Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction

Transform Teaching and Learning

Curriculum and instruction are central to educational improvement, constituting the what, how and why of teaching and learning. The study of curriculum and instruction not only entails content, methodology and assessment but also entails an understanding of why curriculum and instruction are important in affecting change both within and outside of schools.

The Curriculum and Instruction doctoral coursework encourages critical thought and creative work by focusing on curriculum, instruction, and research that intentionally link teaching, learning, policy, and evaluation to students’ prior experiences. The program focuses on understanding how curriculum and instruction can be constructed and reformed to create equitable educational systems designed for diverse populations of students. Doctoral students will become part of a community that links scholars with practicing professionals, policy makers and educational organizations in Washington, DC and beyond. Doctoral students also have the option of contributing to our K-12 teacher-preparation programs through teaching and supervision opportunities.

The Doctoral Program in Curriculum and Instruction (C&I) prepares education leaders who will work to improve pre-K through 16+ education in local, national and international settings. Graduates of the program can be found working in government agencies, teaching in university settings, or running informal education organizations. They also may be curriculum supervisors or curriculum developers in school systems or master teacher leaders in schools.

For more information, download the Curriculum & Instruction Handbook.


Transform Teaching and Learning

    Location: Unique to the DC, Maryland, Virginia (DMV) area, our location gives Curriculum & Instruction students access to urban or suburban; public, charter, or private schools. This allows students to examine, compare, and contrast schools with widely different student populations, structures, and demographics.

    Diverse Student Body: From across the country and around the globe, bringing a wide range of professional experience, skills, and enriching knowledge.

    Convenient Schedule: Courses are scheduled once a week in late afternoons and evenings (Monday-Thursday) to accommodate the schedules of working teachers, professionals, and for internship experiences.


A minimum of 66 credits, including 18 credits of core courses, 6 credits of policy and evaluation courses, 15 credits in research, and 3 credits of internship, and 12 credits of electives.

Core Courses

CPED 6305 - Foundations of Curriculum Theory
CPED 8325 - Advanced Ideas in Curriculum Theory
CPED 8330 - Paradigms of Instruction and Assessment
CPED 8331 - Seminar in Instruction
CPED 8334 - Seminar in Research in Curriculum and Instruction I

Policy & Evaluation Courses

CPED 8340 - Education Policy, Reform & Teacher Leadership
CPED 8341 - Evaluation in Curriculum & Instruction

Doctoral internship

CPED 8354 - Doctoral Internship: Teacher Education (taken for 3 credits)

Research Courses

CPED 8335 - Seminar in Research in Curriculum and Instruction II
EDUC 6116 - Introduction to Educational Statistics (Prerequisite)
EDUC 8120 - Group Comparison Designs and Analyses
EDUC 8122 - Qualitative Research Methods

6 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 8170 - Educational Measurement
EDUC 8171 - Predictive Designs and Analyses

Area of specialization

12 credits of electives selected in consultation with advisor


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

For more information on the Curriculum and Instruction doctoral program, please contact our Graduate Assistant, Goretti Vinuales or the faculty program coordinator, Dr. Brian Casemore.

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
  • 2 Letters of Recommendation (must be academic)
  • Transcripts (unofficial)
  • Standardized Test Scores (GRE or MAT)
  • Application Fee

*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.