Skip to main content

About Us

Program Mission Statement

The Doctoral Program in Curriculum Studies is unique both in the construction of the Core and Research segments and the diversity of the supporting areas. This is not the traditional Curriculum and Instruction umbrella approach to doctoral education found in many institutions attempting to cover everything from Higher Education and Educational Administration to Elementary through Adult Education. The result of such a diffused program is a dilution of the basic component: the study of Curriculum as a discrete field of inquiry. The inevitable weakness of a traditional umbrella program is a lack of focus as much more class time is dedicated to “content instruction” and far less to “curriculum.” That attenuation of the study of curriculum must inevitably reinforce the confusion that reigns in the field. This program reverses those trends by balancing survey courses with in-depth investigations on topics in Curriculum Studies. The Program Core provides a comprehensive coverage of five critical areas in Curriculum Studies: History of American Education, Power and Schooling, Advanced Curriculum Theory, Philosophy of Education, and Inquiry and Development of Educational Practice. The Research and Inquiry Core provides a comprehensive introduction and orientation to the wide range of scholarly inquiry extant in contemporary curriculum research. By progressing through this sequence of courses and investigating the assumptions found within the major paradigms of educational inquiry, exploring the quantitative and qualitative research paradigms, and considering the wide range of research possibilities mobilized in the field of Curriculum Studies, the student gains a complete and comprehensive understanding of advanced research. Electives available in these two areas offer opportunities for in-depth study of any number of curriculum issues, theorists, or reform movements as well as deeper and more detailed investigations into research methodologies. Curriculum is a field of study unique to the twentieth and twenty-first centuries in this country and internationally. Bringing together a variety of subject disciplines, curriculum studies encompasses a broad range of considerations from the purely theoretical to the pragmatic questions of design and evaluation. The study of curriculum embodies both content (what is learned) and instruction (how it is learned). These are interrelated subsystems of a larger system called education. The focus is on understanding curriculum. The broader aim of curriculum study is to influence favorably the children and youth of society who must be inducted into the complex and intertwined social fabric. Because the social structures into which they are thrust change rapidly, children and youth must be empowered to make both reactive and proactive adjustments to their social worlds. To do so requires both an understanding of the past and present, and a vision of a better future.

In order to accomplish this it is important that the program maintain an inherent flexibility. It is a relatively simple matter to design a programmatic scope and sequence that provides this characteristic. What must also be present, is theoretical affability. In this sense, it is antithetical to a pragmatic agenda to engage in exclusionary theory. The program must tap into the various strengths of heretofore competing conceptual frameworks for the study of curriculum. For example, it is possible for aspects of two divergent positions, such as those articulated by Ralph W. Tyler and William E. Doll, to be appropriated and mobilized toward different ends.

According to Tyler, four fundamental questions need to be addressed while planning, developing, implementing, and evaluating curriculum and instruction. These same four questions will be considered as students explore and examine a knowledge base in the Doctoral Program at Georgia Southern University.

  • What educational purposes should schools seek to attain?
  • What educational experiences can be provided that are likely to attain these purposes?
  • How can these educational experiences be effectively organized?
  • How can we determine whether the purposes stated above are being attained?

In all aspects of the program, students will be expected to comprehend, analyze, and synthesize accepted wisdom and current research involving the ideological, technical, and operational issues of curriculum.

Doll argues that Tyler’s four questions might actually function to limit the way in which we approach curriculum conceptualization by binding us within the boundaries of goals and objectives, and he suggests that we think beyond the generalized context of the Tyler Rationale. Essentially he argues that contemporary approaches to curriculum must move beyond structural-functional limitations and he proposes an extension of curriculum thought beyond the predefined, bounded, and inferential world of the four questions. As such, he argues that curriculum might also be indeterminate, and both grounded and generated in the local setting.

There is the need, therefore, for a recognition that any curriculum contains within it multiple depths of meanings when we engage its diverse possibilities and interpretations. In this sense curriculum should not be seen as the unimpeachable authority for knowledge but rather as selected sets of knowledge which should lead one to further exploration and questioning. Therefore, the curriculum should be viewed as a voice of facilitation rather than the master narrative of transcendent truth. With this in mind, the Doctoral Program in Curriculum Studies offers a program which is simultaneously focused on curricular issues and knowledge about curriculum, and flexible through the inclusion of extensive elective study in all components of the program.

Program History

Since the Ed. D. Program in Curriculum Studies began in 1995, approximately 120 students have earned doctoral degrees. Many students have published their research in book, chapter, or article form.  We are proud of providing to the citizens of Southeast Georgia as well as nation-wide an opportunity to ignite students’ intellectual curiosity with a rigorous doctoral program.  The following is a history of the program:This program had its genesis in 1989 with the production of the first draft for a program in Curriculum and Instruction, authored by the chair of the Department of Educational Foundations and Curriculum, Georgia Southern College.  For the next two years, institutional attention was directed toward more pressing demands of staffing, course development, and meeting the needs of rapidly increasing enrollment in the core courses offered within the department.  During AY 1992-1993, formal work was initiated with a select group of scholars meeting to conceptualize and develop the curriculum core and the constituent emphasis areas.   This preliminary proposal went before the College of Education Curriculum Committee and was passed on April 26, 1993.  The proposal then went before the Interim Graduate Council and was passed on May 25, 1993 without revisions.  The proposal was forwarded to the Office of the Board of Regents in Atlanta in May 1993, where it remained until action was taken in the summer of 1994. On June 11, 1994, a letter of invitation to submit a formal proposal was received by the President of the University from the Acting Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs of the University System of Georgia.  In August of 1994 the Dean of the College of Education convened a meeting with those parties directly involved with the formal proposal, setting goals and deadlines for the following academic quarter.  In October 1994 it was determined that the proposal was sufficiently developed to retain two outside critic/consultants.  Dr. Thomas A. Barone (Arizona State University) and Dr. Jesse H. Goodman (Indiana University) were engaged for this purpose. The formal proposal was approved by the faculty of the Department of Curriculum, Foundations, and Research on November 18, 1994 and forwarded to the College of Education Curriculum Committee for meetings on December 7, 1994 and January 4, 1995.  At that time the proposal was approved and forwarded to the Dean of the College of Education.  The proposal then went before the Interim Graduate Council where, on February 17, 1995, it was unanimously approved and forwarded to the Board of Regents of the State of Georgia.  The Board of Regents unanimously voted approval of the Doctoral Program in Curriculum Studies on June 14, 1995, nearly six years after the initial drafting of the program in the summer of 1989.The change to semesters by the University System of Georgia presented an opportunity to review this program after its first full year of operation.  Members of the Program Committee, drawing from personal insights and information drawn from other faculty and students, spent several months considering how the program might be improved.  These discussions led to the revisions in two areas that were considered deficient in the program: depth and flexibility.

With the recognition of a major need in education to develop the knowledge and skills for school change and to become engaged in the scholarship of teaching, a committee was established in Spring 2007 to develop a new strand in the doctoral program. Appropriate revisions were also made to the emphasis areas/concentrations.

We believe the steps we have taken over the years have resulted in a better program that offers flexibility to the student.  We hope you will agree.

Program Format Overview

Most of our students are working professionals in the field of education. Therefore, our program is designed to facilitate their needs. The Ed.D. in Curriculum Studies is offered in the format that consists of online courses with some required face-to-face meetings. These face-to-face meetings are held on the Georgia Southern University campus in Statesboro on the weekends during fall and spring semesters; meeting dates during the summer may be on the weekend or during the week. Most core courses require three or four weekend meetings on Saturdays, although some courses may occasionally require a Sunday meeting. Note: Instructors of core courses work together to coordinate meeting dates so that students satisfy the meeting requirements for two courses on the same weekend.  Attendance at on-campus sessions is mandatory. Failure to attend these face-to-face meetings will result in failure or withdrawal from the course. Meeting dates are published well in advance in the online schedule of courses. The program admits students only once per year, during the summer semester. Upon enrollment, students are encouraged to follow the recommended course sequence posted on the course website. We have organized the course sequence to follow logically and to build a knowledge base in early courses which can be built upon in later courses.

Student Learning Outcomes

The Ed.D. in Curriculum Studies is designed to promote four learning outcomes for all program candidates. These four student learning outcomes (SLO) are directly related to six program key assessments (i.e., core coursework, strand coursework, written candidacy exam, prospectus, dissertation, and professional dispositions) and are listed below.


SLO#1: Candidates in the Ed. D. program in Curriculum Studies will demonstrate an understanding of various theoretical traditions which includes:

  1. Comprehensive knowledge of contemporary research in Curriculum Studies.
  2. Understanding historical, international, and theoretical traditions and emerging complexities of Curriculum Studies.
  3. Projecting future theoretical possibilities and movements within the field of Curriculum Studies and allied interdisciplinary fields of knowledge.

SLO#2: Candidates in the Ed. D. program in Curriculum Studies will demonstrate a mastery of written performance which includes:

  1. Creating quality narration that is grammatically correct, unique, and reflective.
  2. Analyzing and synthesizing literature reviews, theoretical perspectives, and research traditions within Curriculum Studies and allied interdisciplinary fields of knowledge.
  3. Communicating complex ideas and theories to various audiences and advancing the field of Curriculum Studies.

SLO#3: Candidates in the Ed. D. program in Curriculum Studies will demonstrate an understanding of forms of inquiry in Curriculum Studies. This understanding includes:

  1. Analysis of diverse forms of curriculum inquiry.
  2. Engagement with using diverse forms of curriculum inquiry.
  3. Description of inquiry traditions in curriculum studies.

SLO#4: Candidates in the Ed. D. program in Curriculum Studies will demonstrate an ability to connect theory with practice which includes:

  1. Implementation of theories developed during coursework and the dissertation process to school and community practices and concerns.
  2. Knowledge of that exists in political, economic, and social contexts.
  3. Integration of emerging social justice concerns and forms of inquiry.

Last updated: 2/3/2021