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Curriculum and Instruction

Ph.D. Program Structure


The academic coursework is designed to develop the knowledge base necessary for effective research and scholarship development. Review the curriculum here.

Teaching Requirement

A student must satisfactorily complete C&T 996: College Teaching Experience for two hours of graduate credit. In this course, the student will assist a professor for one semester or may be assigned to teach an undergraduate course under the supervision of faculty.

Residency Requirement

To meet residency requirements, Ph.D. students must take 18 hours of graduate level education within two consecutive semesters in resident study at the University of Kansas. During this period the student is to be involved in full-time academic pursuits. This residency requirement must be fulfilled before comprehensive examinations can take place and is normally completed within the first two years of study. All requirements must be completed within 8 years.

Comprehensive Exams

When the student completes all coursework (excluding dissertation credit hours), he/she is elibigle to take comprehensive examinations. The comprehensive examinations consists of both written and oral parts and covers the major area pursued by the student. These examinations test the student's knowledge of the areas of the coursework; his/her ability to reason, evaluate and draw supportable conclusions within the context of the subject area; and knowledge of current issues and trends within the subject field as documented in the contemporary literature. A portion of the exam will be devoted to the student's elective minor and research methods. The student passes the comprehensive examination if a majority of the official examining committee (including the chair) approves the student’s performance. Once the comprehensive exminations have been passed, the student must be continuously enrolled.


The candidate must present a dissertation showing the planning, conduct, and results of original research and scholarly creativity. 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. 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 purpose of the Ph.D. is to develop an individual 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.

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.

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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