Students learn about curriculum design, models of curricula, instructional strategies, assessment and student engagement.
  • Students explore themes including (but not limited to) diversity, teacher education, aesthetics, urban education, family studies, social work, library and information science, zoo and museum education, and international education.

Mathematics Education

  • Students learn about ambitious and equitable instructional practices that support meaningful learning experiences for all students, particularly those in historically marginalized groups.
  • Students learn various research designs and methods to address problems of practice within mathematics education.

Gifted Education

Culturally & Linguistically Diverse Education (CLDE)

  • Students learn about culturally responsive pedagogy and the cultural, language, cognitive and academic needs of culturally and linguistically diverse learners.
  • Students apply knowledge of language acquisition, culturally relevant literature, curriculum and assessment practice, and funds of knowledge to bridge communities, classrooms, and schools.
  • Students gain eligibility for a Colorado Department of Education endorsement in Culturally & Linguistically Diverse Education.

Special Education

  • Students learn about social-emotional, cognitive, academic and behavioral outcomes for children with special needs.
  • Students collaborate with families, community partners and school personnel to enhance learning opportunities for children with special needs.
  • Students gain eligibility for a Colorado Department of Education endorsement in Special Education.


  • Students learn about social-emotional, cognitive, academic and behavioral needs for children with both special needs and giftedness.

If your interests lie outside of these areas, you still have many options. Our experienced faculty will help you develop a coursework plan that supports your learning needs and professional goals.


Learning Outcomes

The learning outcomes for the Ph.D. in Curriculum & Instruction program are as follows:

  • Inclusive Excellence: Create systems of empowerment to improve educational outcomes for diverse students, families and communities, especially those who are or have been marginalized.
  • Research: Critically analyze and conduct rigorous research to address educational inequities.
  • Leadership & Advocacy: Act as an agent of change.
  • Curriculum: Design, implement and evaluate curricula that support learning for all students.
  • Instruction: Design, implement and evaluate effective and equitable instructional practices.
  • Assessment: Design, implement and evaluate assessments to guide instruction and improve student learning.

Program Requirements

  • 90 credit hours, 24 of which may be in a specialization area
  • Comprehensive exam
  • Dissertation project that challenges and contributes to scholarship in education, with a focus on Curriculum & Instruction