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Elementary Education

*Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction



The Elementary Education Program faculty offer doctoral degree programs in Curriculum and Instruction. These Ph.D. or Ed.D. programs can include emphasis/specialization in: (a) Elementary Education PK-6, (b) Reading/Literacy, and/or (c) Teacher Education. Students are prepared for teaching and research positions in academic environments such as colleges, universities, and school districts. The Elementary Education Doctoral Programs provide a context for graduate education that is focused on theory, research, practice, innovation, inquiry, and equity.

Our Nationally Recognized Program Faculty include widely published, well-respected authors and researchers.


Virginia Tech offers the Elementary Education Ph.D. and Ed.D. Programs at the Blacksburg campus. The Ph.D. program has a two year residency requirement.


The Elementary Education doctoral programs operate on a cohort model. Members of a given cohort attend many of the same classes in the same sequence and pursue common plans of study.

There are many benefits to the cohort model. It is designed to facilitate social interaction, collaboration, and the formation of a supportive learning community.

Students in cohorts learn from and help each other with the successful completion of coursework and professional networking. They report a strong sense of community and are more likely to complete their programs of study in a timely manner.

an ipad sits atop a pile of books


The Ed.D. and Ph.D. degrees in Curriculum & Instruction with a specialization in Elementary Education are not awarded solely on the basis of coursework completion. To graduate, each student must also conduct an original research study culminating in the presentation and defense of a dissertation. The dissertation demonstrates the student’s ability to investigate a practical issue in elementary education agreed upon by one’s dissertation chair and advisory committee. 

Students may choose to write their dissertations in the traditional five-chapter format (i.e., as a research paper with an introduction, literature review, methodology, results, and conclusion). They may also choose the manuscript option (usually two to three articles ready for publication). Students work with the dissertation chairs and committees to determine the best format for their dissertation depending on their research interest.