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Foundations of Education

*Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction


Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction

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

Program Overview

Students in Foundations of Education build individualized, interdisciplinary programs of study to help them address pressing issues in education at all levels, both locally and globally.  Foundations of Education students acquire skills and tools from the humanities and social sciences—the philosophy, history, politics, and sociology of education—that enable critique and creative responses to educational challenges.  Our guiding philosophy is rooted in justice, equity, and inclusion.


Why choose this program?

We emphasize applying research and theories to practice and policy. The program’s relatively small size allows for close interaction and collaboration between doctoral students and Virginia Tech's world class faculty.

What You'll Study

Students in the Foundations of Education develop conceptual and research skills from multiple disciplines—history, philosophy, anthropology, political science, sociology, and more—to understand and develop creative responses to the grand challenges of education. Students can be prepared for careers in an array of educational, government, non-profit, and entrepreneurial settings.

Ph.D students take at least 69 hours of post-master’s credits, including up to 30 hours of dissertation research and writing.  Courses in the program include topics like Schooling in American Society, Academic Writing for the Social Sciences, Discourse in Classrooms & Schools, Gender & Education, The Analysis of Educational Concepts, Education & Anthropology, and Ethnographic Methods in Educational Research.

The Ph.D. program primarily seeks to prepare researchers and higher education faculty. Other career paths could include but are not limited to leadership roles at education-focused foundations, faculty positions, journalism or editorial jobs, or policy making for state and national governments and international organizations. 

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.

To enroll in the doctoral program, an applicant must have:

  • An appropriate masters-level degree from an accredited institution

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


There is a discount for in-state K-12 teachers; use this application form in order to receive the reduced costs. Otherwise, as with on-campus students, we refer you to the VT Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid for information on financial assistance. Generally, distance learners may qualify for federal loans if they take 5 or more credit hours per semester.

Find out what loans are available as a graduate student and other opportunities.

Some students in the doctoral program receive financial support including a stipend and tuition. Assignments may be for full or half-time and be with the Program or with other programs in the School or University.

Learn more about other available funding opportunities

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

Marcus Weaver-Hightower
Program Leader
Public Safety Building, Suite 201 (0313)
330 Sterrett Drive
Blacksburg, VA 24061
(540) 231-0894

Nancy Nolen
Enrollment Services Assistant
402 Wallace Hall (0565)


Marcus Weaver-Hightower
Program Leader
Public Safety Building, Suite 201 (0313)
330 Sterrett Drive
Blacksburg, VA 24061
(540) 231-0894

Faculty Experts in Foundations of Education

*Dr. Jim Garrison and Dr. Gresilda (Kris) Tilley-Lubbs are unavailable after Spring 2021.