Doctoral Program

The Curriculum & Instruction (C&I) program offers a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree to qualified students interested in issues related to educational research with a C&I focus. Upon completion of the program, students will have gained insight into what it means to transition from doctoral student to disciplined scholar.

Eight concentrations are available within the C&I Ph.D. program:

TLC Prospectus Page   Graduate Student Handbook

For the Advisory Phase Form and other forms related to this program, please visit the EHHS Graduate Student Services Forms page.

Limited graduate assistantships are offered on a competitive basis. More about Graduate Assistantships

Application Process

All the application requirements below are submitted to and coordinated through Graduate Admissions. If you have questions about any of the requirements, please contact or 330-672-2444. For more information on international admissions, visit the international admission website.

Entrance Requirements

  1. Completion of the online application for doctoral studies
  2. Master's degree from an accredited college or university
  3. Minimum 2.750 graduate GPA on a 4.000 point scale (minimum 3.500 graduate GPA is recommended)
  4. Submission of undergraduate and graduate transcripts
  5. Submission of two letters of recommendation
  6. Submission of a 500-word Statement of Purpose: Briefly state (not to exceed 500 words) your reasons for pursuing a doctorate in curriculum and instruction from Kent State University. Your statement should include: your personal motivations, research interest, professional goals, and any other pertinent information that demonstrates your ability to successfully complete the C&I Ph.D. Program.
  7. Résumé or vita
  8. English language proficiency - All international students must provide proof of English language proficiency (unless they meet specific exceptions) by earning one of the following:
    Minimum 550 TOEFL PBT score (paper-based version)
    Minimum 79 TOEFL IBT score (Internet-based version)
    Minimum 6.5 IELTS score
    Minimum 58 PTE score
    Minimum 110 Duolingo English Test score

Once an applicant's file is complete, the Admissions office forwards it to the C&I Program for review by C&I faculty members.

Interviews with two or three C&I faculty members are also completed. These interviews may be conducted in-person, online, or by phone.

Admission decisions are made throughout the year on a rolling basis. Please be advised that while applications to the C&I Ph.D. and Ed.S. are accepted all year, to ensure an application is reviewed for admission an applicant should have submitted all required admissions paperwork and completed all interviews before the dates below:

  • Fall semester – July 15
  • Spring semester – November 15
  • Summer term – April 15  (Note: We do not accept international students during the summer term.)

Graduate Assistantships

Students in the master's and doctoral graduate programs may apply for graduate assistantships (although master’s assistantships are rarely awarded). A graduate assistant typically supports instruction, research, or administrative duties beneficial both to the appointee's professional development and to the School of TLC. To apply, please submit the EHHS Application for Graduate Assistantship (PDF).

Important additional information:

  • You must be fully admitted to the graduate program and have applied for an assistantship by March 31st to qualify for full consideration for a graduate assistantship within the Curriculum & Instruction Program. It is to your advantage to apply early; once funds have been expended, no further assistantships will be awarded. Assistantships are typically awarded for the academic year (starting in August and ending in May).
  • Offers of assistantships are based on both the qualifications of the applicants, and the positions and funds available within the School during a given year. We receive applications from many more qualified applicants than we are able to support with our limited resources. Because of this, you might not receive an assistantship even if you have been fully admitted to the graduate program and submit your assistantship application correctly and on time.

Two Phases of the Doctoral Program

Advisory Phase

Once admitted into a C&I Doctoral program, students will be assigned an initial advisor or advisors from the C&I faculty in order to initiate the advisory phase.

Within the first three semesters of their course work, a student must organize an academic advisory committee. The advisory committee may or may not include the initial advisor(s). A student will then work with her or his advisory committee to complete a doctoral study prospectus (i.e., the plan of academic work during the advisory phase).

  1. The advisory phase requires 60 course credit hours beyond the master's degree.
  2. A total of ten years is available for students entering existing graduate coursework to complete the doctoral requirements. A student has five years from the time of admission to complete the advisory phase coursework and comprehensive examinations. A student has five years from the time of entering Candidacy (dissertation phase) to complete all doctoral requirements.
  3. A minor area of study is optional but not required.
  4. C&I Ph.D. students are required to take the following C&I courses:
    C&I 80089, Residency Seminar I, 3 credits (taken during the first year of coursework)
    C&I 77001, Fundamentals of Curriculum, 3 credits (prerequisite for C&I 87001)
    C&I 87000, Theory and Research in Teaching, 3 credits
    C&I 87001, Theory and Research in Curriculum, 3 credits
    C&I 87002, Forms of Inquiry in Curriculum and Instruction, 3 credits
    C&I 80090, Residency Seminar II, 3 credits (taken during the latter half of coursework)
  5. Additional required coursework is noted on the Ph.D. prospectus.
  6. Students must develop and implement a residency plan. The plan should include professional activities normally associated with life in an educational research institution and academic community setting (e.g., attendance and presentations at professional conferences, professional writing and publications, teaching undergraduate courses, workshops, attendance at doctoral defenses). Students may complete these activities collaboratively with faculty members or fellow doctoral students.
  7. Upon completion of the coursework and other requirements listed on the student's prospectus and residency plan, the student engages in written and oral comprehensive examinations that cover academic work accomplished during the advisory phase.
  8. Upon successful completion of the comprehensive examinations, the student enters into Candidacy, better known as the dissertation phase of the doctoral program.
  9. At this point, the student's advisory phase committee is dissolved. The student is then responsible for organizing a dissertation committee.

Candidacy Phase

  1. The Ph.D. candidate organizes her or his dissertation committee. This committee contains a minimum of two C&I faculty members and one faculty member from a Kent State University Ph.D. program other than Curriculum and Instruction.
  2. The student works with the established committee to successfully write and defend a dissertation proposal.
  3. The student then proceeds through the dissertation process. The committee supervises the research progress and evaluates the final product.
  4. Once the student has successfully defended the dissertation, he or she receives the Ph.D.