EducationDynamics maintains business relationships with the schools it features

Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction Online Programs

Are you among the thousands of students and professionals in teaching and education who have an interest in instructional design? Prepare yourself to pursue high-level

careers in the field by enrolling in a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction Online. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, education has long been one of the more popular doctoral degree fields.  While there might be many subjects within education you may have the opportunity to study, narrowing your focus may help you build expertise in preparation to pursue certain careers after graduation. If curriculum and instruction is a field that interests you, keep reading!

Essentials of PhD in Curriculum and Instruction Online Degrees

Two of the more common doctoral education degrees, the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Education and the Doctor of Education (EdD), may both be considered research doctorate degrees.[i] A doctoral level degree is typically considered the highest level degree qualification in American education [ii]. Typically centering on a large-scale research project, such as a dissertation,[ii] doctoral degrees may take longer than 2 years to complete , with PhD programs possibly requiring 5 to 6 years of study.[i]

So what’s the difference between a PhD in Education and a EdD?

Depending on the particular school and PhD in Curriculum and Instruction Online program, the differences between these two high-level degrees in education may be great or small. PhDs, usually, prominently feature a dissertation, which often need to be presented and defended to a particular panel in order to graduate.ii Doctor of Education degrees, while they might have a similar requirement, may also instead have a smaller scale capstone project.  Be sure, when comparing and contrasting different schools and programs, to  check what that particular school’s degree title means.

Another difference you might notice—when looking into how to earn an EdD or PhD in instructional design online—is that the program names may not be the same. For example, some might refer to their subject as “curriculum, instruction and assessment ,” while others may say “learning, instruction, and innovation, ” or “curriculum and teaching .” This might help indicate the specific focus of a program, so contact the school directly to see how the program name might give a hint as to the specifics of the course of study.

Possible Coursework Necessary to Earn a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction Online

As you might expect, knowing that degree titles and program names might vary in this field, the coursework offered or required in instructional design doctorate programs isn’t set in stone for every program, either. This is one thing to consider asking questions about when investigating your potential studies in a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction Online. Though not comprehensive, a list of potential class topics you might see offered or required in these programs could include:

  • Research methods
  • Prospectuses
  • Quantitative reasoning
  • eLearning instruction
  • Technology 
  • History of education
  • Teaching strategies
  • Leadership in education
  • Education and diversity 

This is hardly a comprehensive list, and don’t forget that some programs may have a large research focus. Make sure when looking into different online instructional design doctorate programs that you check what classes may be offered or required by the school.

What Might Not Be Online?

When looking into PhD in Curriculum and Instruction Online programs, you may be surprised to discover that not all of them may be available fully online. While it’s true that many course requirements might be able to be completed online in virtual classrooms,  some programs have requirements that must be met in person. These could include residential workshops , or other similar programs. When looking into programs, if this is something that might factor into your decisions, be sure to request information from each school about whether or not their programs are fully online, and where you might have to attend so you can complete certain coursework.

Potential Career Pursuits

Although, even within the broader education field, many careers may at most require an entry-level education of a master’s degree, a doctoral degree may improve your standing with certain employers. [iii] 

One career you might consider pursuing is that of training and development manager—a  professional who helps an organization educate its employees.  Training and development managers earned a median annual salary of $102,640 in 2015.[iv]

You might also look into pursuing a position as an instructional coordinator, helping to manage and implement school curriculums and instructional standards.  This position had an annual median income of $62,270 in 2015.[v]

Another potential career to pursue could be as a postsecondary education administrator. Of those polled by O*Net, 22% of these professionals reported that they had earned doctoral degree.  The median annual wages in 2015 were $88,580.[vii]

Getting Ready to Do Your Research

Now that you know a little bit about what it takes to earn an online doctorate degree in curriculum and instruction, it’s time to start comparing and contrasting different PhD and EdD in instructional design programs. You can begin right here on eLearners.com by taking a look at our sponsored listings, and reaching out to any school that interests you to request more information! Good luck!


[i]bls.gov/careeroutlook/2002/winter/art03.pdf [ii]ed.gov/about/offices/list/ous/international/usnei/us/doctorate.doc [iii]bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/postsecondary-teachers.htm#tab-4 [iv]bls.gov/ooh/management/training-and-development-managers.htm [v]bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/instructional-coordinators.htm [vi]onetonline.org/link/summary/11-9033.00#Education [vii]onetonline.org/link/summary/11-9033.00#WagesEmployment

Find Schools