Online EdD Programs in Curriculum Development and Instruction

Curriculum and instruction are the foundation of all education at every grade level. Education leaders who wish to focus on curriculum and instruction are prepared to impact educational outcomes directly through the development and improvement of course content and sequencing.

EdD programs in Curriculum and Instruction provide students with training in curriculum development, implementation, evaluation, and improvement, and supplement this training with courses that place school curriculum in different social, historical, and political contexts. Graduates of EdD programs in this concentration are prepared to assume leadership roles in settings such as K-12 public and private schools, colleges and universities, school districts, and education research organizations.

Curriculum for Online EdD Programs in Curriculum Development and Instruction

EdD programs in Curriculum and Instruction combine classes that cover the fundamentals of education administration and leadership with classes that focus on the development of curricula and other programs that meet the needs of a diverse student population. Core classes for EdD programs in this concentration may include:

  • History of the American Education System: An overview of the American education system and how it has evolved. The structure of primary, secondary, and post-secondary education and the development of educational standards at each of these levels. The role of teachers and administrators in America’s different systems of education, and how they have contributed to the improvement of these systems throughout history.
  • Foundations of Curriculum, Instruction, and Evaluation: The fundamentals of developing a curriculum, including identifying learning needs, curriculum mapping, and designing course content that aligns with education standards and students’ learning objectives. How knowledge is disseminated in school settings via class content and sequencing, course materials, assignments, and exams. How to evaluate learning outcomes from a curriculum and make adjustments accordingly.
  • Organizational Systems and Leadership in Education: The structure of different educational institutions at multiple levels of education, from primary to post-graduate. How different departments and teams collaborate to establish student learning goals and meet students’ needs in the classroom and on campus.
  • Education Policy: The politics of education in America, and the key stakeholders, including historical and current debates around such topics as education standards, campus regulations, and funding for educational programs. How recent education reforms have shaped students’ experiences at the K-12 and post-secondary levels.

While foundational courses in curriculum are a typical component of EdD programs, EdD programs with a specialization in Curriculum and Instruction examine the processes of curriculum development, implementation, and improvement in more detail. Concentration courses for these programs may cover topics such as school program funding, staff training and professional development, student instruction, and assessing student progress. Samples of courses may include:

  • Advanced Topics in Curriculum and Instruction: The latest research and theories on best practices for curriculum development and instruction. An in-depth discussion of curriculum mapping, technology in the classroom, collaborating with stakeholders in the curriculum development process, and incorporating new instructional models into the classroom.
  • Curriculum Evaluation and Improvement: The different strategies for assessing curricula and learning outcomes, and how to apply these findings to targeted plans to improve student achievement.
  • Context and Reflection for Curriculum Development: A discussion of the social, historical, political, and other external forces that shape curriculum and instruction. How standards for curriculum and instruction have evolved over time, and the latest developments in curriculum requirements and education benchmarks.
  • Diversity Education in Curricula: The role of diversity education and acceptance in the development of a safe and productive learning environment for students of all ages. How to incorporate diversity into different types of educational programming, such as literature, social studies, history, and science classes, as well as extracurricular programs.

In addition to core and concentration courses, students may also be able to take one or more elective classes that are not within their specific major or department, but which are relevant to their future career(s) of interest. Such classes may include:

  • Leadership in the Workplace: The principles of effective leadership and communication in group settings, and how to lead teams in the design and execution of plans.
  • Technology in Education: The latest developments in education technology and how they can enhance the learning process for students across grade levels. The different forms of education technology, from mobile apps to online course modules, and how to incorporate them into curricula.

During the latter half of their EdD program, students typically begin their dissertation, which is a capstone research project that investigates a problem or an issue in education, with a particular focus on curriculum and/or instruction. While the vast majority of EdD programs require the completion of a dissertation, some programs allow students to take capstone research seminar courses that replace the dissertation requirement. For more information about EdD dissertation requirements, please refer to our Dissertations and Research Requirements for EdD Programs page.

EdD programs may vary in terms of their curriculum content and course sequencing, and therefore the course descriptions described above should be viewed as guidelines. To learn more about EdD program structure and curriculum, please see our Structure of Online EdD Programs page.

Career Paths for Graduates of EdD Programs in Curriculum Development and Instruction

Graduates of EdD programs in Curriculum and Instruction are prepared to enter jobs that involve leading teams in the creation, expansion, evaluation, or improvement of curricula and educational programs. They may also find work in government agencies, education advocacy organizations, corporations, and other work environments where their knowledge of the curriculum development process can translate into advocating for improvements in education policy, staff trainings, or academic programs. Examples of roles that students of EdD programs in Curriculum and Instruction may assume include:

  • School Principals: School principals are in charge of the daily operations and long-term performance of the schools under their purview. They supervise teachers in the development of curricula and their instruction of students, collaborate with school district boards to ensure that their schools’ programs align with district and state standards, and manage school budgets in collaboration with other school staff.
  • School Superintendents: School superintendents are part of a larger school district board that typically oversees the performance of multiple schools in a given region. They help to establish educational standards at schools, oversee the design and implementation of curricula and curriculum improvements, and work with school principals, teachers, parents, and students to resolve educational challenges that arise on the campuses of the schools over which they preside.
  • College and University Deans: College deans direct one or more academic departments at post-secondary institutions, including universities, community colleges, and liberal arts colleges. Deans oversee the daily operations of their department, the development and implementation of course curricula, faculty members’ research and/or professional development, and funding for departmental programs.
  • Curriculum Specialists: Curriculum specialists can work with a variety of educational institutions in order to help them create curricula and other student programming. They also collaborate with teachers and school administrators to evaluate and improve curricula and instruction methods for students at different grade levels.