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Curriculum and Instruction

Ed.D. Program Structure

The Ed.D. in Curriculum & Instruction at KU includes at least 27 credit hours in curriculum and instruction courses, additional credit hours in basic and applied research skills, a doctoral practicum/field experience, comprehensive examinations, and a dissertation involving original research in the student's specialization.


Doctoral students at KU have numerous options to complete their coursework. The course plan is customizable. Total length of the program is a minimum of 52 credit hours. Review the program curriculum here.

Field Experience

Students will engage in a practicum that aligns with their career goals. This might include conducting professional development at a school or district, or it might involve developing and/or analyzing curricula and educational materials.

Residency Requirement

The Ed.D. student must spend the equivalent of three academic years, including the time spent in attaining the master’s degree, in a period of continuous study at this or another approved university.  

Comprehensive Exams

Comprehensive written and oral exams will be taken following the second year of coursework. The comprehensive examination covers the major area pursued by the student. The student passes the comprehensive examination if a majority of the official examining committee (including the chair) approves the student’s performance. The grade on this examination is Honors, Satisfactory, or Unsatisfactory. After passing the comprehensive examination, the candidate must be continuously enrolled, including summer sessions, until the degree is completed.


After completion of course work and the comprehensive examination, the candidate must present a dissertation which involves research exhibiting the application of existing knowledge in the major field of professional study. The candidate must present a dissertation showing the planning, conduct, and results of research. The purpose of the dissertation is to encourage and ensure the development of broad intellectual capabilities as well as to demonstrate an intensive focus on a problem or research area. Ed.D. candidates may satisfy the dissertation requirement by completing a comprehensive, critical assessment of the relevant literature on a major educational issue or problem. Both the dissertation research and the dissertation itself are to be completed under the guidance and direction of the committee appointed. Instructions about the proper form of the dissertation may be obtained from the KU Office of Graduate Studies.

Ed.D. vs. Ph.D.

The Department of Curriculum & Teaching distinguishes between the Ed.D. and Ph.D. programs by the outcome goals of the program. The Ed.D. has a focus on developing knowledge around curriculum and assessment of programs. The outcome is to create an individual who may take a leadership position in a school district, college, or other educational organization and build curricula for progams offered by that institution, as well as build the research skills necessary to evaluate the designed curriculum.

The purpose of the Ph.D. is to develop an individaul who would become a faculty member at a research-intensive university. The focus is on developing expertise in an area and building research skills to support a line of research over the length of a career in academia.

Either degree (the Ph.D. or the Ed.D.) will allow an individual to teach at a college or university. Both degrees are considered terminal degrees, meaning the highest degree one can achieve in the field of education.

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Campus Locations
This program is available at the KU Edwards Campus in Overland Park! Learn more»
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