Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Curriculum and Instruction

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Curriculum and Instruction

Develop the knowledge, professional skills, ethical sensibilities, and leadership potential to make a difference in the lives of all children and youth. With an emphasis on serving others and promoting social justice, our program prepares you to challenge inequities and contribute to the establishment of a more just society.

At a Glance

How many courses?

The program consists of 18 courses (54 credits total).

How long will it take?

Full-time students typically complete the program in 4-5 years.

When can I start?

You can begin the program only in the fall semester.


Students take a mixture of core courses, electives, and research courses in addition to classes within their chosen area of specialization, culminating in a dissertation. 


  • Courses: 18
  • Credits: 54
  • Dissertation
  • Comprehensive Exam

Educational Leadership, Policy & Educational Change
This specialization focuses on how educational leaders engage in policy and practice to support education reform and instructional improvement. Collaborating with partner faculty in our Educational Leadership and Policy program, students in this specialization will explore leadership and policy across various educational contexts, examining leadership and policy at the school, district, state and federal levels. Students will engage in coursework that covers a variety of topics related to leadership theory, the policy process, organizational design, legal aspects of schooling, racial equity and social justice, and educational change. Students will also learn about current research and empirical approaches to the study of educational leadership and policy via coursework and research assistantships with Educational Leadership and Policy faculty.

Language, Literacy, & Culture
Focus on communication, language, and literacy development across a variety of cultural, linguistic, and economic contexts. This specialization fosters an understanding of varied methodological approaches in the study of pre-linguistic communication, language, and literacy development and achievement, with additional attention toward issues of pre- and in-service teacher preparation. At the heart of the Language, Literacy, and Culture specialization is the deep exploration of the intersection of race, class, and culture as they pertain to language and literacy in education and development, as well as asking theoretical and practical research questions that inform instruction and foster student learning. 

Methods and Modes of Inquiry in Curriculum & Instruction 
Appropriate for students who are interested in answering a variety of research questions related to inquiry methodologies—those that situate the researcher in relation to the theoretical, ethical, and practical principles of research—in curriculum and instruction and in the broader overlapping fields of the social sciences. Students will engage in coursework that covers a variety of methodological traditions, but will gain particular expertise on qualitative methods. As such, students will be able to compare, critique, and combine methods in relation to specific areas of educational inquiry. Students will also develop a deep understanding of the relationships between theory, epistemology, method, and educational practice. 

Science, Mathematics, and Technology
Interdisciplinary in nature cutting across formal and informal educational settings with a focus on engaging and supporting all learners, including those alienated by or underrepresented in the STEM disciplines. Particular consideration is given to research informing theory and practice in collaboration with local practitioners. The Science, Mathematics, and Technology specialization encompasses a range of work including: use of innovative technologies, inclusive teaching of students with disabilities, support of teachers’ beliefs and knowledge, design of learning environments, influence of sociocultural historic contexts, role of academic language, and support of student inquiry and reasoning.

Teaching, Curriculum, and the Politics of Schooling 
Explore issues related to teaching, teacher education, curriculum, minoritized learners, democratic education, and the politics of schooling. Topics are connected by their attention to issues of access, representation, the causes and consequences of inequities in educational opportunities and outcomes for minoritized groups, and the impact of historical and existing practices, policies, and politics. Key areas of this specialization, which includes national and international work, include: teacher learning, teacher quality, teaching and curriculum interventions, curriculum design, curriculum/policy controversies, democratic schooling, education reform, and urban education.



Educational Leadership Faculty

Please note: This group of faculty is for students who specialize in Educational Leadership, Policy & Educational Change 

Financial Aid

Education should level the playing field. We feel the same way about financial aid.

The Lynch School of Education and Human Development provides more than $10.8 million in financial aid to students each year. As a result, the quality of BC’s instruction, the benefit of our alumni network, and the impact a BC degree will have on your employment options is both affordable and invaluable. 



  • Assistant Professor
  • Research Associate
  • Principal
  • Post-Doctoral Fellow
  • Curriculum Director


  • University of Washington
  • Villanova University
  • Brown University
  • University of New Mexico
  • American Institutes of Research
  • Northeastern University
  • Boston University




Application & Deadline

Apply Now

Prerequisite Information: To be eligible for the PhD program, applicants must already hold a Master's degree.

A non-refundable application fee of $75 is required. The fee is waived for select applicants.


Fall 2024:

  • December 1
    This program does not offer rolling admission after the deadline.



To be uploaded to your online application.

In addition to your academic history and relevant volunteer and/or work experience, please include any licenses currently held, any social justice-related experience, any language skills other than English, and any research experience or publications.

Personal Statement

In 1,000-1,500 words: 

  • Describe how your academic and professional background, and any life experiences, have informed your interest in completing doctoral work in the TCS department.
  • Describe your research interests and future research plans.
  • Explain why you are a good match for the Curriculum & Instruction Ph.D. program at the Lynch School of Education and Human Development. A good statement of purpose will indicate 1-3 specific faculty whose program of the research aligns with the research interests of the applicant and describe how specific faculty can support the applicant’s scholarly and research interests.

Letters of Recommendation

Three letters of recommendation are required with at least one required from an academic source. Applicants may submit one additional recommendation of their choice. Academic letters are a better indicator of your qualifications for doctoral work as compared to professional letters. Ideally, academic letters should be as recent as possible, and from faculty who are in fields related to education.


Transcripts from all college/university study are required.

Applicants who have received degrees from institutions outside the United States should view the "International Students" section for additional credential evaluation requirements.

Please begin your online application before submitting your transcripts. Details on how to submit transcripts and international credential evaluations can be found within the application. In order to ensure your transcript reaches our office, it is important to review and follow the instructions.

Standardized Tests

The Curriculum & Instruction PhD program will not require the GREs. If you wish to send GRE scores, the Lynch School GRE code is 3218. 

Please view the "International Students" section for information on English Proficiency test requirements.

Writing Sample

To be uploaded to your online application.

All applicants to this program are required to submit one piece of work that demonstrates graduate-level writing ability. This document may be an academic term paper, a published work in which you are the primary author, a training manual or curriculum that you have created, a clinical case formulation, or another representative sample of your writing. The document should be approximately 15-25 pages.

International Students

Applicants who have completed a degree outside of the United States must have a course-by-course evaluation of their transcript(s) completed by an evaluation company approved by the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services (NACES). Submission of falsified documents is grounds for denial of admission or dismissal from the University.

Applicants who are not native speakers of English and who have not received a degree from an institution where English is the primary language of instruction must also submit a TOEFL or IELTS test result that meets the minimum score requirement.

Please click the link below for full details on these requirements.

Requirements for International Students

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