Curriculum, Instruction and the Science of Learning, PhD

Our doctoral program in curriculum, instruction and the science of learning is a multidisciplinary program that focuses on addressing practical educational problems through research in diverse contexts for learning and teaching. You can create your own customized program to meet your research and career interests in one of these five concentrations — elementary education, English education, literacy and reading education, mathematics education and science education — or in the general track that allows for an innovative interdisciplinary focus.

Registration Information

We are in the process of reviewing and enhancing this program to further meet the needs of our students.

We are currently only accepting applications for full-time, on-campus students for the fall 2020 semester.

On this page:

Why Curriculum, Instruction and the Science of Learning at UB?

While educational programs in curriculum and instruction are common, this program stands out by emphasizing the science of learning — a 21st-century approach to developing evidenced-based practice through design research.

Whether you choose to take this program on campus or online, at UB you can:

  • Customize the program to meet your particular research and career interests, or follow the general track for an an innovative interdisciplinary focus; if you customize the program, you can choose from these five concentrations:
         - Elementary education
         - English education
         - Literacy and reading education
         - Mathematics education
         - Science education
  • Investigate and solve complex educational problems involving multiple disciplines
  • Participate in cutting-edge research
  • Work directly with faculty experts at the forefront of educational innovations

Program Overview

Academic credential granted Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Credits required for completion 62 doctoral credits and 10 master's credits  transferred from graduate work totalling 72 credit hours
Time to completion 4 to 5+ years
Course delivery On campus
Optional concentrations
  • elementary education
  • English education
  • literacy and reading education
  • math education
  • science education
  • corporate trainer
  • curriculum specialist
  • educational consultant
  • educational program officer
  • evaluation and assessment specialist
  • faculty member in colleges and universities
  • instructional coordinator
  • instructor
  • online program coordinator
  • research specialist
Internship/Student teaching hours Optional teaching and research experiences
Application deadline Fall: Jan. 1

Multidisciplinary Foci

  • Arts Integration
  • Early Learning
  • Educational Informatics
  • Educational Technologies
  • Learning Sciences
  • New and Multimodal Literacies
  • Real and Virtual Learning Spaces
  • STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) Education
  • STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Integration
  • Situated and Embodied Cognition
  • Social Learning and Culture
  • Spatial Literacy

Program Coursework

Your program of study requires 72 credit hours:

  • Multidisciplinary concentration — 24 credit hours (includes required course: LAI 615 Seminar in Curriculum, Instruction and the Science of Learning)
  • Research — 28 credit hours
  • Dissertation — 10 credit hours
  • Relevant master's degree courses — 10 credit hours
What is the Time Commitment?

An on campus 3 credit course traditionally requires approximately 9 hours per week of dedicated study outside the classroom. An online 3 credit course requires a approximately 12 hours of dedicated study outside of participation in the virtual classroom. It is important that you take into consideration other personal and professional commitments as you pursue your coursework.

Application Requirements

Master's Degree

If you do not already hold a master's degree, you will be considered for admission if you have completed an otherwise compelling and highly rigorous undergraduate degree program or a collection of graduate courses not leading to a degree.

Standardized Testing No Longer Required

In an effort to make the application process more equitable, the GRE/MAT is no longer required for admissions consideration for those applying to this program through the fall 2022 semester. If you still plan to take the GRE/MAT exam, you can send your scores through the testing agency, and they will automatically be added to your application; however, they are not required for admission consideration to this program.

Submit your completed online application, which includes:

  • Application fee: A $50 non-refundable application fee, submitted electronically through UB's ePayment system.
  • Contact information for at least two individuals who will each be asked to provide an electronic recommendation letter.
  • Unofficial transcripts from all colleges attended. (UB transcripts are automatically submitted for current UB students and alumni.)
  • Sample of academic writing: A sample of your academic writing (e.g., master's thesis, professional publication).
  • Statement of interest: Statement of your career goals and objectives.
  • Resume

Former/Maiden Name: Please provide us with your former/maiden name if you have one. When requesting transcripts, please ask the sending institution to indicate your current name and former/maiden name.

Admissions Decision: The admissions decision will be communicated to you as soon as review is complete. The decision is based on a number of factors and is the result of a thorough and deliberate process. All decisions are final and cannot be appealed.

International Applicant Additional Requirements
  • Official original proof of your degree
  • A copy of your passport biographical page
  • Official test scores for either the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) or PTE (Pearson Test of English) Academic. Test scores must be dated within two years of submitting your application.
    • TOEFL minimum score is a 250 for a computer based test, 600 for a paper based test and 96 for the Internet based test 
    • IELTS minimum score is 7.0 overall
    • PTE minimum score is 55 overall
  • Financial documentation — International graduate applicants must document their ability to pay for all costs incurred while studying in the U.S.
  • An official bank statement

All financial forms and supporting documentation with required signatures must be uploaded with your application, and must be dated within one year of your intended enrollment date.

Are you an international student and unable to take the IELTS, PTE or TOEFL?

If you are currently unable to take the IELTS, PTE or TOEFL tests because they are canceled due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19), the University at Buffalo will accept the Duolingo English Test (DET) for proof of English proficiency. This test can be taken online, in your own home. More information can be found on the Graduate School’s website.

The TOEFL iBT® Special Home Edition is a safe and convenient option for students who are unable to take the TOEFL iBT test at a test center due to public health concerns.

To facilitate timely processing of the paperwork for the student visa, you must apply before the end of April for fall admission and by October 1 for spring admission. 

Learn More

University Computing Standards

You are required to have daily access to a reliable broadband connection and a computer that meets university computing standards. You are also expected to have basic computer competency before beginning your coursework.