Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction

Transform Teaching and Learning

This Doctor of Education program cultivates research in curriculum, teaching, and learning that cross disciplinary boundaries. The highly selective program emphasizes inquiry-centered studies to explore cutting-edge education issues in formal and informal learning environments, such as museums. Key features of the program include:

  • Research Practice Teams in partnership with leading international education institutions inside the Washington DC Beltway
  • 48 credit degree that can be completed in three years
  • Hands-on research opportunities from the onset and throughout program
  • Publication and professional conference opportunities
  • Individualized study options
  • Offers dissertations in practice as alternatives to traditional dissertations
Research Practice Teams

    Connecting Science Communities

    Individuals with experience in museum education, community organizing, data visualization, social media and digital storytelling, anthropology, or science teaching are encouraged to apply.

    The GW Graduate School of Education is located amid some of the most renowned science museums and research centers in the world. Though the science research and policy developed in DC has a global reach, little is known about the impact of DC’s science institutions on neighborhoods and communities in their own backyard. The Connecting Science Communities Research Practice Team will conduct the first in-depth study about DC residents’ relationships with science and major science museums in their communities. Working with a team of preeminent university and museum educators and researchers, we will explore:

  • What physical, social, economic, and other resources sustain community science in each of the DC wards?
  • What do DC residents view as major barriers or needs to support their science communities?
  • How do DC science organizations’ resources and programming align with those needs?
  • The work of this RPT will be shared with science organizations in DC to better align their programming with the needs and interests of DC residents, and ultimately, heighten awareness, inclusivity, and appreciation of science in the nation’s capital.

    Learning Experiences at a National Historic Education Center

    Taking place in one of DC’s best known national historic sites, the Research Practice Team (RPT) will engage with its historical and cultural content, and its pedagogies to conduct evaluation and empirical research. A particular focus of the RPT is how to best serve the site’s 650,000 annual visitors, many of whom are K-12 students, to the museum and education center. Members of the team will explore visitor encounters with current exhibits and programing and compare those with a reimagined museum to understand visitor learning experiences. Working with a team of preeminent university and museum educators and researchers, we will explore:

  • What connections might visitors make between past histories and to their everyday lives?
  • To what extent do visitors perceive their experiences as knowledge-building?
  • What emotions do visitors experience through interacting with the exhibits?
  • Might the museum experience inspire visitors to take social or political action?
  • The work of this RPT will be shared through international conferences and publications in high impact venues.

    Individualized Doctoral Research with Professors of Education

    Alongside the Research Practice Teams of the doctor of education program, we offer options for highly-individualized research with education professors. This option is selective and connects qualified students to work directly on faculty members’ lines of scholarship and research with major international institutions. Research areas include:

  • Teaching and learning in classrooms and informal learning environments, such as national parks
  • Fine and performing arts with major museums and performance centers
  • Humanities work in literacy, history, languages, and literacy education
  • Social justice and equity in education
  • Student engagement with science and math in schools and out-of-school settings including environmental education issues, such as climate change

A minimum of 48 credits, including 12 credits of core courses, 9 credits in research, and 6-9 credits of internship, and 3-6 credits of electives.

Core Courses

CPED 8325 - Curriculum Theory
CPED 8330 - Foundations of Education Research in Curriculum and Instruction
CPED 8331 - Seminar in Teaching
CPED 8334 - Seminar in Learning

Doctoral Internship (6 to 9 credits)

CPED 8354 - Doctoral Internship: Teacher Education


3 to 6 credits of electives selected in consultation with advisor

Research Courses

EDUC 8120 - Group Comparison Designs and Analyses
EDUC 8122 - Qualitative Research Methods

3 Credits from the following:
EDUC 8100 - Experimental Courses
EDUC 8130 - Survey Research Methods
EDUC 8131 - Case Study Research Methods
EDUC 8140 - Ethnographic Research Methods
EDUC 8142 - Phenomenological Research Methods
EDUC 8142 - Phenomenological Research Methods
EDUC 8144 - Discourse Analysis
EDUC 8170 - Educational Measurement
EDUC 8171 - Predictive Designs and Analyses
EDUC 8172 - Multivariate Analysis
EDUC 8173 - Structural Equation Modeling
EDUC 8174 - Hierarchical Linear Modeling
EDUC 8175 - Item Response Theory
EDUC 8177 - Assessment Engineering


CPED 8998 - Doctoral Seminar in Curriculum and Instruction (taken for 3 credits)
CPED 8999 - Dissertation Research (minimum 12 credits needed to complete requirement)
Approved dissertation proposal required
Successful completion of comprehensive exam required

Assistant Professor
(202) 994-1713
Associate Professor
(202) 994-9084
Associate Professor
(202) 994-2011
Associate Professor
(202) 994-6821
Associate Professor
(202) 994-0997
Assistant Professor
(202) 994-2007
Associate Professor
(202) 994-1527
Associate Professor
(202) 994-4516
Assistant Professor
(202) 994-3236
Associate Professor
(202) 994-1542
Career Outlook


Leading ideas in government, schools and think tanks. A few recent graduates include:

  • US Department of Education

    Dr. Carol O'Donnell, Ed.D. '12, A former public school teacher, Dr. O'Donnell now serves as a Group Leader in the Office of State Support at the US Department of Education in Washington, DC, coordinating the policy and financial resources associated with major grant programs that support States, districts, and schools as they implement programs and initiatives focused on education reform, school improvement, teacher quality, and improved student achievement.

  • Institute of Education Sciences

    Dr. Rob Ochsendorf, Ed.D. '09, Currently a program officer at the Institute of Education Sciences in Washington, DC Rob oversees research grants and helps develop national research priorities focused on math and science education for at risk learners. His experiences at GSEHD were invaluable in helping him develop a deep understanding of the qualities inherent in high quality education research.

  • Metropolitan State University of Denver

    Dr. Philip Bernhard, Ed.D. '12, Currently serving as an Assistant Professor of Secondary Education and Department Chair of Secondary Education, Educational Technology, and K-12 Education at the Metropolitan State University of Denver.

  • Washington International School

    Dr. Jim Reese, Ed.D., '08, The director of studies at Washington International School, Dr. Reese oversees curriculum coordination and professional development of faculty. He also works closely with Project Zero, a research group at Harvard's Graduate School of Education. He credits two GSEHD programs, the M.Ed. in Secondary English and the Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction, for preparing him well for his career in education.

  • The George Washington University

    Dr. Lottie Baker, Ed.D. '13, Dr. baker coordinated an English language curriculum project for police academies in Southeast Asia through a U.S. State Department grant before joining the faculty at GSEHD in 2015.



Program Entry: Fall, Summer
Prerequisites: Master's Degree
Campus: Foggy Bottom

Application Requirements

  • Online Application
  • Resume
  • Statement of Purpose directly tied to Research Practice Team or individual faculty member’s research
  • 2 Letters of Recommendation (must be academic)
  • Transcripts (unofficial)
  • Interview with Faculty
  • Application Fee
  • No GRE Required

*Additional application requirements may exist for international applicants

For more information on any of these requirements, please visit our Admissions FAQ page.

Transformation Begins Here

Learn more about the Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction program located on campus (202-994-8411).

In the News

GSEHD Students Receive Awards at GW Research Days

  • Yiqing Xu (master's, Early Childhood Special Education) and Zachary Goldman (Ed.D., Curriculum and Instruction) tied for first place under the graduate student poster category of Studies of Education and Organizational Learning. Ms. Xu's poster was entitled, "What Does Social-Emotional Learning Look Like in Mainland China?" Mr. Goldman's poster was entitled, "A Dual Mediation Model to Describe the Effects of Digital Practice with Feedback."
  • Lois DiNatale (Ed.D., Human and Organizational Learning) won the second place award under the category of Behavioral, Social and Cultural Studies for her poster "The cultural development of moral repair in US military veterans: A hermeneutic phenomenological study."

Dr. Tiffany Sikorski and GSEHD doctoral student Beth Short (Curriculum and Instruction) presented a paper entitled "Analyzing coordination between scientific practices and crosscutting concepts in the NGSS" at the National Association for Research in Science Teaching 2019 National Meeting.

GSEHD alumna and Visiting Assistant Professor in Research Methods Dr. Sandra Vanderbilt (Ed.D., Curriculum and Instruction) published an article entitled, "Methods and Ethics in the Anthropology of Childhood" in the February 2019 Issue of Neos. (Dr. Vanderbilt's article starts on page 5.)

Three GSEHD alumnae were recently recognized as part of the Smithsonian Science for Global Goals team at the Smithsonian Science Education Center. Under the leadership of Director, Dr. Carol O’Donnell (Ed.D., Curriculum and Instruction), the project, Smithsonian Science for Global Goals, was awarded the 2018 Smithsonian Education Innovation Award, which “recognizes an outstanding program, resource, or other initiative in education.” Smithsonian Science for Global Goals was recognized for "its boundary-pushing approach to helping students across the globe understand critical socio-scientific issues and how they can take action in their local communities to make a difference. The project’s inquiry-based education modules, each focusing on a complex issue such as the challenges and mitigation of mosquito-borne illness and flexibly designed to meet classroom and regional needs, promise to engage and inspire a new generation of scientifically literate global citizens.” Heidi Gibson (master's, International Education) led the development of the curricular framework and the program’s focus on informed action as a part of her IEP Capstone project. Katherine Blanchard (master's, International Education) manages international programming for the Smithsonian Science Education Center, which includes developing and managing implementation mechanisms for the Smithsonian Science for Global Goals program.

GSEHD alumna Dr. Maranda Ward (Ed.D., Curriculum and Instruction), has been appointed as a member of the D.C. Department of Health Commission on Health Equity.