The PhD program in the Department of Curriculum & Instruction is designed to develop scholars with the skills required to independently conduct research in a wide range of educational settings. The courses and programs embody a comprehensive variety of interests and orientations available to researchers in the field of education.
The Ph.D. program accepts applications for fall semester entry only. The application deadline for the Fall 2024 entry term is January 5, 2024.
In addition to the minimum Graduate School admission requirements, to be considered for regular admission an application must include:
- A grade point average of 3.0/4.0 (or equivalent)
- Curriculum Vitae
- Statement of Purpose
- Three (3) letters of recommendation, including at least one from a professor who can write about the applicant's potential as a scholar
A preferred qualification is for two years of experience in related professions, designing curriculum, or instructing learners at any level, in the U.S. or abroad.
While a GRE score is not required for admission, preference for a limited number of college-funded assistantships is given to applicants for full-time study who take the GRE and achieve a composite score of 300 or better. Other competitive assistantship, fellowship and scholarship opportunities may be available for applicants without GRE scores.
- Students will take 48 hours minimum in courses related to their major area of research interest in Curriculum and Instruction.
- Students will take 24 hours of support coursework in educational research and humanistic/behavioral studies.
- Students will take 6 hours of free electives, such as additional educational research courses.
- Students will take 18 hours of dissertation.
- Total coursework, including the dissertation hours, will be 96 hours.
- At the discretion of the major advisor, it may be possible to transfer in 24 credit hours from a relevant master's degree program or Ed.S. program.
|Required 48 hours|
|Select 4 courses (12 hours):||12|
|Tch Prac Across World|
|Discourse & Pedagogy|
|Curric Classroom Teacher|
|Sem Teachr Educ Program|
|Prof Cont: Tching & Lrning Com|
|Critical Inquiry Curric Pedago|
CEE 690 or
CSE 690 or
|Required Doctoral Seminar||Hours|
|Coursework related to Specific Research Interest||Hours|
|Select 11 Courses (33 hours) - Examples Include:||33|
|Student Teach Supervision|
|Writing Academic Pub|
|Sem For Language Eductn Resear|
|Advanced Seminar Crd|
|Adv Soc Studies Elem Sch|
|Sec School English|
|Second Language Literacy|
|Research on Science Teaching|
|Required 24 hours|
|Educational Research Coursework – Select 8 courses from the following:|
|Philosophy Of Educ|
|Statistical Methods In Educ|
|Inqry As Interp: Qual I|
|Reflect Resist: Qual II|
|Adv Statistical Methods in Ed|
|Studies Social Foundatn Eductn|
|Readings In Soc Of Ed|
|Studies History Of Education|
|Language Politics & Education|
|The Psychology of Morality|
|Methods & Trends in Ed. Neuro.|
|Minimum 6 hours|
|Survey Research In Educ|
|Ethics & Aesthc:Qual III|
|Eval I:Theory & Practice|
|Advanced Regression Methods|
|Design Res Classrm Teach|
CSE 695 or
|CEE 699 or||Dissertation Research||18|
|CSE 699||Dissertation Research|
At the discretion of the major advisor, it may be possible to transfer 24 credit hours from a relevant master’s degree or EdS program.
Graduate School information on Transfer Credit.
Doctoral Plan of Study
Within 30 hours or less, students will submit a Plan of Study, which will be agreed upon with a program of study committee (and, for those with a focused area of study in Music Education, based on results of the MUE Diagnostic Exam*). The committee includes the advisor and a minimum of four additional faculty, one of whom must be external to the department and at least three of whom must hold faculty lines within the department. At least three of the committee members must have Full Graduate Faculty status.
*For those with a focused area of study in Music Education, the MUE Diagnostic Examination will be taken no later than the second semester in residence. The student must register for MUE 631 Doctor of Philosophy Diagnostic/Admission Exam, a zero credit-hour course, to show successful completion of the examination.
Graduate School information on the Doctoral Plan of Study.
The goals of the comprehensive examination are (a) to give students an opportunity to reflect on and integrate the knowledge and skills they have developed in their doctoral studies, and (b) to give faculty members the opportunity to evaluate whether students show sufficient breadth and depth of knowledge and skills in their particular fields.
Students are eligible to take the examination when they have 6-9 credit hours of coursework remaining in their program. There are now two options for comprehensive exams, as noted below.
Option A: Traditional Comps
The student’s program of study must be on file in the program office, and a Doctoral Committee Advisory form must be completed and on file in the program office. It is the student's responsibility to complete the Application for Comprehensive Exams (available from the Curriculum & Instruction Department office—Autherine Lucy Hall 204). The student must submit the request to take the comprehensive examination at least 3 weeks in advance of the time in which the exam will be taken. This request form must be signed by the program planning committee chair.
Option A Procedures
Students will be provided with three (3) questions relative to their expertise and research interests that are to be completed independently. The committee Chair contacts the program committee members who will write questions for the examination. The date will be determined by the student in conjunction with the Chair of the student's Doctoral Program Advisory Committee. The questions will be delivered electronically to the student with receipt required by the SCTL or elementary program secretary. The completed exam must be returned electronically to the SCTL or elementary education program assistant within 10 calendar days.
Each question will include appropriate subsections to ensure that all areas identified are assessed. Faculty members from the student's advisory committee will write the questions and may assist students by clarifying any details about the questions. No additional assistance may be obtained from the faculty members or any other individuals (see http://education.ua.edu/ academics/ci/). Students are required to give numerous and appropriate references to the sources they use and to include a reference section in their examinations. Plagiarism on the exam will be considered academic misconduct, resulting in automatic failure of the examination and possible termination from the program. Students who are unclear on what constitutes plagiarism or the improper paraphrasing of others’ work are advised to ask for guidelines from department faculty members. Students wishing additional clarification on a question can approach the faculty member who wrote the question.
The electronically submitted responses for each question should be comprehensive. Each response should not exceed 10 double-spaced pages with one-inch margins. The written comprehensive exam is considered to be passed when all questions are passed. The committee has the option of requiring an oral defense of the comprehensive exam, in which case a student passes the exam only they pass both the written and oral portions.
Students are allowed two attempts to pass comprehensive exams, as stated in The University of Alabama Graduate Catalog.
- If a student fails the first attempt at comprehensive exams, a remediation plan will be established with the student and Program of Study chair. Additional faculty members may be included in the remediation plan as deemed appropriate by the Program of Study chair. The remediation plan will be submitted in writing to the department chair for approval.
- Students are not allowed to attempt the comprehensive exams twice within the same semester.
- Upon successful completion of remediation, as determined by the Program of Study chair, the student will be allowed a second attempt to pass comprehensive exams.
- Questions for the second attempt at comprehensive exams are to be written by the same faculty members who wrote questions for the first attempt. Program of Study faculty members may use the same questions for both attempts, as deemed appropriate by the Program of Study chair.
- Faculty members who grade responses from the first attempt at comprehensive exams are to grade the responses from second attempt.
A student who fails the second attempt at comprehensive exams will be dismissed from the degree program and from the Graduate School (Graduate Catalog Policies 4.11.1, 4.11.2, 4.11.3)
Option B: Publishable Paper
The publication option is an alternative to the Traditional Comprehensive Exam (Option A). The goal of this option is authentic scholarly inquiry suitable for publication.
The outcome of the research publication option will be a high-quality research manuscript written by the student and evaluated by committee members. The manuscript does not have to be accepted for publication to be deemed acceptable by committee members. IRB approval for research involving human subjects is required.
The student’s major advisor (hereafter chair) and two other Plan of Study Committee Members will comprise the Research Publication Option committee. This committee will review the concept paper and final manuscript. The three committee members will be referred to as the committee throughout the remainder of this document.
CONCEPT PAPER PACKET
Students will complete a Concept Paper Packet describing the proposed study as early as possible in their program. For full-time students this packet would typically be completed in the second semester of the first year or first semester of the second year, or the summer between these two semesters (see suggested timeline below).
The Concept Paper Packet will include:
- A Cover Sheet that declares this option as the student’s requested choice.
- An identified chair, with their signature on the cover sheet;
- A 5-10 page literature review (reviewing substantive, peer-reviewed literature including landmark research)(may be a SLR or other approved option);
- A specific research question or hypothesis that follows from the literature reviewed;
- An identified dataset or original data collection plan that will be utilized for analyses to answer the research question;
- A brief description of the dataset’s sampling approach, data collection procedures, dates of data collection, primary variables, etc.;
- A data analysis plan with sufficient level of detail for the committee to give input;
- A list of at least 3 target journals that will be potentially used for the submission, including their impact factor and author guidelines;
- Status of an IRB protocol approving the use of human subjects.
The chair will actively advise the student choosing this option. Early steps may include providing materials such as sample IRB protocols, journal articles, journal requirements, sample journal feedback, journal review criteria, and other materials deemed appropriate by the chair.
The chair will work closely with the student on all aspects of the research publication option. As one of the first steps, the chair will work with the student to develop the concept paper which describes the research idea and plan in enough detail for the additional two committee members to provide meaningful input.
Once the chair approves the concept paper packet (outlined above), they will pass on the packet to the committee for input and approval. The Committee Review Form will be used by the committee to provide feedback to the student, via the chair. Once all approvals are obtained, the student may proceed with the research.
The committee will give feedback to the student (via the chair) regarding the concept and approach, and the chair will take primary responsibility to work with the student to incorporate any needed changes.
The following are general guidelines and a timeline based on three years of full-time coursework, but the student and chair should discuss a realistic and specific timeline.
Fall, 1st Year: Students will be introduced to the Research Publication Option in the student orientation and in the first course in the sequenced curriculum.
Spring, 1st Year: Students will take the second course in sequenced curriculum and work with the chair in developing a concept paper.
Summer After 1st Year: Students will begin working closely with the chair and put together their Concept Paper Packet. Once the chair is satisfied with the Concept Paper Packet, they will submit the packet to the committee.
Fall, 2nd Year: Students will enroll in the third course in sequenced curriculum and will use this semester to conduct their research, analyze data, and begin writing.
Spring, 2nd Year: Complete a full draft of the manuscript. The chair will review the manuscript and approve/disapprove it. If it is deemed insufficiently developed, the student will continue working on the draft until sufficient progress is made. Once it is approved by the chair, the paper will be submitted to the committee who will have at least two weeks to review the manuscript, make suggestions, and approve/disapprove it.
COMMITTEE REVIEW OF SUBMITTED MANUSCRIPT
Once the manuscript is approved by the chair, the paper will be submitted to the committee who will have at least two weeks to review the manuscript, make suggestions, and approve/disapprove it.
Appendix B presents a review form that should be used by the committee to provide feedback and communicate their recommendations regarding approval.
Should revisions be necessary before approval, the student will have 30 days to make revisions and resubmit the manuscript to the chair or to the committee, depending upon initial outcome.
A student must receive a rating of “acceptable as is” by at least 2 of 3 committee members in order to pass this option and move on to an oral defense. Once the written portion is passed, the oral defense will be scheduled. The oral defense will be a 20-minute conference style presentation followed by committee questions. Students must pass both the written and oral portions to pass.
A student may change to the Traditional Comprehensive Exam (Option A) at any time, even after submitting the second draft of the Research Publication Option.
AFTER APPROVAL OF THE MANUSCRIPT BY THE COMMITTEE
To be advanced to candidacy, the student must pass one of the comprehensive exam options and complete all course work.
The student is expected to write this paper themself, with input and direction from faculty, but without co-authoring. If the paper is subsequently submitted for publication, the student will be first author. The committee and potentially others (other graduate students, other faculty, and so forth), may be co-authors of the paper when it is submitted for publication, depending upon the amount of input each gives to the final submission. An authorship agreement should be created by the student and signed by all authors in advance of authorship collaboration.
There is no problem with a student authoring or co-authoring other papers before, during, or after participating in the Research Publication Option for comprehensive exams.
Graduate School information on Comprehensive Exams.
Admission to Candidacy
Upon successful completion of the comprehensive examination, the student will identify the doctoral dissertation committee membership, which will follow the same guidelines as did the Plan of Study committee formation. The student will develop the dissertation proposal with input from the committee, present it in writing and orally to the committee for approval, and revise as needed until it is acceptable to the committee. When the dissertation proposal has been deemed acceptable, the student is admitted to candidacy once the Admission to Candidacy Form is signed by the committee.
Graduate School information on Admission to Candidacy.
Continuous Enrollment Policy
Graduate School information on Continuous Enrollment.
Dissertation Research, Writing, and Defense
Once admitted to candidacy, the student will complete the dissertation research proposed under the supervisor of the Major Advisor and dissertation committee. Upon completion of the dissertation research, which includes the submission of a draft of the written dissertation to the doctoral dissertation committee, the student must successfully defend the work via an oral presentation to the committee, which is also open to the public. A successful defense may still entail some revision to the written dissertation.
Graduate School information on Dissertation Requirements.
Time Limits for Degree Completion
Graduate School information on Time Limits.
Graduate School information on Academic Misconduct.
Withdrawals and Leave of Absence
Graduate School information on Withdrawals and Leave of Absence.
Graduate School information on Academic Grievances.
Grades and Academic Standing
Graduate School information on Grades and Academic Standing.
Graduate School Deadlines
Information on Graduate School Deadlines.
Application for Graduation
Information on the Application for Graduation.