Curriculum and Instruction

Head of the Department: Sarah McCarthey
Director of Graduate Studies: Karla Möller
Graduate Admissions Information: Myranda Crist
311 Education Building
1310 South Sixth Street
Champaign, IL 61820
(217) 244-8286

Major: Curriculum and Instruction
Degrees offered: Ed.M., M.S., M.A., C.A.S., Ph.D., and Ed.D.
Graduate Concentration: Second Language Acquisition and Teacher Education (Ph.D. only), Writing Studies (Ph.D. only)

Major: Early Childhood Education
Degrees offered: Ed.M. with teacher licensure

Major: Elementary Education
Degrees offered: Ed.M. with teacher licensure

Major: Secondary Education
Degrees offered: Ed.M. with teacher licensure
Graduate Concentrations: English, Mathematics, Sciences, Social Studies

Medical Scholars Program: Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Curriculum and Instruction and Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) through the Medical Scholars Program

Graduate Degree Programs

The Department of Curriculum and Instruction offers graduate programs leading to the degrees of Master of Education (Ed.M.), Master of Science (M.S.), Master of Art (M.A.), Certificate of Advanced Study (C.A.S.), Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), and Doctor of Education (Ed.D.). An example of faculty research areas:

  • Aesthetics Education
  • Bilingual/ESL Education
  • Curriculum Studies
  • Early Childhood Education
  • Early Literacy
  • Elementary Education
  • English Education
  • Literature for Children and Adolescents
  • Mathematics Education
  • Multicultural Education
  • Reading Education
  • Science Education
  • Second Language Literacy
  • Secondary Education
  • Social Studies Education
  • Teacher Education
  • Technology Studies
  • Writing Education

Graduate students interested in writing can obtain a concentration in Writing Studies at the Ph.D. level.

Through the Master of Education and the Certificate of Advanced Study, experienced teachers are prepared to become more competent and better informed practitioners who serve as leaders for educational reform in local schools and school districts.

Also offered are master's degree programs leading to teacher licensure for individuals who have a degree in a field other than education and wish to become teachers. The three majors leading to licensure are Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, and Secondary Education. In addition to completing the courses required for an Ed.M. degree, students in these programs follow the same sequence of professional education courses as undergraduate students.

Only master’s students wishing to become licensed teachers in one of these three areas should apply to the Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, or Secondary Education majors. Master’s candidates who do not wish to become teachers, or are already teachers, should apply to the major in Curriculum and Instruction.

Two doctoral degree programs are offered. The Ph.D. program prepares degree candidates for careers involving research and scholarship, including those in colleges and universities where research is generally combined with teacher education. The Ed.D. Program prepares scholarly practitioners for leadership positions in teacher training institutions, state education agencies, and public school districts.

Length of time for a degree: an Ed.M. program can be completed in a calendar year, while the M.S. or M.A. often takes longer. The Ed.M. with licensure typically takes two years to complete. Doctoral programs usually require four to five years of full time study.


Interested applicants should start at In addition to the application, the applicant is required to submit the following information: a statement of purpose, updated resume, official transcripts from all colleges attended, and three letters of recommendation. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores must be submitted for all doctoral applicants. A scholarly writing sample in English, such as a master's thesis, article, or paper, is required for application to a doctoral program. Applicants for the master's degree with teacher licensure must submit passing scores on the Illinois Licensure Testing System Test of Academic Proficiency (TAP) or use their ACT/SAT score in lieu of passing the TAP and for secondary education licensure, the appropriate content area examination. Note: The master's with teacher licensure program only admits students for the fall term.

International applicants must submit TOEFL scores. The Department of Curriculum and Instruction's TOEFL requirement for full status admission is greater than 102; the minimum score for limited status is 550 on the paper-based test, 79 on the internet-based test and 213 on the computer-based test. International applicants must also submit a Declaration and Certification of Finances. Please note: TOEFL or IELTS scores must be less than two years old from the first day of class at the proposed term of entry in order to be valid.  In addition, individual academic programs may require a higher score, or evidence of spoken English language proficiency; contact your proposed program of study office for the minimum TOEFL, TSE, or IELTS requirement for admission.  For additional details, refer to the Graduate College Handbook

Degree Requirements

For additional details and requirements refer to the department's Web site, the College of Education Graduate Programs Handbook, and the Graduate College Handbook.

Medical Scholars Program

The Medical Scholars Program permits highly qualified students to integrate the study of medicine with study for a graduate degree in a second discipline, including Curriculum and Instruction. Students may apply to the Medical Scholars Program prior to beginning graduate school or while in the graduate program. Applicants to the Medical Scholars Program must meet the admissions standards for and be accepted into both the doctoral graduate program and the College of Medicine.  Students in the dual degree program must meet the specific requirements for both the medical and graduate degrees. On average, students take eight years to complete both degrees.  Further information on this program is available by contacting the Medical Scholars Program, 125 Medical Sciences Building, (217) 333-8146 or at

Faculty Research Interests

For information about specific faculty research interests, current grants, and publications, please visit the Faculty Research Profiles web site:

Facilities and Resources

Departmental resources consist of cooperation with Children's Research Center, Center for Small Urban Communities, as well as other resources in the College.  Students who are interested in second language acquisition can become a part of the SLATE program. The department is connected to the University of Illinois Writing Project and the following journals: International Journal of Education & the Arts, Journal of Curriculum Studies, and American Educational Research Journal.  The department also has resources for graduate students such as the Language and Literacy Student Organization and other student-initiated groups in Curriculum, Aesthetics, and Teacher Education; and Mathematics, Science, and Technology.

The College of Education also has many resources to assist graduate students through their academic career. The Bureau of Educational Research works with students to secure research funding. The Council on Teacher Education entitles candidates seeking a Professional Educator License and provides accreditation of professional education programs. Each student completing a degree program is assigned a graduate adviser, who is available to assist the student with planning the program of study and determining degree requirements, courses and timelines for degree completion.

Information on University resources can be found at

Financial Aid

Financial aid in the form of assistantships, scholarships, fellowships, and tuition waivers can be found throughout the college and campus. Campus opportunities can be found at the Graduate College and the Office of Student Financial AidPlease note: Graduate students employed as Staff by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are not eligible for a College of Education Award or Scholarship.

Certificate of Advanced Study (C.A.S.), Curriculum and Instruction

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign's College of Education complies with the U.S. Department of Education's Gainful Employment requirements by disclosing information to applicants regarding our Certificate of Advanced Study program. Required information can be found here.

If the student does not have a Master's degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Foundation Courses must be completed as prerequisites:
Psychological Foundations Courses in Educational Psychology
Select one of the following:4
Psyc of Learning in Education
Child Language and Education
Sociocultural Infl on Learning
Adjustment in School Settings
Personality and Soc Dev
Psyc of Classroom Management
Adult Learning and Development
Learning & Hum Dev w/ EdTech
Early Adolescent Development
Assessing Student Performance
Developments in Educ Psyc
Philosophical and Social Foundations Courses in Education Policy, Organization and Leadership
Select one of the following:4
Poli & Cultural Context of Ed
History of American Education
History of Educational Ideas
Asian American Education
European Education to 1600
European Education since 1600
Historical & Social Barriers
Professional Ethics in Education
School and Society
Critical Thinking in Education
Aesthetic Education
Technology & Educational Reform
Sociology of Education
Racial and Ethnic Families
Politics of Education
Economics of Education
Comparative Education
Elective Hours:24-32
General Coursework Required: 16 hours
Research/Project/Independent Study Hours (min/max applied toward degree):0-8
Total Hours32

Other Requirements1

Other requirements may overlap
Enrollment must be preceded by at least two years of acceptable professional work experience.
500-Level Hours Required: 16 hours (Independent Study included)
Minimum GPA: 3.0

Joint M.B.A. Program

Students in this unit may choose to earn their major degree and simultaneously complete an M.B.A., with 12 fewer required hours than when pursuing both degrees independently. Students must be enrolled in the M.B.A. program for three terms and complete all the requirements of their primary degree. Interested students should see the joint program requirements and contact the M.B.A. program and their major department office for more information.