A teacher working with young students in a classroom.

Doctor of Philosophy

Curriculum and Instruction

Program of Study

Core Courses

  • Principles of Curriculum Development 
  • Principles of Instruction 
  • Foundations of Research in Curriculum and Instruction


Choose five or more courses within your specific area of interest (outlined below).

Minor Field of Study/Electives

Select a coherent series of courses in subjects related to your chosen specialization.

Inquiry Courses

Take four courses in quantitative and qualitative research methodologies.

Research Tool Exam

The Gateway Paper Review

Qualifying Exam


Additional Information

See the Graduate Bulletin for details.

For more information, contact the Pathways Into Education (PIE) Center at [email protected].



Adult classroom


Areas of Specialization
Learning, Teaching, and Teacher Education

Study learning, teaching and learning to teach across disciplines in diverse school contexts, including  teaching and teacher education, humanizing pedagogies, reflective practices, and school improvement, all with a focus on social justice and equity.

Faculty: Julie Learned, Brett Levy, Carla Meskill, Alan Oliveira, Carol Rodgers, Robert Yagelski

Learning Sciences and Technology

Conduct interdisciplinary research on how people learn and how to design productive learning and educational practice with new technologies, such as online learning, collaborative/social technologies, virtual games, computational devices, and AI-augmented learning environments and analytics.

Faculty: Reza Feyzi-Behnagh, Peter Shea, Lijun Ni, Jianwei Zhang

Language and Technology

Examine language and literacy education with, through and around digital screens and how the language of instruction, orchestrated in alignment with technology affordances, comes to shape learning environments, opportunities, processes, outcomes and teacher preparation for both online and classroom contexts.

Faculty: Carla Meskill, Alan Oliveira, Peter Shea

Literacy, Language, and Culture

Research the dynamic and interconnected roles of literacies, languages, and cultures in learning, including English education, disciplinary literacy, instructional discourse, the creation of just and inclusive contexts, and students’ cultural and linguistic practices in school-based and out-of-school  learning.

Faculty: Alex Kumi-Yeboah, Julie Learned, Carla Meskill, Robert Yagelski

Science and Mathematics Education

Examine critical issues in the teaching and learning of science, mathematics, and computer science at the K-12 and post-secondary levels, such as disciplinary thinking and practices, classroom discourse, integration of technology, computing education, and environmental education.

Faculty: Alan Oliveira, Lijun Ni, Jianwei Zhang

TESOL and Second Language Acquisition

Explore concepts in TESOL and second language acquisition as related to pragmatics, cognitive linguistics, intercultural communication, and multilingualism.

Research can focus on a variety of issues including formulaic language, analysis of intercultural interactions, context and meaning, developing common ground, synergic concepts in the bilingual mind, the relationship of bilingualism and cognition, bi- and multilingual language use, bilingual pragmatic competence, and others.

Faculty: Istvan Kecskes, Carla Meskill, Lauren Park

Society, Equity, and Social Studies

Examine social studies education in K-12 as well as the role of education in fostering just and equitable societies, addressing key issues in civic engagement, equity in education, and socially just teaching.

Faculty: Brett Levy, Alan Oliveira, Carol Rodgers, Alex Kumi-Yeboah

Careers in Curriculum and Instruction

The PhD program prepares you to succeed as an academic scholar and instructor at higher education institutions or pursue curriculum and teaching leadership positions in K-12 schools, continuing and community education centers, and training departments.

Common Job Titles: Educational Researcher, Professor or Teaching Faculty, Senior Instructional Designer, and Instructional Technology Director.

Common Employers: Colleges and Universities, Public School Districts, Businesses and Corporations, Nonprofit Organizations, State, Regional, and Federal Agencies, Ministries of Education, United States Department of Defense, Medical Centers and Teaching Hospitals

Admissions Requirements


Departmental Assistantship Consideration

  • Fall: February 25
  • Spring: November 19
  • Summer: February 25

No Departmental Assistantship Consideration

  • Fall: Rolling
  • Spring: Rolling
  • Summer: Rolling

Applicants to the PhD program are encouraged to complete their applications by June 1 for admission in the Fall semester and December 1 for admission in the Spring semester. (Exceptions to these suggested deadlines will be made on a case-by-case basis following a review of materials.)

Required Application Materials
  • Transcripts from all schools attended
  • Three letters of recommendation (Two of the three required letters of recommendation must be from faculty addressing applicant's potential to succeed in the PhD program.)
  • GRE
  • Statement of Background and Goals
Special Notes

Please note: This program offers an internship, field experience, study abroad component, or clinical experience in the course listing as an option to fulfill course requirements. Students who have previously been convicted of a felony are advised that their prior criminal history may impede their ability to complete the requirements of certain academic programs and/or to meet licensure requirements for certain professions. If applicants have concerns about this matter please contact the Dean’s Office of the intended academic program.

Student Learning Objectives

Learning objectives that UAlbany students are expected to attain through their course of study within their academic program.

  • Our students are able to read and write critically and analytically on critical issues in educational theory and research.
  • Our students develop in depth knowledge of current research and theory in their particular area of specialization.
  • Our doctoral students are able to articulate researchable educational problems and plan and carry out well-framed studies that address these problems.
  • Our doctoral students are able to participate effectively in the community of educational researchers, including collaborative working groups, professional presentations, and publication in formats and genres appropriate to their fields of specialization.

Careers and Advisement

The Pathways Into Education (PIE) Center is the central office on campus serving undergraduate, graduate, and prospective students interested in pursuing careers in education and programs leading to teacher certification.

Please call or email to schedule an appointment.

Graduate Advisement:
Email Graduate Advisement