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Doctor of Philosophy in Education - Curriculum and Instruction Concentration

Dr. Richard C. Overbaugh, Graduate Program Director

The Doctor of Philosophy in Education, Curriculum and Instruction Concentration at the Darden College of Education of Old Dominion University, with emphasis areas in Curriculum and Instruction, Early Childhood Education, and Literacy Leadership provides the opportunity for students to become scholarly leaders to serve our nation's schools, colleges, universities and related agencies such as business, government, and research institutions to contribute to global education. The curricula is solidly grounded in interpreting and producing research, use of technology to enhance the teaching/learning process, equity, and leadership, which are woven into common core courses and concentration-specific courses. 


Curriculum and Instruction

The Doctor of Philosophy in Education with a concentration and emphasis in Curriculum and Instruction is the degree most often desired by classroom teachers and school librarians. The program of study includes core courses shared by all three concentrations plus the freedom to choose courses that meet individual specialty area interests (e.g., library science, mathematics, social studies, instructional technology, etc.)  Students are prepared to be scholarly leaders for academic positions in higher education or in K12 schools. 

Literacy Leadership

The Doctor of Philosophy in Education with an emphasis in Literacy Leadership is a degree with a unique focus to prepare individuals as literacy professionals for leadership and supervisory roles, teaching literacy curriculum and instruction in higher education, and/or consulting for educational organizations or private industry. The program provides study of theories, methodologies, and research with opportunities to develop individual expertise in research, writing, and pedagogy. 


Early Childhood Education

The PhD in Education with an emphasis in Early Childhood Education program, through its integral partnership with the Old Dominion University Child Study and Development Centers, focuses on the multidisciplinary study of the cognitive, language, and healthy social/emotional development of young children from birth to age nine. The program prepares students to become faculty in colleges and universities and senior administrators in institutions and agencies.


Classes and Requirements

The PhD program is a 60-hour program that can be thought of as four fifteen-hour "blocks":

·         Foundations, which includes various qualitative and quantitative statistics courses, evaluation and assessment.

·         Common core, a series of five courses that all C&I students take.  The common core courses are intended to get students to know each other-- much like a cohort group--in order to build academic community.  In the first two courses, many PhD faculty guest speak so students can get to know them.

·         Emphasis area is the block in which each student pursues his or her own specialty area as described above.  The Early Childhood and Literacy Leadership emphases have specific courses whereas the Curriculum and Instruction emphasis is completely open so students can build their own program (working with an advisor). 

·         Dissertation is the final block, of course, and begins with a dissertation seminar to help students begin writing the first three chapters.  A comprehensive exam must also be passed as students transition from formal coursework into the dissertation phase.


Related experiences

PhD students are expected to work on projects outside of classwork such as conducting research, presenting at local, state, regional and even national conferences-especially those who plan to seek faculty positions in higher education.  Some of these opportunities are available by volunteering to join in on a grant project, or working with a faculty member on his/her research, or with fellow students.  To facilitate this, students should choose a faculty advisor who's research and teaching interests align within the first year of coursework.


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