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Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction

Curriculum and Instruction


The Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction is a 45-credit post-Master’s degree program comprised of four strands: Teaching, Learning, and Knowing; Early Childhood; Global Education; and STEM Education. Candidates will select one of the four strands and contemplate, investigate, and refine understandings of educational theory, policy, and practice.

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The applicant must:

(a) hold teacher certification (or equivalent) and have at least three years teaching experience or the equivalent.
(b) already hold a Master’s degree before admission.
(c) provide official transcripts from all conferred degrees.
(d) complete the GRE or Miller’s Analogy Test (MAT).
(e) submit a current curriculum vitae (CV).
(f) submit three (3) letters of recommendation. These letters should indicate the applicant's value to the program. At least one letter should address the applicant's academic achievements and strengths.
(g) complete an application, two essays, and an interview.

Please contact The Office of Graduate Admission at The School of Education for questions related to the application process including required essay prompts for this application.

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 718-990-2304


The coursework includes 39 credits prior to the dissertation: Eleven (11) Curriculum and Instruction courses (33 credits) and two (2) electives courses (6 credits); EDU 8013 and EDU 8014 are offered in lieu of elective courses taken outside of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction with permission. In what follows is a list of the Curriculum and Instruction courses, as well as description and distribution of the coursework.

  • EDU 8000 Community Immersion Research Seminar I, 3 credits 
  • EDU 8001 Community Immersion Research Seminar II, 3 credits (Prerequisite: EDU 8000 Community Immersion Research Seminar I) 
  • EDU 8002 Community Immersion Research Seminar III, 3 credits (Prerequisite: EDU 8001 Community Immersion Research Seminar II) 
  • EDU 8003 Visions of Research I, 3 credits 
  • EDU 8004 Visions of Research II, 3 credits  
  • EDU 8005 Visions of Research III, 3 credits (Prerequisite: EDU 8003 Visions of Research I and EDU 8004 Visions of Research II) 
  • EDU 8006 Philosophies of Education, 3 credits 
  • EDU 8007 Families and Communities as Partners in Education, 3 credits 
  • EDU 8008 Global Perspectives within Education and Educational Research, 3 credits 
  • EDU 8009 Critical and Historical Perspectives within Education and Educational Research, 3 credits 
  • EDU 8010 Dissertation Proposal Seminar, 3 credits (Prerequisite: Requires Chair’s Permission) 
  • EDU 8013 Advanced Methods in Research
  • EDU 8014 Advanced Topics
  • In addition, students are required to complete six (6) credits of Dissertation/Matriculation (EDU 8011/8012) (Prerequisite: Requires Chair’s Permission)

Career Outcomes

Graduates will be prepared for occupations at the university level, namely full-time or part-time positions as professors or administrators. Graduates also will have the opportunity to return to the P-12 (Preschool-High School) classroom. With a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction, graduates will be eligible for positions related to social and community service, as well as professional development, instructional coordination, institutional educational services, and teacher education. Such roles may include:

  • University Professor
  • Classroom Teacher
  • District-Level Specialist
  • Educational Researcher
  • Specialized Consultant
  • Curriculum Specialist
  • Informal Educators and Education Specialists
  • Many Other Community Education and Outreach Positions

Additional Information

Field Work: A minimum of 30 hours per semester for the first three years. Thereafter, the number of hours may change according to each candidate’s individualized study.

Ongoing Support: The program is structured so that students receive ongoing support from their professors and peers through classes, community activities, and scholarly endeavors.


What sets this program apart from others?
This program is distinguished by a number of attributes, including, but not limited to:

  • Informal and formal mentoring and support
  • Community immersion
  • Individualized attention
  • Time and commitment to scholarship and community

Can I pursue this program while I keep my day job? Can I take time off if things get tough?

The Ph.D. program in Curriculum and Instruction is designed to serve those who work either full-time or part-time. In short, yes, you can keep your day job. 

Per the Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction Handbook, a matriculated student is one who has been accepted to and is actively engaged in a degree program at St. John’s University.  Once accepted, a student must be enrolled continuously in the doctoral program. Students seeking a leave of absence must meet with his/her advisor, who then seeks approval from the program director; at all times students must remain enrolled by maintaining matriculation.

Please note that all requirements must be completed within eight (8) years from the date of matriculation.  All degree requirements also must be completed no later than three years after the successful completion of the Qualifying Examination. If the continuous enrollment requirement has not been satisfied for two or more semesters, students must apply for readmission. Then, if the Graduate Policy Committee judgment is favorable, students then must meet the program requirements in effect at that time and pay the appropriate retroactive fees for maintaining matriculation.

Can I take this program if I need to commute a long distance? Are there online courses?
While a few classes may be offered in alternative formats, candidates need to be available for evening classes that meet face-to-face. Unlike traditional in-person courses, the community immersion aspect of this program enables our candidates to invest time and energy in a project—and location—of their choosing. As a result, a portion of the fieldwork for this Ph.D. program can be completed in a location that is central to the candidate.

Can I transfer credits from another school or schools into the program? If so, how many?
Candidates may transfer up to six (6) credits related to the electives in their field. Transfer credits must be from (a) post-Master’s courses, (b) a recognized/accredited program, and (c) graduate courses where the candidate has received a ‘B’ or better.

Prior to acceptance of admission and transfer credits, the candidate will be interviewed by Ph.D. Program faculty members. At that point, transfer credits will be examined and contingent upon approval (e.g., simply having the aforementioned qualifications does not guarantee immediate transfer, and all requests are subject to approval.)

Is there any possibility of getting financial aid for doctoral study?
For financial aid information, please visit Financial Aid.

How often will I meet with my mentor?
Although doctoral students are expected to have regular meetings with their mentors, the frequency of these meetings will take place on a case-by-case basis depending on each doctoral student’s particular needs. Such mentorship is not limited to the dissertation stage.  What sets this program apart from others is the additional, informal and formal peer- and faculty- support that students receive throughout the program.

How much freedom will I have in my program to pursue my professional interests?
The Ph.D. program in Curriculum and Instruction is designed to embed community service into an academically rigorous degree program.  Therefore, it is possible for one to pursue professional interests that are grounded in service to a particular community.  We support—and encourage—our enrolled doctoral students to pursue their unique professional interests  that align with the mission of this degree program.     

What is the minimum GPA for completing the program?
A minimum grade of a B (GPA = 3.0) is required in every course to maintain academic status.

Is there a comprehensive examination?
In the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, doctoral students complete and defend a comprehensive, qualifying paper.

How long does it take to complete the program and graduate with the degree?
The length of each candidate’s journey will be coordinated with his/her advisor based on (a) university requirements, (b) course offerings, (c) research agenda, and (d) personal circumstances. Though it is possible for candidates to complete the program within four years, some candidates may need additional time to do so. All requirements must be completed within eight years from the date of matriculation.  All degree requirements also must be completed no later than three years after the successful completion of the Qualifying Examination.

For more information, please see the Handbook for the Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction.