Wayne State University

Degree Choices

The doctoral program in Curriculum and Instruction offers two degrees: the Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) and the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). The program development and dissertation focus for both the Ed.D. and Ph.D. students are aligned with the student’s career goals and aspirations.

The Doctor of Education degree focuses on the development of scholarship in research that has implications for program innovation and the inquiry of problems in practice, situated in educational contexts. The Ed.D. degree is designed for those who are especially interested in:

  1. Seeking employment and advancement in the field as a practitioner with career goals that involve curricular leadership in school districts, businesses and service organizations.
  2. Developing programs, practices, strategies, resources, materials, and tools based on curriculum and pedagogy for educational settings.
  3. Conducting research applicable to localized educational settings such as a school district, an educational institution, or a corporation.

The Doctor of Philosophy degree focuses on the development of scholarship in the discourse and inquiry of the advancement of theoretical foundations. Research emphasizes the generation and validation of new knowledge based on theoretically driven problems contributing to the building of theory and methods. The Ph.D. degree is designed for those who are especially interested in:

  1. Pursuing an academic career in higher education or careers that demand theoretical research expertise.
  2. Framing research problems that embody theoretical and conceptual application, analysis, interpretation, and implication.
  3. Conducting research that has broad application and offers potential and promise for primarily advancing educational theory.

At the time of application, interest in pursuing either the Ed.D. degree or Ph.D. degree needs to be designated. Via the admission interview, the admissions committee will discuss which of the two degrees best meets your professional needs. At that time, a change in the original application may result. Changes may also occur over time.

Choice of Cognate

In addition to choosing an area in Curriculum and Instruction as your major, a cognate must also be selected. For both doctoral degrees, the cognate can be chosen either from within the College of Education (e.g., Educational Psychology or Reading, Language, and Literature) or from outside the College (e.g., Psychology or English). Applicants choosing the Ph.D. program are encouraged to select a cognate from outside the College because the dissertation committee must include one faculty member from outside the College.

Committee Composition

For Ed.D students, the doctoral committee is comprised of the major advisor (who must hold Regular Graduate Faculty Status), the cognate advisor, and an appropriate committee member. The third member may be from inside or outside the College of Education. However, if all three members are from within the College, at least one member of the committee must be from outside the division in which the major area of concentration resides. For Ph.D. students, the doctoral committee is comprised of the major advisor (who must hold Regular Graduate Faculty Status), the cognate advisor, and two appropriate committee members one of whom must be from outside the division in which the major area of concentration resides. The dissertation committee must include one faculty member from outside the College of Education. For this reason, applicants choosing the Ph.D. program are strongly encouraged to choose a cognate from outside the College of Education.