Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction

Ideally located in the nation’s capital, 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. The program encourages critical thought and creative work through coursework focusing on curriculum, instruction, research, and additional courses and learning opportunities that intentionally link teaching and learning, policy, and evaluation to students’ substantial prior experiences. C&I doctoral students have the opportunity to meet national leaders in education and participate in internships that expand horizons. Doctoral students often choose to contribute to our K-12 teacher-preparation programs through teaching and supervision opportunities.

The program focuses on understanding how curriculum and instruction can be constructed and applied to educational reform and diverse populations of students. Students work together to build research skills and study in a collaborative social context, grounded in the realities of schooling. There are close ties with faculty. Doctoral students will become part of a community that links scholars with practicing professionals, policy makers and educational organizations in Washington, DC and beyond. Students can also use the program expand their content knowledge or delve into other fields through linkages with GW's Columbian College of Arts and Sciences or other schools at GW.

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 in school systems or master teacher leaders in schools.

For more information, download the Curriculum & Instruction Handbook.

For more information on the Curriculum and Instruction doctoral program, please contact our Graduate Assistant, Tyler Dickinson Luther or the faculty program coordinator, Dr. Jonathan Eakle.

  • Leading Policy and Research: 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. Our purpose is to prepare leaders who will work to improve pre-K-16 education in local, national and international settings.
  • Develop knowledge and core competencies: (1) Multiple perspectives on curriculum and instruction policies; (2) Theories, methods, models, and ethics of program evaluation: (3) Efforts to create equitable educational systems; (4) Leadership roles in organizations that seek to bring about change; and, (5) Communicating ideas through publication, grant writing, curriculum writing, policy writing, and alternative forms. An understanding of the impact of policy decisions on curriculum and instruction.

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 9 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
EDUC 8110 Advanced Study: Ideas, Issues, and Practices in Education

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

9 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

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
(202) 994-6174
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
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 page.

Transformation Begins Here

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

In the News

GSEHD doctoral candidate Naamal DeSilva (curriculum and instruction) hosted a discussion titled Pantsuit Nation - in The Den about the book Pantsuit Nation, to which she was a contributor. The event took place at Politics and Prose on Wednesday, May 10.

Current student Sarah Jennings (master's, international education), Dr. Laura Engel, and current student Beth Short (Ed.D., curriculum and instruction) presented a poster, Global Campaign for Urban Sustainability: Building K-12 Student Agency, Environmental Literacy, and Global Competencies Through Digital Storytelling, at the Service-Learning and Civic Engagement Conference at Towson University.