College of Education2021-2022

Department of Teaching and Learning

Curriculum and Instruction, Doctor of Philosophy

Learning Outcomes

Purpose Statement

The Curriculum and Instruction (C&I) Doctoral program is designed and ideally suited for educational professionals with prior degrees in fields such education, higher education, and other professional fields (i.e. engineering and nursing). Individuals may be continuing their academic journey, or engaged in careers such as teaching (K-20), education leadership, curriculum development, or community development through curricular design. Students have a desire to engage in a rigorous program to gain a thorough understanding of the field of curriculum and instruction. Ultimately, through their research, publication, and professional contributions, candidates will enrich the field of education and curriculum design throughout Arizona, the nation, and internationally. Students participate in advanced coursework, readings, and seminars that explore the depth and breadth of major theories, and research methodologies across the field of curriculum and instruction. Engaging with faculty members, students explore theoretical frameworks and construct reasoned curricular arguments that fit within the field of curriculum and instruction as well as their professional contexts of practice. Our graduates work in many educational contexts including universities, community colleges, K-12 districts and schools, as well as business, technical, and vocational institutions. Pursing expertise through the program’s progression pathways, graduates from the C&I Program are prepared to assume positions as assistant professors in several diverse areas (including, but not limited to: curriculum and instruction, teacher education, instructional design, and early childhood education). Additionally, international students graduating from this program, often return to assume university faculty positions and become agents of change within their communities. The PhD program prepares individuals to assume expert roles in many fields of education such as: learning and curricular, design, higher education, education technology, and leadership.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this program, students will:
  • integrate deepened understandings of curriculum and instruction, by explicating and evaluating  the major movements, theories, and methodologies of these fields, situating their sources and articulating the relationships and implications to areas within the education-related venues of the students’ professional orientations.
  • clarify the multiple contexts that shape curricular and instructional decision-making, including such areas as: socio-cultural, political, economic, organizational, and historical.  
  • articulate how theoretical frameworks in curriculum and instruction can and often should be constructed from successful practice as understood broadly in professional contexts.
  • create sustained, coherent arguments or explanations summarizing elements of curriculum and instruction theory and literature with general and professional audiences.
  • examine the significant challenges involved in applying curriculum and instruction theory within the students’ professional venues, clarifying the leading edges, exploring the current limits of theory, knowledge, and practice, and how these appear in practice across socio-political contexts. 
  • engage the broad range of research methods, modes of inquiry and quantitative and qualitative methods used to investigate questions within curriculum and instruction and to evaluate and apply research findings within their inquiries and dissertations.
  • make significant and novel advancements in the understanding of curriculum and instruction designing an original research study of personal or professional interest and importance including: planning, organizing, scheduling, and executing the project.
    • articulate the theoretical framework for the project (including conducting a literature review to assess the theoretical and methodological contributions previously made to this area)
    • creatively generate alternative problem-solving ideas, practices, or solutions within the dissertation area.
    • identify and define appropriate variables and methods of data collection, select and apply quantitative and qualitative research methods appropriate to the research design, and analyze, interpret and explain findings
    • scrutinize and evaluate various assumptions, evidence, and reasoning throughout the project.
    • evaluate the effectiveness of the project and its implications to the fields of curriculum and instruction.
    • present original empirical  research to professional and non-professional audiences, articulating sustained, coherent explanations summarizing work.
    • conduct a dissertation defense to a community of curriculum and instruction faculty and peers

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