Ph.D. in Curriculum & Instruction

Doctoral celebration

This course of study is for professional educators who desire to extend and advance knowledge in the theory and practice of education as university researchers or leaders in other educational settings. Areas of research emphasis include career & technical and post-sescondary education, cultural and international studies in education, educational technology, teacher education, mathematics education, and literacy. The completion of this degree will particularly enable individuals to become skilled researchers as members of university faculties.


The admissions deadline is December 1 for Fall admissions. Apply through the UNLV Graduate College.

Area of Emphasis

General Degree Timeline

A minimum of 60 hours of study beyond the master's degree is required for the Ph.D. A specific plan of study will be proposed by the student and advisor and must be approved by the student's doctoral committee, department graduate coordinator, Dean of the College of Education, and the Dean of the Graduate College. This plan of study must include coursework and/or experience in a specific area of emphasis, a cognate area of study, educational research, internships in research and college teaching, and the dissertation. The Ph.D. requires 9-12 hours to be taken as a cognate area of study.

Item Description
Area of Emphasis (27 hours) Cultural and international studies in education, interaction & media sciences (Educational Technology), literacy, mathematics education, science education, teacher education, and TESL (27 hours). This coursework is taken within the Department of Teaching and Learning. Coursework must also include an analysis and evaluation of major issues confronting American education that are significant to all professional educators and/or historical, philosophical, or social foundations of American education.
Cognate Area of Study (9 - 12 hours) The cognate is a minor area of study which enhances the major area of emphasis. Students may design a cognate area from within the Department of Teaching and Learning, other departments within the College of Education, or from other departments at UNLV.
Educational Research (15 hours) Submit an article for publication in a national refereed journal. The research component is designed to provide students with: a) knowledge of statistics with an emphasis on descriptive and inferential statistics and experimental design; b) knowledge of qualitative research methodologies; and c) doctoral research seminar emphasizing a review of the literature. Courses required include EPY 718, EPY 721, CIG 790, plus two elective research courses.
Internship (6 - 12 hours) The internships are focused toward the career goal of becoming a university researcher and faculty member. The specific experiences included in the research and college teaching internships are designed by the student and the advisor, with approval from the student's doctoral committee.
Dissertation (12 - 24 hours) The culminating activity of the doctoral program in T&L is the dissertation. Once a student has been advanced to doctoral candidacy, continuous enrollment in at least 3 credit hours in CIG 799 must be maintained until the dissertation is successfully defended. Registering for dissertation credits before Prospectus approval is prohibited.


Links to program specific forms are available on the Forms and Handbooks page.

Additional forms are available for completion and download on the department and Graduate College websites. Also see Timeline from Admission to Graduation, available in the Graduate Catalog.

Frequently Asked Questions

Prospective Students

  • How do I apply for admission to a doctoral program in the Department of
    Curriculum and Instruction at UNLV?

    After you have read the available information on the four programs that we offer and you have decided which one you wish to pursue, review the Entrance Requirements section of your program of interest. You can use this section as a checklist for all the documentation that needs to accompany your application.
    Then, fill out the application provided here and send it to the Department of Teaching and Learning (address is provided on the application form).
    IMPORTANT NOTE: Applying for admission to a doctoral program in the Department of T&L is a two-part process. You must fulfill the requirements outlined by the department and the requirements set forth by the Graduate College as well. If you are an international student, you must also contact the Office of International Students and Scholars.
    If you have any questions at any time during the application process, please call the T&L Office of Doctoral Studies 702-895-1540. We are here to assist you!
  • What is the application deadline?
    Deadline: December 1st of the year admission is sought.
    *Admission is effective the Fall semester of the application year.
    **We highly recommend sending in all required documentation to (1) the department of T&L, (2) the Graduate College, and (3) international students only: the Office of International Students and Scholars, prior to February 15th.
  • What is the residency requirement?
    Every doctoral program in the department of T&L has a residency requirement, which is different from Residency for the purposes of tuition. For the latter, if it is determined that you are a Nevada Resident, you will not need to pay out-of-state tuition.
    The residency requirement for each of our doctoral programs is described in more detail in the Minimum Completion Requirements section of each program. After reading this information, if you have further questions, please call the T&L Office at 702-895-1540.
  • How do I check the status of my application?
    You are always welcome to call our offices to make sure the documentation you have sent has arrived. We will also be in touch with you by e-mail, so please make sure you provide your e-mail address on all application forms you send us.
    T&L Office of Doctoral Studies: 702-895-1540
    UNLV Graduate College: 702-895-3320
    Office of International Students and Scholars: 702-895-0143

Current Students

  • Where do I find the forms I need to submit?
    Links to forms for doctoral students can be found under the General Forms section above.
  • What classes are required for my program?
    Please consult the Program of Study section for your particular program.
  • The annual review is due on March 20th. What is the procedure for its completion?
    It is required that all doctoral students in the department of T&L complete their Annual Review by March 20th. Failure to complete the Annual Review leads to being placed on academic probation.
    Here are the steps for the completion of the Annual Review:
    1. Complete the Annual Review Form.
    2. After completing and submitting this form online, print a copy of it. Also print an updated Vita and a recent unofficial transcript. You can obtain your unofficial transcript through UNLV's online registration link.
    3.a. Schedule a meeting with your chair, or your entire committee if you wish, to evaluate your progress in the program. Take the Annual Review form, your Vita and the unofficial transcript to this meeting. After your chair has reviewed and discussed your progress, he/she will sign your Annual Review form.
    3.b. Students in the Ph.D. in Teacher Education program must also update their electronic portfolios. They are required to meet with their entire committee, not only their chair, to present their electronic portfolio. This is in addition to all of the above. Detailed information about the electronic portfolio is provided here.
    4. All students must submit the signed Annual Review form, the updated Vita, and the unofficial transcript to the T&L Office of Doctoral Studies: CEB 354, by February 15th.
    If you have any questions about this process, please contact the T&L Office of Doctoral Studies at 702-895-1540.
  • Which classes apply toward my area of emphasis?
    Each doctoral program has coursework required for completion. For information on electives that align with your area of emphasis, you can speak with your advisor, other faculty members, and fellow students, and you can also consult the UNLV Graduate Catalog.
  • Where can I get web space to post my electronic portfolio?
    You have 100MB of free web space available through UNLV. Login to your WebCampus T&L Doctoral Studies for detailed information on obtaining this space.
  • Procedures for completing the Qualifying Examination were updated in the Fall of 2015. What are the updates?
    Qualifying Examination Procedures - updated Fall 2015
    The qualifying examination is designed to assess students' understanding of core concepts and preparedness to pursue advanced study related to a dissertation topic. The qualifying examination is administered to provide doctoral students with the opportunity to demonstrate their level of knowledge in a selected field of study and to synthesize that knowledge into a professionally written paper. Questions are designed around students' core coursework. However, the committee members have discretion in how they choose to assess students' knowledge and preparedness. Qualifying exams may be taken upon completion of minimum program requirements and advisor approval.