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Curriculum and Instruction Specialization Doctor of Philosophy in Education

School of Education

Lead Change in Curriculum & Instruction

Become the leader your school or district needs. Capella’s online PhD in Education, Curriculum, and Instruction degree helps you develop the research-based knowledge, skills, and attitudes you need for effective classroom, building, and district-level leadership. Learn to guide curriculum and improvement initiatives using current theory and research in curriculum design, instructional models, and assessment strategies focused on increasing student achievement. A fusion of research, theory, and practical experiences, this PhD can help you make a greater impact in education.

At a Glance

  • Online & In Person
  • 6 Core Courses
  • 7 Specialization Courses
  • 2 Elective Courses
  • 3 Residencies
  • Comprehensive Exam
  • Dissertation
  • Internship

Classes Start October 8th

Ready to get started? We’re ready for you. Chat with an enrollment counselor or apply now to take the first step on the journey toward your future.

Admission Requirements » | $50 Application Fee

What You’ll Learn

Create Effective Curricula

Develop curricula that reflect professional research, current trends, and community and societal needs.

Assess Learning Design

Design, instruct, and assess student learning.

Work Together

Collaborate with key educational players for the improvement of curriculum and instruction.

Conduct Viable Research

Conduct and evaluate research to enrich curriculum practice and theory.

Keep Ahead of Trends

Lead in the fields of curriculum and instruction.

Manage Your Time

Build necessary skills in communication and completion of required paperwork, activities, clinical hours, and alignments.

Program Features

Our program offers additional benefits you might be interested in.

Become a Scholar-Practitioner

Capella's doctoral experience is designed to build advanced skills in critical thinking, problem-solving, and research.

PhD in Curriculum and Instruction Education - Capella University

NCATE Accredited

This program is part of Capella University’s Education Preparation Provider (EPP) Unit, which is accredited based on the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) standards for a period of eight years, from 10/22/2010 to 12/31/2018.

Cost & Learning Format

Online education isn’t one size fits all. We know you’re busy—you need a learning experience tailored to your life, not the other way around. Capella has learning and tuition formats to suit you, however you learn. 

Our original learning format offers extra structure for those who want it.  We'll set the schedule, you meet the deadlines. 

  • Based on the quarter system; 1-3 courses per 10-week quarter
  • 1 semester credit = 1.5 quarter credits
  • Weekly assignments and courseroom discussions
  • Pay for what you take, price varies by courseload or term
$730 per credit, 92 total quarter credits, 16 max transfer credits

Get the Details

Speak with an enrollment counselor to get a personalized cost estimate for what you can expect to pay.

Ways to Save

At Capella, we believe your education is an investment in your future. It’s also an investment within your grasp. Your goals are achievable—there are more ways to save than you might think. 

Transfer Credits

We can accept many transfer credits from regionally accredited schools. 


Grants are federal education funds that never need to be paid back. 

Federal Work Study

This program provides part-time jobs to reduce your loan debt amounts. Talk to an enrollment counselor to learn more.

Accredited & Respected

Capella University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Accreditation and recognitions provide the assurance we meet standards for quality of faculty, curriculum, learner services, and fiscal stability. See all of our accreditations and recognitions

Sample Courses

The online PhD in Education, Curriculum, and Instruction coursework focuses on research and critical thinking. You’ll dive deep into advanced theory, the practice and application of curriculum design, instructional models, and assessment strategies. 

Dissertation Research Seminar

Allows you to work extensively on your dissertation topic, methodology, literature review, and research plan from the beginning of your program. 

Support to Reach the Finish Line

Our doctoral curriculum is designed to give you dedicated support early in your program—so you can be confident in the steps to completing your degree.

Dissertation Mentors

During your dissertation, you’ll be matched with an experienced mentor who will help you stay on track to completing your degree.

Some of the courses you will take:

Course Number Course Title
ED8533 Advanced Curriculum Mapping: Reflection and Practice
ED8538 Advanced Curriculum and Instruction: Program Evaluation
ED8536 Advanced Application of Research for the Improvement of Curriculum and Instruction
ED7537 Emerging Technology and Multimedia for Curriculum and Instruction

Faculty & Support

You’re never going it alone at Capella. Our dedicated faculty and support teams are waiting to guide, help, and advise you through every step of your educational journey.

Enrollment Counselors

These folks are superstars. We hear it from our students (and grads). They’re here to help find a program fit and set you up for success.  


Our distinguished faculty members hold top credentials in their fields. They’re here to teach the knowledge and skills you’ll need, now.

Writing Support

These skilled communicators offer free tutoring services and multiple resources to sharpen your writing skills.

Doctoral Advising

A doctoral degree takes special effort. It's why we offer expert support at every step to keep you moving forward toward your goal.

Move Forward in Your Career

Here are just some of the career options you could explore with our online PhD in Education, Curriculum and Instruction degree.

Related Job Titles to Explore*

  • Adjunct, part-time, or full-time faculty
  • Administrator district
  • Curriculum director
  • Curriculum specialist
  • Director of assessment
  • Director of instruction
  • K-12 teacher
  • K-12 leadership

Related Employment Settings to Explore

  • Adult education program
  • Alternative school
  • Charter school
  • Community or technical college
  • Continuing education program
  • For-profit curriculum development company
  • Military education
  • Nonprofit organization
  • K-12 public or private school
  • Research and policy organization
  • School district office
  • State education department

*These are examples intended to serve as a general guide. Some positions may prefer or even require previous experience, licensure, certifications, and/or other designations along with a degree. Because many factors determine what position an individual may attain, Capella cannot guarantee that a graduate will secure any specific job title, a promotion, salary increase, or other career outcome. We encourage you to research requirements for your job target and career goals.

Other Programs to Explore

Is this program close to what you need, but maybe not a perfect fit? The programs below might be interesting. Check them out to find one that suits your academic and professional goals. 

Ready for the Next Step?

Learning online doesn't mean going it alone. Help is here. From faculty, coaches, advisors, and more. Plus a supportive community of students who are as passionate about their careers as you are about yours.