Jun 13, 2024  
Graduate Catalog | 2023-2024 
    
Graduate Catalog | 2023-2024 Previous Edition

Curriculum and Instruction, Ph.D.


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The Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction is designed to prepare teacher education faculty and other educational professionals for work in various agency and educational settings. The program is interdisciplinary and involves faculty from across the University campus, and primarily the Departments of English; Mathematics and Statistics; Middle, Secondary, and K-12 Education; Reading and Elementary Education; and Educational Leadership.  The program focuses on urban issues and perspectives related to curriculum and instruction with concentrations in:

  • Curriculum and Educator Development (CED) (includes Elementary Education)
  • Learning, Design, and Technology (LDT)
  • Literacy Education (oriented toward Reading Education, English Education, or Teaching English as a Second Language)
  • Mathematics Education
  • Urban Education

Studies include a substantive core in urban education and educational research.  Students may focus their study on education for learners at elementary, middle grades, secondary, K-12, or post-secondary/adult levels.

Each concentration in the Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction offers UNC Charlotte graduate students and alumni the opportunity to apply for Advanced Standing.  For more information, see Advanced Standing below.

Curriculum Objectives

  • Lead inquiry into the nature of curriculum theory and the relationship that theory has upon the major sources, components, and processes required in curriculum development, particularly within expanding urban-regional environments.
  • Demonstrate relationships among curriculum theory and design, models of and research about teaching and learning, variations among learners, and the ideological, social, and disciplinary contexts of teaching and learning, including the influence on urban-regional schools, state and national policies, curriculum philosophy, and political pressures.
  • Guide curriculum development and evaluation in its pragmatic context by applying curriculum theory, policy, and practice for diverse learners within a variety of educational settings.

Research and Evaluation Objectives

  • Use appropriate quantitative and qualitative research methods to solve problems in urban education and related disciplines, detect new patterns, and assess the effectiveness of instructional programs and teaching methodologies for all learners.
  • Communicate research and evaluation findings in a variety of written and electronic formats, such as evaluation reports, professional articles, grant proposals, conference presentations, and technical reports, with the consistent underlying purpose of supporting educational effectiveness and reform in urban-regional environments.

Specialty Objectives

  • Apply theory and research in one’s area of specialization to detecting new patterns, identifying problems, and solving urban-regional problems of curriculum, teaching, learning, and assessment through collaborative problem identification, research projects, policy formation, and professional development.
  • Exhibit sustained intellectual curiosity, broad understandings, specialized knowledge, and professional commitments pertaining to one’s selected area of specialization within the context of urban-regional schools.

Admission Requirements


Applicants should submit a current vitae and a professional writing sample. A review committee will conduct an initial review of application materials and recommend selected applicants for on-campus interviews. The selection committee will then make final recommendations to the Graduate School relative to acceptance into the program based on the merits of the application materials and the interview process.

Prerequisite Requirements


The intended audience for the Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction includes education professionals who hold the master’s degree. It is anticipated that most applicants will be experienced teachers or school leaders with the North Carolina “G” or “M” license or equivalent licenses from other states. However, the program will welcome and accommodate non-licensed candidates with appropriate professional experiences who have been involved in teaching or educational program development and evaluation.

Degree Requirements


The Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction requires a minimum of 60 credit hours of coursework, including the dissertation.  Students must maintain a cumulative average of 3.0 in all coursework taken.  An accumulation of more than two C grades will result in termination of enrollment in the graduate program.  If students make a grade of U in any course, enrollment in the program will be terminated. 

The program will consider the transfer of a limited number of courses from a college or university accredited by an accepted accrediting body (typically no more than six credit hours), providing the Curriculum and Instruction Committee determines that the course or courses to be transferred are appropriate for the program of study and are graduate-level courses beyond the master’s degree.  Grades for these transfer courses must be an A or B.  All dissertation work must be completed at UNC Charlotte. 

Students must successfully complete requirements for the comprehensive examination and dissertation.  All students must complete a residency requirement of at least 18 credit hours over three successive terms of enrollment.  Students must complete their degree, including dissertation, within nine years.  The Ph.D. website contains additional information, including updated planning sheets for each concentration.

Foundation Course (3 credit hours)


The program requires all students in each concentration, including Advanced Standing, complete in the first year a pro-seminar in curriculum, instruction, and urban education leadership.

Urban Core Courses (12-15 credit hours)


Each concentration requires core coursework in Urban Foundations.  The Urban Education concentration requires 15 credit hours.  Mathematics Education; Literacy Education; Curriculum and Educator Development (CED); and Learning, Design, and Technology (LDT) concentrations require 12 credit hours.

Research Methodology Courses (15 credit hours)


Each concentration must also complete at least 15 credit hours of research coursework, which also count toward dissertation preparation hours.  Please note that five courses are required but not necessarily sufficient.  Additional courses not listed require Graduate Program Director approval.

Concentration Courses (18-21 credit hours)


There are five concentrations available within the Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction program:

  1. Curriculum and Educator Development (CED)
  2. Learning, Design, and Technology (LDT)
  3. Literacy Education (oriented toward Reading Education, English Education, or Teaching English as a Second Language)
  4. Mathematics Education
  5. Urban Education

Each of the available concentrations offers a variety of required and concentration-specific course offerings at the doctoral level.  Each concentration must also complete specialization coursework specific to the concentration.

Curriculum and Educator Development (CED) Concentration (21 credit hours)


Elective Courses (6 credit hours)

Select from the following, in consultation with the Program Advisor.  Students may enroll in graduate-level credit outside of this list with approval of the Program Advisor.

Learning, Design and Technology (LDT) Concentration (21 credit hours)


Literacy Education Concentration (21 credit hours)


Select from the following.  Concentration Coordinator consultation is required to enroll in the below courses.  Students may enroll in graduate-level credit outside of the below list with approval of the Program Advisor.

Mathematics Education Concentration (21 credit hours)


Dissertation Courses (9 credit hours)


All concentrations must complete 9 credit hours of dissertation coursework.

Degree Total = 60 Credit Hours


Advanced Standing Option


The Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction offers Charlotte graduate students and alumni of UNC Charlotte the opportunity to apply for Advanced Standing.  Advanced Standing recognizes relevant coursework from approved Charlotte master’s degrees. Doctoral students accepted with Advanced Standing into the Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction complete a minimum of 48 credit hours of coursework, including the dissertation.  No transfer credits are allowed for Advanced Standing students. Advanced Standing students must select a concentration in the application process.

Advanced Standing Admission Requirements


To be admitted to Advanced Standing for the Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction program, students must meet the admission requirements of the Ph.D. and must have earned a master’s degree from UNC Charlotte in a field related to one of the degree concentrations: (1) Curriculum and Educator Development (CED) (including Elementary Education), (2) Learning, Design, and Technology (LDT), (3) Literacy Education (oriented toward Reading Education, English Education, or Teaching English as a Second Language), (4) Mathematics Education, or (5) Urban Education. Only students who have earned a master’s degree within the last ten years in one of the approved UNC Charlotte graduate programs will be considered.  All other students should apply to the Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction program (without the Advanced Standing option).

Approved UNC Charlotte master’s degree programs for Advanced Standing in the Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction include:

  • M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction
  • M.Ed. in Elementary Education
  • M.Ed. in Learning, Design, and Technology
  • M.Ed. in Instructional Systems Technology
  • M.Ed. in Middle and Secondary Grades
  • M.Ed. in Reading Education
  • M.Ed. in Teaching English as a Second Language
  • M.Ed. in Urban Education
  • M.A. in English
  • M.A. in Mathematics
  • M.S. in Mathematics

Advanced standing students must have a minimum grade of B in master’s degree coursework pertinent to the Ph.D. in Curriculum of Instruction. Additionally, students with a cumulative GPA less than 3.5 in their master’s degree or 2 or more grades of C are not eligible for Advanced Standing.  In this case, students have the option of requesting transfer of credit hours for individual courses with grades of B or above after acceptance into the 60 credit hour Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction degree program. 

Students who have successfully completed an approved master’s degree at Charlotte and meet GPA and grade requirements are eligible to apply for Advanced Standing in the Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction.

Advanced Standing Degree Requirements


The Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction requires a minimum of 60 credit hours of coursework, including the dissertation.  The degree requirements for the Advanced Standing are similar to the Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction except students complete a minimum of 48 credit hours.  No transfer credits are allowed for Advanced Standing students. All Advanced Standing students select a concentration which determines the Advanced Standing program requirements and specialization. All Advanced Standing students must complete the foundations course (EDCI 8620 ) in the first year of their program. 

Advanced Standing students must maintain a cumulative average of 3.0 in all coursework taken.  An accumulation of more than two C grades will result in termination of enrollment in the graduate program.  If students make a grade of U in any course, enrollment in the program will be terminated.  For Advanced Standing, courses taken at the master’s 5000- or 6000-level cannot be repeated at the doctoral 8000-level. In this case, Advanced Standing students should work with concentration advisors to determine appropriate program electives or course substitutions if necessary.  All course substitutions require submission of an academic petition and Graduate Program Director approval.

Advanced Standing students must successfully complete requirements for the Qualifying Comprehensive Examination and dissertation.  All Advanced Standing students must complete a residency requirement of at least 18 credit hours over three successive terms of enrollment.  Advanced Standing students must complete their degree, including dissertation, within nine years.  The Ph.D. website contains additional information, including updated planning sheets for each Advanced Standing concentration.

Advanced Standing Foundation Course (3 credit hours)


Advanced Standing students in each concentration complete in the first year a pro-seminar in curriculum, instruction, and urban education leadership.

Advanced Standing Urban Core Courses (9-15 credit hours)


Like all Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction students, Advanced Standing students complete core coursework in Urban Foundations. For Advanced Standing students, the Urban Education concentration requires 15 credit hours. All other concentrations [Curriculum and Educator Development (CED); Learning, Design, and Technology (LDT); Literacy Education; and Mathematics Education] require Advanced Standing students complete 9 credit hours in urban core coursework.  

Students who enter the Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction as Advanced Standing must take the Qualifying Comprehensive Examination before the end of their fourth semester in the doctoral program.  The Curriculum and Instruction Qualifying Comprehensive Examination includes three parts: Urban Core, Research, and Specialization. The first part of the examination, the Urban Core, covers substantive course content and additional readings, research, and research methodologies from the required urban core courses.  While not required for all concentrations in Advanced Standing degree, the program recommends students complete EDCI 8186  or an equivalent course at the Master’s level to be prepared for the urban core comprehensive examination.  Like all Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction students, Advanced Standing students are expected to complete additional readings in urban education to prepare for the Qualifying Comprehensive Examination.

Advanced Standing Research Methodology and Dissertation Courses (18-21 credit hours)


Advanced Standing students must complete at least 9-12 credit hours of research methodology coursework and a minimum of 9 credit hours of dissertation preparation.  For Advanced Standing in the Mathematics Concentration, students are required to complete 9 credit hours of research methodology coursework.  All other concentrations [Curriculum and Educator Development (CED); Learning, Design, and Technology (LDT); Literacy Education; and Urban Education] require 12 credit hours in research methodology coursework. 

Similar to all students in the Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction program, Advanced Standing students have two required research methodology courses. With approval of the Concentration Coordinator and Program Advisor, Advanced Standing students select one or two courses from the research methodology elective courses listed for the Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction. Research courses should be specific to either quantitative or qualitative research methods, depending on dissertation plans.  Please note that three to four research methodology courses are required but may not be sufficient.  The Program Advisor may recommend additional research courses in preparation for the dissertation.  Research courses not listed within program electives require submission of an academic petition and Graduate Program Director approval.

All Advanced Standing students must complete 9 credit hours of dissertation coursework including a 3-credit hour dissertation proposal seminar and a minimum of 6 credit hours of dissertation research. The dissertation proposal seminar should be taken after successful completion of all parts of the Qualifying Comprehensive Examination (Urban Core, Research, and Specialization), appointment of the dissertation committee, and pre-proposal meeting with dissertation committee members.

Advanced Standing Concentration Courses (9-18 credit hours)


Advanced Standing students must complete specialization coursework specific to their concentration. There are five concentrations available within the Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction program for Advanced Standing students:

  • Curriculum and Educator Development (CED) (includes Elementary Education)
  • Learning, Design, and Technology (LDT)
  • Literacy Education (oriented toward Reading Education, English Education, or Teaching English as a Second Language)
  • Mathematics Education
  • Urban Education

Each concentration offers a variety of concentration-specific course offerings at the doctoral level which are listed under the concentration requirements and electives for all students in the Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction program.

All Advanced Standing students are required to meet with the Concentration Coordinator and Program Advisor for identification of specialization courses. For Advanced Standing, courses taken at the master’s 5000 or 6000-level cannot be repeated at the doctoral 8000-level to meet concentration requirements.

The number of required credit hours varies by concentration. For Advanced Standing, the Mathematics Education concentration requires 18 credit hours in specialization coursework. The Curriculum and Educator Development (CED); Learning, Design, and Technology (LDT); and Literacy Education concentrations require 15 credit hours in specialization coursework for Advanced Standing students. The Urban Education concentration requires Advanced Standing students complete 9 credit hours in their specialization.

Advanced Standing students in the Curriculum and Educator Development (CED); Learning, Design, and Technology (LDT); or Mathematics Education concentrations are expected to complete concentration required courses first, and then select from concentration electives listed in the Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction information for the remaining concentration credit hours if applicable. All decisions regarding concentration courses require Concentration Coordinator and Program Advisor approval.

The Advanced Standing Literacy Education concentration and Urban Education concentration require students, with approval of the Program Advisor, to select courses from the concentration electives to meet specialization requirements in the Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction.

Advanced Standing students should schedule an advising meeting in the first semester to map out a program of study using Advanced Standing concentration planning sheets. The Ph.D. website contains additional information, including updated planning sheets for each Advanced Standing concentration.  

A minimum of 48 credit hours are required to complete the Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction degree under the Advanced Standing option.  Once the minimums are satisfied, the remaining hours, if any, can be satisfied via elective coursework within the concentration area of study pending Concentration Coordinator and Program Advisor approval.  Courses outside the program of study and concentration require submission of an academic petition and Graduate Program Director approval.  

Advanced Standing Degree Total = 48 Credit Hours


Advising


An Advisor is assigned to each student within the first year of study.  The Advisor, Concentration Coordinator, and Program Director provide initial advising until the end of the first year (12 credit hours) when the Advisor assumes responsibility.  By the beginning of the second year, the student is required to submit a Program of Study which is approved by the Advisor, Concentration Coordinator, and Program Director.  The Advisor, Concentration Coordinator, and Program Director also support the student in identifying faculty whose research interests and expertise are congruent with the student’s probable area of dissertation inquiry.  The assistance of the Advisor does not relieve the student of responsibility for completing required work and for following departmental or University procedures.  In the semester in which the student takes the Qualifying Comprehensive Examination, the student reaches agreement with a faculty member to serve as dissertation chair.  The chair must be a member of the Curriculum and Instruction faculty.  Students should complete the Qualifying Comprehensive Examination by the end of the third year in the program. Students who enter the Ph.D. program under Advanced Standing must take the Qualifying Comprehensive Examination before the end of their fourth semester in the doctoral program.

Admission to Candidacy


Students are considered candidates for the doctoral degree upon: (a) successful completion of the Qualifying Comprehensive Examination and (b) approval of the Dissertation Proposal.  Candidacy must be achieved the semester before the degree is conferred.

Application for Degree


Students must submit an Application for Degree in the semester in which they successfully defend their dissertation proposal.  Adherence to Graduate School deadlines and requirements is expected.  Degree requirements are completed with the successful defense of the dissertation and when the final copy of the dissertation has been filed in the Graduate School. 

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