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Curriculum & Instruction: Ed.D. - Doctor of Education

Graduates are practitioner-scholars who have the knowledge and skills needed to solve localized educational problems and to provide effective leadership within organizations in the areas of curriculum, instruction, and assessment.

At a Glance

Program Results

Ed.D. - Doctor of Education

Curriculum & Instruction

Best Suited To

Working educators anywhere in the world who hold a master's degree and have 4+ years of full-time teaching experience.

Program Type

  • Part Time


  • Online

Estimated Length

4-7 years 

Application Deadline

January 15 to start next fall  



About This Program

A cohort of education leaders
Your classmates and faculty mentors represent some of the most diverse, passionate leaders from across the country and around the world. Within this community, you and other practitioner-scholars will combine academic, theoretical, and practical understandings with personal practice and self-reflection to become change leaders in your professional context. 

Personalized pace of study
Every candidate maps out a personalized academic plan that accounts for their professional and life commitments. Our asynchronous, online model allows dedicated practitioners to flexibly earn their degree while working from anywhere in the world.

Linking research and practice
Critical reflection, knowledge, and research lead to transformational learning, and when combined with field studies, mentor supervision, collaborative group work, and a variety of technologies, our doctoral candidates build a robust portfolio of practical work.

Graduates of this program:

  • Apply their extensive knowledge of curriculum, instruction, and assessment to their professional practice 
  • Utilize systematic inquiry processes to address problems of practice
  • Engage stakeholders in collaborative problem-solving
  • Promote equity through their work


Program Overview

Admission Requirements

This program requires the submission of Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores as part of the application process. GRE scores must be less than 5 years old. Visit our Graduate Admission page for the full graduate admission process.

Additional admission requirements that apply specifically to this program are listed below:


  • Master’s degree from an accredited institution. 
  • Minimum of four years full-time teaching experience (or equivalent professional experience).

Admissions Requirements

  1. Two letters of recommendation, at least one of which must come from a recent supervisor.
  2. Goal statement of approximately 2,000 words, please describe your purpose in pursuing an Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction, the academic and professional experiences that have prepared you for this program, your professional goals, and at least one professional challenge that you plan to utilize your doctoral studies to help you tackle - and why that challenge motivates you.
  3. A writing sample of 1,500 - 5,000 words that is your original work, makes a clear and compelling argument supported by evidence and incorporates scholarly sources to support that argument.
  4. A resume or CV that highlights evidence of the following:
  • Positions held with details about role and responsibilities
  • Leadership work with details about your role and responsibilities
  • Professional learning with details about your role and responsibilities
  • Any professional work, learning opportunities, or published articles focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) with details about your role and responsibilities

Applicants are responsible for ensuring that all required materials are submitted by the deadline. Incomplete applications will not be read and may be canceled if left incomplete. Materials should be tracked using the checklist in the application. Decisions are typically made by mid-to-late March.

Transferring Credits

Up to 24 graduate credits from an accredited institution may be applied toward the Ed.D. (if earned within ten (10) years of admission to the program - within five years for the leadership in reading and literacy courses, and provided the program area determines that the courses are relevant to the doctoral program). Decisions about transferring credits are made by the C&I Ed.D. committee. We typically do not transfer credits for Tier II C&I core or research methods courses. 

Graduate Admission

Application for admission is made to the School of Education and Human Development Office of Admission & Enrollment. For more information about the graduate admission process, please visit our Graduate Admission page.


The Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction requires a minimum of 72 credit hours, consisting of:

  • Twenty-four (24) credit hours of the C&I Core
  • Minimum of eighteen (18) credit hours of the Research Methods Sequence
  • Twelve (12) credit hours of courses in a supporting Area of Emphasis
  • Six (6) credit hours of Field Study
  • Ten (10) credit hours related to the culminating Capstone Project
  • Two (2) credit hours of examinations

Milestone Doctoral Assessments 
Student progress, performance, and professional behavior may be evaluated by the program area faculty at any time. Following such evaluations, advisors will notify students about the assessment of their progress in the program and inform them of any deficiencies identified and the required action to remain in good standing. Failure to remediate deficiencies may result in dismissal from the program.

The Curriculum & Instruction Ed.D. program includes the following five Milestone Assessments. Students must pass each milestone in succession in order to continue to progress through their doctoral studies.

  1. Problem of Practice White Paper Proposal - Students complete the Problem of Practice White Paper Proposal while taking EDLF 8382 Educational Inquiry for Practitioners, which is the first course in the Research Methods Sequence and is typically taken during the first semester of doctoral study.
  2. Preliminary Examination - Full-time students take the preliminary examination after the equivalent of one semester of full-time study; part-time students work with their advisors to determine the best timing for the examination. The preliminary examination asks students to define a specific problem of practice (PoP), conduct a literature review about that PoP, and craft a set of recommendations to address that PoP. The purpose of the examination is to ensure student proficiency in key skills of synthesizing research literature, effective writing, and oral presentation necessary for advanced-level doctoral studies.
  3. 6-Credit Field Study Portfolio and Presentation - Full-time students undertake the Field Study after one year of full-time study; part-time students work with their advisors to determine the best timing for the Field Study, which typically takes place after a minimum of 24 credit hours of study. The Field Study challenges students to perform unpaid fieldwork at a school, district, nonprofit, or other educational setting, where students investigate and address a specific problem of practice (PoP) or other compelling question faced by the partner organization. Each student’s culminating task is to create a comprehensive Field Study Portfolio that captures the student’s work at their partner organization and sets forth the Final Product – a piece of curriculum, an academic program, an operational system, etc. – that the student creates to address the chosen POP or other organizational challenge.
  4. Comprehensive Examination -  Students complete a comprehensive examination during or immediately following the final semester of their doctoral coursework. Students must pass the comprehensive examination before proposing their capstone research.  At the conclusion of their coursework, all students complete a Comprehensive Exam, which asks students to synthesize their coursework and to delve more deeply into the academic literature pertaining to a specific area of interest. Students work with their respective advisors to develop a comprehensive exam question that is of particular interest to the student. Exam questions should focus on one or more key themes that connect to students’ studies in the C&I Core and in their chosen Area of Emphasis. The Comprehensive Exam challenges students to conduct a targeted literature review with two goals in mind: to deepen their learning about specific topics or themes that are of particular interest, and to refine the literature-review skills that will be critical to the final Capstone Project.
  5. Capstone Project Assessment - After completing all required coursework and milestones, Ed.D. students will complete a Capstone proposal and project. A capstone project is intended to be of direct benefit to practitioners and, ultimately, the public. It is also a demonstration of a student’s ability to carry out disciplined inquiry and argumentation in accordance with the School of Education and Human Development’s standards of performance, which should prepare students to be leaders in their fields.

    Through the Capstone project, students should demonstrate the capacity to:

  • Consider problems of practice from perspectives other than those derived from their own experience and early training.
  • Challenge prevailing assumptions and beliefs about teaching, learning, leadership, and what it means to be a professional in a democratic society.
  • Make sound, defensible, research-based judgments regarding how current practices can be undertaken more effectively and efficiently.
  • Apply skills of practical inquiry in a rigorous and systematic way to address problems of practice. Such skills should include, but not be limited to, locating and framing problems; acquiring, organizing, and analyzing information; and planning, implementing, and evaluating decisions.
  • Develop recommendations regarding practices, programs, and/or policies.
  • Take into consideration the needs of specific individuals and the characteristics of particular contexts.
  • Effectively communicate the results to appropriate audiences.

To learn more about specific courses taken as part of the completion of this degree, visit the Graduate Record website. These webpages represent the official repository for academic program requirements. A link to these publications can be found in the Curriculum Information section at the bottom of this page.

Program Faculty

Anne Jewett

Anne Jewett

  • Assistant Professor
  • Degree Director, M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction program
Wintre Foxworth Johnson

Wintre Foxworth Johnson

  • Assistant Professor
Gail E. Lovette

Gail E. Lovette

  • Assistant Professor

Contact Us


The information contained on this website is for informational purposes only. The Graduate Record represents the official repository for academic program requirements. These publications may be found at  

As a member of the State Authorizations Reciprocity Agreement, the University of Virginia (UVA) is authorized to provide curriculum in a distance learning environment to students located in all states in the United States except for California. (34 CFR 668.43(a)(6)& 34 CFR 668.72(n)). 

Upon completion of the Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction program at the UVA School of Education and Human Development, graduates may be eligible for initial professional licensure in another U.S. state by applying to the licensing board or agency in that state.

Please visit the University’s state authorization web pages to make an informed decision regarding which states’ educational requirements for initial licensure are met by this program. (668.43(a)(5) (v)(A) - (C))

Enrolled students who change their current (or mailing) address to a state other than Virginia should update this information immediately in the Student Information System as it may impact their ability to complete internship, practicum, or clinical hours, use Title IV funds, or meet licensure or certification requirements in the new state. (34 CFR 668.402).