c About - Curriculum, Instruction, and Teacher Education PhD Program - Department of Teacher Education - College of Education - Michigan State University
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Department of Teacher Education

Ph.D. in Curriculum, Instruction and Teacher Education

About the Program


The Department of Teacher Education Ph.D. program in Curriculum, Instruction and Teacher Education (formerly Curriculum, Teaching and Education Policy) is designed for persons who are interested in and show promise of becoming scholars and leaders in the domains of curriculum, instruction, teaching, teacher education and educational policy at the K-12 or college/university level, or in local, state, regional, national or international institutions or agencies.

World Renowned Student Faculty Relationships

Housed in one of the nation’s most highly ranked colleges of education, our doctoral program provides students an unusual combination of attractive features, including:

  • Close contact with internationally renowned faculty who are highly committed to graduate education
  • A distinctive approach to educational issues that combines rigorous intellectual inquiry with close connections to professional practice
  • Exposure to multiple perspectives and interaction with a diverse faculty and student body
  • Flexibility to create individualized programs of study that are tailored to students' particular scholarly and professional interests
  • A variety of possible research and teaching assistantships
  • Opportunities to compete for a wide range of fellowships and scholarships

Our Commitments

The doctoral program in Curriculum, Instruction and Teacher Education draws strength from the distinctive orientation of the MSU College of Education. First and foremost, we are a professional college. As a professional school, we are committed to the preparation of teachers, counselors, curriculum leaders, school administrators, policymakers, teacher educators, researchers and others in the field of education. We strive to promote high-quality, equitable education and to generate a sense of professional responsibility for the improvement of education in its multiple dimensions. As all professional schools must, we attend to theory and practice equally. We carry out research and develop theory, all the while maintaining close relationships with practice.

Second, we seek both to understand and to reform education: We have an obligation to engage in meaningful research about education. But we also recognize our obligation to move beyond analysis and promote education reform, seeking to improve the conditions of teaching and learning for students and educators alike. This means looking beyond the technical concerns of teaching and learning to the broader social responsibility we bear for promoting social equity in and through education.

Third, we practice what we teach: As a college, we aim to put our theories into practice within our own classrooms and lives. This means carrying out our own teaching and service the way we teach others to do it and applying our research skills to the enhancement of the college as a scholarly community for students and faculty alike.

Finally, we are committed to creating a diverse community: We believe that diversity of background, experience, expertise and perspective enriches our scholarship. We seek to attract and retain the best faculty and graduate students possible. Through courses, seminars, colloquia, joint projects and other formal and informal interactions with those inside and outside the university, we draw on this diversity to inform our research, teaching, service and outreach.

The Content and Purposes of a Doctoral Education

Doctoral education is distinct from “going to school.” While courses and mastery of predetermined content are an essential element, so too is participation in larger professional communities – through research projects, participation in professional organizations, work in schools and other relevant settings. Perhaps most importantly, it is essential that students take ownership for their own learning during the course of a doctoral program, which includes deciding what courses to take and what other experiences to create for one’s own development.


More Information

For information about courses and program expectations, please visit the Requirements Overview page.

For information about the focal areas in the Ph.D. program, please visit the Focal Areas page.


For application procedures and materials, please visit the Application Process page.