Curriculum & Instruction PhD in Education

Doctor of Philosophy in 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
  • 2 Internships

Reduce your tuition by 30%

Enroll in an eligible program and apply for our Front Line Heroes Discount to save 30% on your doctoral degree.

Apply now »

Classes Start November 9th

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.

$50 application fee (waived w/promo FALL20).

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.

Our unique doctoral structure

Our PhD in Education, Curriculum and Instruction program is designed to remove roadblocks for you and demystify the dissertation process. This unique approach centers on supporting you in three ways: through program structure, a dedicated faculty and support team, and online resources. To help generate momentum toward graduation, you’ll begin your dissertation early in the program. Our faculty, support team, and online resources will help guide you every step of the way.

PhD in Education, Curriculum and Instruction 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.

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. 

A more structured learning format with an active peer community and faculty guidance. 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
$745 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.


There are a variety of need-based federal grants available to help pay for tuition and costs.

$20K toward your doctorate

Apply for a $20K Capella Progress Reward, a scholarship to help you fund your doctoral degree.

Accredited & recognized

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

PhD in Education 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. The program includes dissertation research seminars which allow you to get an early start on your dissertation.

Show course with description
ED8533 *
Advanced Curriculum Mapping: Reflection and Practice

Learners in this course formulate a research-based professional vision for curriculum design and develop a curriculum for a specific content and grade-level application using advanced computer-based curriculum mapping applications. This course requires access to a P–12 classroom and/or educational stakeholders in a P–12 school or district. Prerequisite(s): ED7820. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

4 quarter credits
Advanced Curriculum and Instruction: Program Evaluation

Learners in this course develop the skills, knowledge, and attitudes necessary for effective program evaluation. The course focuses on trends, issues, and initiatives related to data-based decision making, which is one of the desired outcomes of program evaluation. Through the process of reflection and practical application, learners become familiar with the integral role program evaluation plays in the improvement of curriculum, instruction, and assessment. Prerequisite(s): ED7820. Learners who have taken ED5538 should not take ED8538. Rather, they should choose any other PhD level course in the School of Education to fulfill their specialization requirements. This course requires access to a P–12 classroom and/or educational stakeholders in a P–12 school or district. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

4 quarter credits
ED8536 *
Advanced Application of Research for the Improvement of Curriculum and Instruction

Learners in this course examine current research as a basis for data-driven decision making and develop advanced research designs that contribute to data-driven decision making at the school or district level. This course requires access to a P–12 classroom and/or educational stakeholders in a P–12 school or district. Prerequisite(s): ED7820. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer.

4 quarter credits
Emerging Technology and Multimedia for Curriculum and Instruction

Through an examination of research and literature, learners examine current trends and issues related to the impact of technology and multimedia on P–12 student teaching and learning. Based on a review of the literature, learners develop course projects that include the design of curriculum, instruction, and assessments enhanced through innovative technology and multimedia applications. The course provides real-world skills, tools, and clinical practice experiences designed to support school and district leaders and instructional support staff. This course requires access to a P–12 classroom and/or educational stakeholders in a P–12 school or district.

4 quarter credits

Curriculum and Instruction professional paths

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*

  • Director of assessment
  • Director of instruction
  • Instructional specialist
  • Instructional coach
  • Full-time faculty of education courses
  • Curriculum specialist
  • Administrator district curriculum director

Employment settings to explore

  • K–12 public or private school
  • K–12 virtual or charter school
  • School District
  • Government- local, state, federal
  • For profit curriculum development company
  • Land-based or online college or university

*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.

Curriculum and Instruction

Doctor of Education

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