Earn Your Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction

curriculum and instruction adviser planning programs
curriculum and instruction adviser planning programs

About the Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction

Degree Type:

Doctorate, PhD, EdD


Online, Classroom


3 – 5 Years

Total Credits:

Around 76

Aid Eligible:

Yes, FAFSA, Grants for accredited programs

The curriculum and type of instruction students receive is a critical aspect of their overall education. It’s important that the curriculum students are taught stays relevant to the world they are living in. If you want to help make a positive impact on student curriculum or the way that teachers instruct their students, then you should consider earning a Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction.

This level of degree, combined with your experience, can give you the knowledge and skills to apply for higher-level positions within the education system.

Coursework for a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction

Curriculum at the doctoral level is advanced and will push you to explore and analyze topics in a more in-depth and focused way. It will teach you ways to analyze student and teacher data, incorporate new technologies in the classroom, research educational theories and much more.

If you have already earned your master’s degree in curriculum and instruction and are looking to expand your education to a doctoral degree in curriculum and instruction, then you should expect the degree to cover many of the same topics you learned about in your master’s program. The main difference is that your courses will be at a higher level and include various seminars.

Examples of Course Titles
Advanced Ideas in Curriculum TheorySurvey Research Methods
Advanced Study: Ideas, Issues, and Practices in EducationPredictive Design and Analysis
Principles of Educational AdministrationAdvanced Application of Research for the Improvement of Curriculum and Instruction
Imperatives for Educational LeadersEducation Policy, Reform, and Teacher Leadership
Seminar in InstructionSeminar in Curriculum and Instruction

Degree Specialization Opportunities

There are specialization opportunities available for your Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction depending on the school you attend. The concentration you choose will alter the courses you take. In fact, some schools require that your courses be determined by the doctoral committee to ensure that you are gaining the appropriate knowledge. However, not every program offers areas of concentration. Some only offer generalist degrees.

Know whether or not you will want your Doctorate of Curriculum and Instruction to have an area of concentration before you join a program. That way, you can ensure that your program offers the concentration area you are most interested in.

Duration of a Doctorate Program in Curriculum and Instruction

How long it will take you to earn your Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction will depend on what program you join and how much time you can dedicate to the program. On average, program members can take anywhere from three to five years to complete their doctoral program.

Typically, full-time students are able to complete their degree in a shorter amount of time than part-time students. Also, the structure of a program can impact how long it takes for you to earn your degree.

While some programs offer more flexible learning structures, others are more regimented. Programs with a more regimented curriculum design the program so that all program members work at the same pace and complete courses based off a structured timeline. On the other hand, the flexible pathway allows members to work at their own pace. For those who have a limited amount of time to dedicate to their degree program, the flexible learning style can be a great way for them to manage their program in a way that fits with their schedule. On the reverse side of that, some program members may want to dedicate as much time as possible to the program in an effort to finish it more quickly.

Different learning styles work for different people, so consider which of these styles works best for you and look for programs that offer that style of learning.

What Requirements Should I Meet to Apply?

The exact application requirements will vary depending on the program you are applying for. However, there are some requirements that most schools ask their applicants to meet. The first of these is for candidates to hold a master’s degree. While it does not specifically need to be a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction, it should relate to the field of education.

Many programs will also want you to submit a resume that shows your work experience along with two to three professional references. The program may also request that you submit passing GRE scores. Check with the program you are interested in applying for to see what their score standards are.

A Closer Look: The Details of a Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction

You can find a snapshot of what to expect from a typical curriculum and instruction degree program below. Remember, each program has different standards and may differ from other programs you are researching. Make sure you know what you want and need out of a program before you start looking. Never hesitate to contact the school directly if you have any questions about the program they offer.

RequirementsHold a master’s degree from an accredited institute

Submit passing GRE scores

Submit resume that shows past work experience

Submit two to three professional references
DurationThree to five years
Credit Hours48 to 66*
Online OptionsOnline doctorate programs for curriculum and instruction are available through some schools
Degree TypeDoctorate of Philosophy or Education Doctorate
Degree SpecializationOffered by some programs
AccreditationAlways make sure your program is accredited

*The credit hours you will be expected to complete will vary depending on the program you join.

After Earning Your Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction

Knowing what to expect after you complete your degree program can be just as important as knowing what to expect before you start your program. You should know what comes next, from compensation to what type of employment opportunities you may have.

Job Opportunities

Whether or not you’re interested in earning your Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction because you have a specific career path in mind, it’s important to know what career options may be available to you. Below you can find a list of job titles that relate to curriculum and instruction, but keep in mind that the following list is meant to give you ideas of job options and does not include every job title that may be available. Take the time to explore these opportunities and see which pathway fits best with your educational background and experience level.

  • District-Level Administrator (Superintendent)
  • Curriculum Director
  • Curriculum Specialist
  • Director of Assessment
  • Director of Instruction
  • K-12 Principal
  • K-12 Teacher Leader
  • Instructional Coordinator


As you read above, there are many opportunities available for those who hold a Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction. You should expect your projected salary to change depending on the type of employment you seek to gain. For example, if you intend to work at the school administration level, the 2022 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has reported a median annual salary of $101,320 for education administrators at the Kindergarten through secondary levels, and $99,940 at the postsecondary level.

You should also consider that you can make more than the salaries mentioned above. Your experience level and your education level could have a positive impact on your salary. The top-tier pay level for instructional coordinators is more than $105,210, and K-12 education administrators can make $158,770 or more.

Job Outlook

The kind of job growth you can expect as an employee who holds a Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction will vary depending on the job you hold. The BLS reports that through 2032, the field of instructional coordinators will have a growth rate of 2.5% which is slightly higher than average, while K-12 principals will experience a growth rate of 1.1%, which is on par for all careers.

You may also want to consider what kind of job advancement there is in your field. Again, that will vary depending on the type of job you hold. For principals, or other school-level administrators, you can work towards becoming a superintendent, or a district-level administrator.

Where You Can Work

When you earn an advanced degree focused on education, such as a Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction, it might narrow your idea of what kind of environments you can work in. Keep an open mind when considering places to apply, as they may not always be directly related to the public school system:

  • Adult education programs
  • Alternative schools
  • Charter schools
  • Community or technical colleges
  • Continuing education programs
  • For-profit curriculum development companies
  • Military education organizations
  • Nonprofit organizations
  • K-12 public or private schools
  • Research and policy organizations
  • School district offices
  • State education departments

Ready to Get Started?