Ph.D. in Curriculum and 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.

Specific areas of study include:

  • Curriculum Studies
    • Students learn about curriculum design, models of curriculum, 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
    • Students learn about gifted education and leadership theory so that they can become leaders in gifted education.
    • Students develop research skills that are focused on problem identification and interventions.
    • Leads to eligibility to apply for Colorado Department of Education Endorsement in Gifted Education.
  • Culturally and 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.
    • Leads to eligibility to apply for Colorado Department of Education Endorsement in Culturally and 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.
    • Leads to eligibility to apply for Colorado Department of Education Endorsement in Special Education.
  • Twice-Exceptionality
    • 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.


The program learning outcomes for the Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction 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 curriculum that supports 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

You’ll need to complete 90-quarter credit hours. Of these quarter credit hours, 18 must be cognate courses in a specialization area. You must also complete a:

  • Comprehensive exam
  • Dissertation project that challenges and contributes to scholarship in education, with a focus on curriculum and instruction
Approximate Completion Time

Four to seven years


Department Chair
Dr. Rashida Banerjee
303-871-6597, KRH 245

Academic Services Associate
Kara Duggan

Admissions Contact
Noah Schlueter
303-871-2509, KRH 110
Office Hours: By appointment only

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