Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction


The Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Program in Curriculum and Instructional Leadership (CIL) is a doctoral program administered through the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Graduate Studies. The IPHD degree program in Curriculum and Instruction is designed to prepare professionals who create lifelong opportunities through education for America’s diverse communities. The program prepares students with diverse academic and professional backgrounds to meet equally diverse career and scholarly goals. A student seeking admission into the IPHD degree program in curriculum and instruction must select a primary discipline as the student’s major concentration and curricular course experiences are focused in Curriculum and Instruction or a co-discipline in which curriculum and instruction is a minor area. For the primary discipline, the student will choose among participating disciplines, a co-discipline to complement the student’s program. Participating disciplines can be found in the School of Education, College of Arts and Sciences, or in a professional field such as criminology, computer science, Conservatory, and law. (Also, see the website of the School of Graduate Studies for other participating disciplines— Candidates typically have prior academic training and experience in education. Faculty advisors are specialists in their field, whether it be general curriculum and instruction, literacy/reading education, special education, mathematics education, science education, social studies education, multicultural education, special education, early childhood education, TESOL, instructional technology, among other areas.


The IPHD in Curriculum & Instruction has an annual fall admission policy. Applications are due on or before February 15 of the year of admission. Admission decisions are made between March and April following the review of applications. Applicants are encouraged to review the list of participating doctoral faculty and their areas of expertise. Applicants are encouraged to contact a faculty in their area of emphasis (general curriculum, literacy/reading, science, social studies, multicultural education, special education, early childhood education, mathematics, TESOL, etc.) for introduction and information). Also, applicants are encouraged to contact faculty in the co-discipline area for further information.


Applicants who designate curriculum and instruction as their primary discipline will be expected to have a Master’s degree; and a GPA of at least 3.5 on a 4.0 scale, covering all post-baccalaureate work completed to date.


The applicant must provide the following supplementary documentation:

  1. Three written recommendation letters from appropriate professors and practitioners in the field (selected by student).
  2. A narrative stating educational background, career experiences, research interest, future goals, and reasons for choosing curriculum and instruction as your primary discipline. In addition, identify your co-discipline and articulate how it complements the primary discipline in curriculum and instruction.
  3. GRE score requirement of a combined minimum score of 295 on the verbal and quantitative section and 4.00 on the analytic writing section
  4. Sample research or scholarly writing


Who Benefits from the Program?

The doctoral program prepares individuals to serve in a number of educational settings and in a wide variety of capacities. Graduates do secure positions as instructional leaders and curriculum supervisors in public schools and school districts, curriculum and instructional programmers and developers, researchers, trainers in businesses and industries, and as university faculty teaching undergraduate and graduate students and undertaking cutting-edge research.


As part of the general UMKC Interdisciplinary Ph.D. program, students in the Curriculum and Instructional Leadership program have opportunities to develop interdisciplinary knowledge, skills for interdisciplinary scholarship and research and competencies for working within a collaborative environment. Generally, a minimum of 24 hours in curriculum and instruction is required of students with curriculum and instruction as their primary discipline and a minimum of 15 hours in curriculum and instruction is expected of students selecting curriculum and instruction as their co-discipline. Specifically, all students admitted with curriculum and instruction as primary discipline are required to complete 9 hours of non-negotiable core courses (EDUC-C&I 5618 or EDUC-C&I 5620, EDUC-C&I 5626 and technology course—EDCI 5570 or 5571) and a minimum of 15 credit hours of electives. All students with curriculum and instruction as a co-discipline are required to complete 15 hours of non-negotiable core courses (EDUC-C&I 5505, 5506, 5618 or EDUC-C&I 5620, EDUC-C&I 5626 and 3 hours of technology—EDCI 5570 or 5571). All students with curriculum and instruction as primary discipline are required to complete a minimum of 12 hours of research that includes EDUC-R&P 5608 (Introduction to Graduate Research) and at least one course each in qualitative/quantitative research methods and statistics and a minimum of 12 hours of dissertation. In no case will a program be drawn up or approved that contains only coursework previously completed. Additional requirements may be set by the student’s doctoral supervisory committee on the basis of the individual’s program goals, previous academic preparation and relevant prior experiences.


Requirements for Comprehensive Examinations

Written and oral examinations are required.

Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Admissions Procedure

All applicants are encouraged to review the requirements for the Primary and Co-discipline(s) by visiting the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. website. It is recommended that applicants talk to the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Discipline Coordinators in their areas of interest BEFORE applying to the program. Discipline Coordinators offer valuable program, academic and application information.

Please read through all steps below before beginning your application!

Step One (UMKC Web Application):

Complete the UMKC Web Application. Select “Applying to the School of Graduate Studies” and then select “Interdisciplinary Doctorate of Philosophy”. Once you are logged in to the web application system, please be sure to select “Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Studies” as the intended major and then also indicate your preferred primary discipline and co-discipline(s). A list of Participating Disciplines is available on the School of Graduate Studies website.

Step Two (Supplementary Application Materials):

Once the UMKC web application is complete, you will receive an email within 24 to 48 hours inviting you to log in to the Supplementary Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Application site. You will use your UMKC web application Username and Password to log in. Additional supplemental materials for Interdisciplinary Ph.D. applicants must be uploaded as .PDFs in the Supplementary Application site. Once the requirements (shown below) are completed, you change your Application Status from “In Process” to “Complete” in the Supplementary Application site so that your application can be reviewed by the disciplines:

  • Narrative statement / Statement of intent
  • Resume / Vita
  • Three letters of recommendation (The applicant provides referee contact information in the Supplementary Application site. The referee receives an email invitation to upload the reference letter into the site.)
  • Writing sample (not required of all disciplines, check applicable discipline requirements at IPhD Studies) Please note: the narrative statement is NOT the same as the writing sample.

Official transcripts should be sent directly to the UMKC Admissions Offices. Please check with the Admissions Office (domestic applicants) or the International Student Affairs Office (ISAO – international applicants) regarding the receipt of your official transcript(s). Your application cannot be reviewed until official transcripts have been received.

Test scores should be sent directly to UMKC from ETS-Institution code: 6872

If you have questions regarding the application process, please contact the School of Graduate Studies at 816-235-1301 or

Additional Information

1. The deadlines for applications to the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. program vary by discipline. All application materials must be uploaded into the Supplementary Application site, and test scores and official transcripts must be received in Admission Offices by the earliest discipline deadline. (For example, if one discipline’s deadline is February 1st and the other March 15th, then application materials must be received by the February 1st deadline.)

2. Applicants can expect admission decisions approximately two to four weeks after the latest deadline. (For example, if one discipline deadline is February 1st and the other March 15th, an admission decision should be received, approximately, by March 31st to April 15th.

3. Applicants will be notified of admission decisions by mail. Newly admitted international applicants will receive necessary admission documentation by courier service from the International Student Affairs Office.

4. Admission decisions cannot be provided over the telephone.

 Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Admissions Requirements

Applicants must meet both the general and the discipline-specific criteria for admission and be approved for full or provisional admission by the doctoral faculty review groups in at least two disciplines (primary and co-discipline). Upon approval by the graduate Dean, students are admitted to the School of Graduate Studies.

The general criteria for admission for Interdisciplinary Ph.D. program study are as follows:

• Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores.

• TOEFL or IELTS scores (International applicants)

  • A grade-point average of at least 2.75 (on a 4.0 scale) covering all college work taken prior to the bachelor’s degree, or a grade-point average of at least 3.0 covering all post-baccalaureate work completed to date.

• Three letters of recommendation speaking to the applicant’s ability to complete doctoral-level work.

• Official transcripts from all post-secondary schools attended.

Review the current Catalog’s discipline information