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Instructional Design and Technology (Ph.D.)


Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction

Campus: Virginia Tech Blacksburg Campus
Instructions: Residential/On Campus

Program Overview

Instructional Design and Technology (IDT) is a comparatively new field dedicated to applying what is empirically understood about how humans learn and improve upon performance to the design, development, implementation, and evaluation of learning and performance support products, processes, and environments. IDT professionals understand and leverage technologies as both product (such as a Web-based course for distant learners or print-based job-aids for the workplace) and process (such as an iterative and formative approach to learner assessment). Instructional technologists practice their unique, multidisciplinary profession in a variety of settings including industry, preK-12 schools, higher education, and government.


Why choose this program?

Our faculty and staff in the Instructional Design and Technology program have very diverse interests that encompass all aspects of instructional technology and committed to support students as they develop the professional, academic, research, and interpersonal skills required for a successful career of their choice.Our coursework is designed to help students advance their understanding of educational issues, theories, and practice related to Instructional Design and Technology. Our IDT program is affiliated with the Center for Instructional Technology Solutions in Industry and Education that offers excellent research opportunities with a focus on design, development, and evaluation of learning experiences, distance learning, health promotion, preparation of instructional technology professionals, and innovations in technology.

What You'll Study

The Ph.D. degree requires a minimum of 90 credit hours including 15 hours of research coursework and 30 credit hours of dissertation. No more than 6 hours of Post Masters courses may be taken online. The Ph.D requires two years of residency. Resident full-time study for Ph.D. students must be satisfied in two consecutive academic years (excluding summers).

Ph.D. students will study mandatory courses such as  Principles of ID or Designs for Learning, Foundations of Technology Tools, Learning Theories for ID or Theoretical Foundations, Trends in IT, Applied Theories of Learning, Research in IT, Professional Seminar.

Students are encouraged to enroll in one course that address the history, sociology and philosophy of educational institutions or enterprises with which the student's career goals indicate she/he will be associated. This area of the program is intended to insure that each student has studied the general context of education into which the specialized area fits.

Fifteen graduate semester hours in advanced research-related courses by enrolling in Quantitative Sequence or Qualitative Sequence. 

Quantitative Sequence

  • 6 hours of quantitative research courses
  • 3 hours of a qualitative research course
  • EDIT 6654 Research in IT
  • EDIT 6664 Trends in IT

Qualitative Sequence

  • 6 hours of qualitative research courses
  • 3 hours of a quantitative research course
  • EDIT 6654 Research in IT
  • EDIT 6664 Trends in IT

Advanced graduate work in the Concentration Area may include the following EDIT courses: Formal coursework, Seminars, Independent studies, Clinical studies, Internship, Externship and/or Field studies.

Each Ph.D. student is expected to complete a minimum of 3 credit hours of coursework in a cognate outside of the Instructional Design and Technology program area. Cognate courses should be related to and supportive of the student's area of studies.

Ph.D. students enroll in 30 credit hours of Research and Dissertation.

Suggested activities for dissertation hours are as follows:

  1. 1st semester, 2 credit hours, directed readings (see reading list)
  2. 2nd semester, 3 credit hours, prepare for pre-prelim planning meeting
  3. 3rd semester, 3 credit hours, prepare for pre-prospectus planning meeting
  4. 4th semester, 3 credit hours, prospectus
  5. 5th semester, 9 credit hours, conduct research
  6. 6th semester and beyond, dissertation research and writing

Graduates of our doctoral program typically assume dynamic roles as faculty in higher education, advancing research in the field and preparing the next generation of instructional technologists for the profession.

This degree program is offered at the Blacksburg campus. The Blacksburg campus offers students the full services of the university, including an extensive library, technology support, and the Graduate Life Center. 

  • Master's degree
  • A Quality Credit Average (QCA) of at least 3.3 (on a 4.0 = A scale) on all previous graduate work
  • Evidence of strong academic potential and professional experience
  • Acceptable GRE (Graduate Record Exam) scores
  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) scores must meet Graduate School requirements for international students who did not receive a previous degree from an American, Canadian or British university.

Visit this page for more information on how to apply, including requirements, deadlines, and what you'll need in detail.

A question on the application for graduate admission asks whether you want to be considered for an assistantship. Check yes. Please note that Indicating that you wish to be considered for an assistantship does not mean that you will be offered one, only that you wish to be considered for one, if available.

Learn more about other available funding opportunities

Domestic Application
Spring: January 1
Summer I & II: May 1
Fall:  August 1
International Application
Spring: September 1
Summer I & II: January 1
Fall: April 1
Deadline for early decision admission with full funding consideration for Fall: January 15.


Ken Potter
Program Leader
144J Smyth Hall

Nancy Nolen
Enrollment Services Assistant
402 Wallace Hall (0565)


Ken Potter
Program Leader
144J Smyth Hall

Nancy Nolen
Enrollment Service Assistant
402 Wallace Hall (0565)
Blacksburg, VA 24061
(540) 231-5348

Faculty Experts in Instructional Design and Technology

Emeritus Faculty Members

John K. Burton, Professor Emeritus of Education.
Michael Moore, Professor Emeritus of Education.