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 (PDF)

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 the Division of Graduate Studies. If you have questions about any of the requirements, please contact the Division of Graduate Studies,, or 330-672-2661.

Entrance Requirements

  1. Completion of the online application for doctoral studies.
  2. Submission of two letters of recommendation.
  3. Submission of undergraduate and graduate transcripts.
  4. Graduate Record Exam scores at or above the 50th percentile in verbal and quantitative.  For programs using the GRE analytical writing score, a 4.0 is the preferred score.  Other programs may require the successful completion of a specific writing sample.
  5. Submission of a 500-word essay which provides a personal rationale for pursuing a doctoral degree in Curriculum & Instruction from Kent State University.
  6. Demonstration of English proficiency by international applicants through one of four tests: Internet-based TOEFL, Computer-based TOEFL, Paper-based TOEFL, or IELTS. (Minimum Scores: Internet-based TOEFL 20 in each competency, Computer-based TOEFL 213, Paper-based TOEFL 550, IELTS 6.5)

Once an applicant's file is complete, the Division of Graduate Studies forwards it to the C&I Program for review by C&I faculty members.

An orientation by email, phone, or in person occurs with C&I Program Coordinator Dr. Todd Hawley ( or 330-672-0670).

Personal interviews with three C&I faculty members are also completed. If the personal interviews are not possible, a phone conversation with one or more C&I faculty members serves as a satisfactory alternative.

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 fall admission an applicant should have all required admissions paperwork completed and submitted before March 31st.

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.
  • 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 nine years is available for students entering existing graduate coursework to complete the doctoral requirements. A student has four 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.