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College of Education

Ph.D. in Education - Curriculum and Instruction

I. Introduction

The Ph.D. in the College of Education is a research-oriented degree. All doctoral students in the College are expected to learn how to analyze and synthesize the research literature in a chosen field; how to plan and initiate original research; and how to translate research findings into implications for educational practice. We have designed our program for persons who are intellectually curious and who devote a high level of energy to their work. We seek applicants who bring spirit of inquiry toward addressing today's educational challenges.

The Ph.D. Program in Education: Curriculum and Instruction involves concentrated study in one of two areas:

  • Curriculum Design (which includes curriculum development, history, theory, and philosophical and practical issues in teaching and teacher education)
  • Literacy, Language and Culture (which encompasses topics such as literacy, analysis and design of texts, and theories and practices in reading instruction).


This application materials & procedures web page outlines everything required by the Ph.D. programs in the College of Education for consideration for admission.


A minimum of 96 semester hours of graduate work beyond the baccalaureate or 64 semester hours beyond the masters degree is required for a doctoral degree. The plan of study for each student is prepared in consultation with, and must be approved by, the faculty advisor assigned in the student's area of specialization. All students are required to complete the core curriculum, appropriate work in the areas of specialization, a research project, and a doctoral dissertation. Each of these requirements is spelled out below.

A. Core Curriculum (16 semester hours)

The core curriculum introduces students to issues in the conduct of educational research and begins the process of building methodological skills. The courses are:

1. ED 500 --Philosophical Foundations of Educational Inquiry
2. ED 501 --Data & Interpretation in Educational Inquiry
3. ED 502 --Essentials of Qualitative Inquiry in Education
4. ED 503/EPSY 503 --Essentials of Quantitative Inquiry in Education (Students may register under the ED or EPSY rubric.)

B. Area of Concentration (24 semester hours if student has masters, 56 without)

In fulfillment of this requirement, students immerse themselves in one of the following areas of study:

1. Curriculum Design
2. Literacy, Language and Culture

Courses in one of these particular areas will constitute roughly one-third of the total hours of study required of students.

There are a wide variety of graduate courses offered in the College of Education that encompass each of the areas of study. While students may take courses exclusively in the College of Education, we encourage you to take courses in other departments of the university, such as Anthropology, English, History, Philosophy, Psychology, Public Policy, Sociology, and Women's' Studies.

Such courses can help you develop conceptual and methodological tools for use in the study of an educational issue. These outside courses can count toward the degree, although they cannot constitute more than a third of a student's total course hours in the area of specialization. Students should also be apprised that they can take courses toward their degree at member universities of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC). This includes all Big Ten universities and the University of Chicago. Students pay UIC tuition rates for courses taken at theses institutions. Such courses must be arranged through consultation with a UIC faculty advisor and appropriate personnel at the cooperating institution.

C. Research Project (8 semester hours)

All students in the doctoral program work on a research project in collaboration with a faculty member or a team of faculty members and students. Projects will focus on actual research problems in the student's area of concentration. Each student will make a formal presentation, oral and/or written, of the project findings. Students are encouraged to use this work as a basis for a manuscript to be submitted for a scholarly conference presentation or a publication.

D. Preliminary Examination

The preliminary examination is taken upon completion of all required course work. It consists of two parts. The comprehensive written portion is based on the student's course work. The oral portion is based upon the student's written dissertation proposal and is presented to a faculty committee.

E. Dissertation (16 semester hours)

A dissertation based on original research is required and must be defended before a faculty committee. The research must employ a theoretical framework and make use of the methods of inquiry appropriate to the problem being investigated. In sum, a student's distribution of semester hour credits required for the doctoral degree will be as follows (these are minimum hours; many students take more hours than the minimum):

  With Masters Degree Without Masters Degree
Core Curriculum 16 16
Specialization Requirement 24 56
Research Project 8 8
Dissertation 16 16
TOTAL 64 96

If you have program or academic questions about an area of specialization, please call the appropriate area secretary, who can answer questions and direct you to members of the faculty.

For Curriculum and Design you can contact the department at (312) 996-4508.

For Literacy, Language and Culture please contact Dr. Jim Gavelek at (312) 996-5791.

If you have general questions regarding admissions procedures or the Ph.D. program please contact:

Dr. Joyce Eisen
College of Education - M/C 147
University of Illinois at Chicago
1040 West Harrison Street
Chicago, Illinois 60607-7133
Telephone: (312)-996-4532
Fax: (312)-996-9866


If you have any problems with this page or the links it contains please email Mike Herkes. This page last updated on 09/04/2003.

Copyright 2002 University of Illinois at Chicago