Curriculum and Instruction, Ph.D.

Saint Louis University's doctoral program in curriculum and instruction is designed for individuals who work in educational settings — including schools, nonprofits and community organizations — and who wish to deepen their knowledge of teaching and learning.

SLU students choose a research focus that is informed by their work as practitioners and that addresses problems of practice in education. With an emphasis on issues of social justice and educational equity, the program prepares students to produce original research and advocate for educational change.  

Curriculum Overview

This doctoral program emphasizes the tools of research and the interplay of theory and practice in education. The degree requires the completion of 36 credits of coursework, 12 credits of dissertation research, a comprehensive written examination, an oral examination/proposal defense, and a public presentation and defense of the dissertation. Up to six credits of graduate-level research coursework may be considered for transfer.


Possible career paths for graduates with advanced degrees in curriculum and instruction include faculty positions in colleges and universities, positions in research institutes and organizations, curriculum coordinators/teacher leaders, teacher educators, educational outreach coordinators, nonprofit specialists, special educators and adult educators.

Admission Requirements

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  • Master's degree from a regionally accredited institution.
  • Transcript(s)
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • GRE or other applicable graduate entry exam scores
  • Résumé
  • Professional goal statement

Requirements for International Students

Along with the general admission requirements above, the following must be provided by prospective international students:

  • Demonstration of English Language Proficiency.
  • Proof of financial support that must include:
    • A letter of financial support from the person(s) or sponsoring agency funding the time at Saint Louis University.
    • A letter from the sponsor's bank verifying that the funds are available and will be so for the duration of study at the University.
  • Academic records, in English translation, for postsecondary studies outside the United States. These must include the courses taken and/or lectures attended, practical laboratory work, the maximum and minimum grades attainable, the grades earned or the results of all end-of-term examinations, and any honors or degrees received. WES and ECE transcripts are accepted.

Please note that application deadlines for this program differ for international students.

Review Process

A committee reviews each application holistically.

Application Deadlines

Domestic students should apply for the fall semester by June 15, for the spring semester by Nov. 1, and for the summer semester by April 1.
International students should apply by May 1 for the fall semester, Oct.1 for the spring semester, and Feb. 1 for the summer semester.   


Tuition Cost Per Credit
Graduate Tuition $1,370

Additional charges may apply. Other resources are listed below:

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Scholarships and Financial Aid

For priority consideration for graduate assistantships, apply by Jan. 15. 

For more information, visit the Office of Student Financial Services

  1. Graduates will be able to explain learning and curriculum theories.
  2. Graduates will be able to research questions in the field of curriculum and instruction.
  3. Graduates will be able to analyze social justice issues in education.
  4. Graduates will be able to explain how learning and curriculum theories are used to develop education programs.
  5. Graduates will be able to use oral and written communication.

SLU's Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction is a 48-credit (36 credits of coursework plus 12 credits of dissertation research) degree program beyond the master's degree.

Curriculum and Instruction6
Select six credits of the following:
Curriculum Theory
Seminar: History of American Education
Proseminar on Ed Research
Special Study for Written Comprehensive Exams
Content Electives12
Select 12 credits of the following:
Advanced Educational Psychology
Foundations of Urban Education
Advanced Growth and Development
Education in American Culture
Seminar: History of American Education
Reimagining Schools for Equity, Justice, & Healing
Seminar: Current Educational Problems
Using Children's YA Literature to Promote Conversations about Equity and Justice
Teaching Reading: Contemporary Issues & Practices
Disciplinary Literacy Assessment & Intervention
Language & Culture
Racial Literacy and Antiracist Praxis
Talking and Learning in Classrooms
Curriculum and Instruction Summer Institute
Developing and Implementing a Culturally Responsive Curriculum through Instruction and Assessment
Collaborative Leadership and Communication
Developing Writers and Thinkers: Advanced Methods of Teaching Writing
Curriculum Development
Principles of Assessment for Education Settings
Evaluation of Education Programs
Action Research for Teachers
Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Designs
Comparative Theories and Practice to Address Challenging Behaviors
Mental Health Literacy
Classroom Organization and Management (Early Childhood, ECSE, Elementary, Special Education)
Advanced Studies in Psych/Educ the Exceptional Child
Differentiated Instruction: Theories and Practice
Teaching Everyone: Identifying Supports for Educational Access
Special Education Administration
Proseminar on Ed Research
Contemporary Issues in Education Policy
Economics of Education
Applied Research and Reporting
Policy Evaluation and Assessment
Poverty, Inequality and Public Policy
Research Courses
Required Research Courses12
Advanced Research Courses6
Dissertation Research
EDR 6990Dissertation Research12
Total Credits48

Required Research Courses

Students are required to successfully complete the following four research courses. Up to six credits may be considered for transfer based on students’ prior coursework.  

EDR 5000General Research Methods for Education3
EDR 5100Intro to Inferential Stats: Ed3
EDR 5400Qualitative Research in Education3
EDR 6700Theoretical and Conceptual Frameworks in Education Research3

Advanced Research Electives

Students choose six credits of research electives from either the qualitative or quantitative focus (see lists below).

Qualitative Research Focus (choose two courses from the following:)
Evaluation of Education Programs
Advanced Qual Research for Ed
Talking and Learning in Classrooms
Quantitative Research Focus (choose two courses from the following:)
Research Design and Analysis
Intermediate Applied Statistics for Education
Multilevel Regression Models
Designing Mixed Methods Research

Non-Course Requirements

  • Students must pass a comprehensive written examination upon completion of all required and elective courses.
  • Students must pass an oral examination/proposal defense.
  • Students must pass a public presentation and defense of their dissertation.

Continuation Standards

Students must maintain a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 in all graduate/professional courses.

Roadmaps are recommended semester-by-semester plans of study for programs and assume full-time enrollment unless otherwise noted.  

Courses and milestones designated as critical (marked with !) must be completed in the semester listed to ensure a timely graduation. Transfer credit may change the roadmap.

This roadmap should not be used in the place of regular academic advising appointments. All students are encouraged to meet with their advisor/mentor each semester. Requirements, course availability and sequencing are subject to change.

Plan of Study Grid
Year One
EPE 5050 Proseminar on Ed Research 3
EDR 5000 General Research Methods for Education 3
EDR 5400 Qualitative Research in Education 3
Content elective OR research elective (see below) 3
EDR 5100 Intro to Inferential Stats: Ed 3
Year Two
EDI 6460
Curriculum Theory
or Seminar: History of American Education
Content elective OR research elective (see below) 3
EDR 6700 Theoretical and Conceptual Frameworks in Education Research 3
Content elective OR research elective (see below) 3
Year Three
Content elective OR research elective (see below) 3
Content elective OR research elective (see below) 3
Content Elective 3
EDI 6950 Special Study for Written Comprehensive Exams (Please register in your advisor’s section number.) 0
Year Four
EDR 6990 Dissertation Research (Please register in your advisor’s section number.) 6
EDR 6990 Dissertation Research (Please register in your advisor’s section number.) 6
 Total Credits48

Apply for Admission

For additional admission questions, please contact:
Saint Louis University School of Education