Salisbury University

Name of CPED-Influenced Program: Doctor of Education in Contemporary Curriculum Theory & Instruction: Literacy

Key Contact Person:
Dr. Judith K. Franzak, Director



Program Description: 

The EdD program in Contemporary Curriculum Theory and Instruction: Literacy provides students with a strong core in theory, research and practice in literacy with the aim of cultivating leaders as change agents who are prepared to cultivate culturally-responsive, effective literacy learning across diverse contexts. We are producing the next generation of scholarly practitioners who will advance knowledge of the field to address educational challenges while sustaining the integrity and vitality of the discipline. Our graduates become stewards of the discipline -- scholarly practitioners who are equipped with the skills needed to develop innovations, inspire change and assess the impact of literacy instruction in a broad range of educational contexts.  Our program is designed for working professionals.  What this means for students is not only flexible scheduling with online and hybrid classes, but also that the professional background our students bring is seen as integral to their education.

Stage in Redesign Process: Implementation
Program Milestones: 

The Comprehensive Exam: End of Course Work Milestone

Upon completion of all required coursework or in the final semester of required coursework, EdD students will take the comprehensive exam.  Successful performance on the exam advances a student to candidacy.  An important function of the milestone or comprehensive exam is supporting the student in transition from dependence to independence as a scholar. The comprehensive exam offers the EdD student the opportunity to synthesize learning and convey knowledge as the student narrows the focus of interest. 

Two options are available for completing the comprehensive exam. In consultation with their committee, students will select either

Option A: Preparation of article for submission to peer-reviewed journal followed by an oral presentation to the committee in which the student elaborates on the article and addresses questions posed by committee members.


Option B: Completion of a take-home exam in which the student answers questions prepared by their committee followed by an oral session in which the student answers clarifying questions posed by committee members.

An important consideration in the selection of which option an EdD student pursues is the student’s professional goals.
Program Link:

Graduate Competencies:

Graduates of the education doctorate program will advocate for the educational community as professionals who:

  • Possess a comprehensive and evolving knowledge of literacy;
  • Identify, contextualize, and propose solutions for problems of practice;
  • Articulate a vision for teaching and learning predicated on national research trends and tailored to address regional and local needs;
  • Improve the quality of services within an education setting through applied research and evaluation of local, state, and national curriculum policies and practices;
  • Apply dynamic teaching for the renewal and improvement of schools, school systems, and institutions of higher education;
  • Envision themselves as transformational leaders who can collaboratively design and implement solutions to problems of literacy practice in school.

The EdD dissertation is a culminating experience that provides doctoral students with opportunities to apply their critical thinking and research skills as educational leaders to some of the most complex literacy problems and issues in contemporary educational contexts.

The doctoral journey consists of three primary components: (1) the coursework, (2) program milestones, and (3) the dissertation. The doctoral candidate completes the coursework to develop and to further hone his or her critical thinking, writing skills, and knowledge. The program milestones require the doctoral candidate to draw upon knowledge and skills developed during the coursework and individual study. The purpose is to assess and evaluate the doctoral candidate’s readiness to advance through the program.

The dissertation is the capstone achievement in doctoral education. The EdD dissertation is expected both to make a contribution to the body of knowledge in literacy studies through addressing a problem(s) of practice in educational settings. In the dissertation, the EdD candidate demonstrates an in-depth understanding of the existing published literature and applies research skills to conduct an original, high-quality study in order to advance the field and profession.


Admission Requirements: 

Admission to the program at SU requires submission of the following application documents by the stated deadline.  Applicants must meet all requirements specified by the Department of Education Specialties and Teacher Education. Preference will be given to applicants who have a minimum of three years professional teaching experience.

  1. Complete Salisbury University application for doctoral program admission.
    1. The application includes a statement of purpose.
    2. The application includes a resume.
    3. The application includes three professional references from individuals who can speak to the applicant’s likely success in doctoral study.
  1. Submit to Salisbury University official academic transcripts from all colleges and universities attended. Applicants must have completed a master’s degree from a nationally-accredited university with a focus area in education or closely related field.
    1. A graduate-level grade point average of at least a 3.5 is required for admission to the program.
  1. Complete a Residency/Domicile Information Form (if applying for in-state tuition).
  1. Submit official GRE scores.

The application is available here: Application deadline is February 28.

Application materials must be submitted to the Office of Graduate Studies and Research:

Graduate Studies & Research
Attn: Ed.D. Program
Holloway Hall 262
Salisbury University
Salisbury, MD 21801

General Information:
  • Average number of students admitted into the EdD program each year: 15
  • Types of employment students hold upon entering the program: K-12 Teacher,K-12 Administrator,Curriculum Specialist, Higher Education Faculty, Student Support Services, 
  • Student:Faculty Ratio (Courses): 1:15
  • Student: Faculty Ratio (Advising): 1:15
  • Typical masters degrees held by students upon entering the program: Curriculum & Instruction, Literacy, English, Master of Arts in Teaching, Educational Leadership
  • Length of Program: 4-5 years
    Average number of students enrolled in each cohort: 15
  • Financial aid available to students: 

Financial Aid: Doctoral students who enroll in at least 5 credits per semester may be eligible for federal loans. Please contact the Financial Aid Office at 410-543-6165 for more information. 

Assistantships: A limited number of graduate assistantships are available.  The assistantship offers $5000 per semester plus tuition reimbursement in exchange for 20 hours of work per week.

Fellowship Opportunities: A limited number of doctoral fellowships are available.  The awards, provided through the generous support of Salisbury University alumni and other donors, are renewable for up to three years.