The Curriculum Studies Education Doctoral Program encourages educators to reflect on and strengthen their own practice and to challenge themselves and their colleagues to work effectively for social justice and educational excellence. Students use critical reflection to improve practice, engage in rigorous theoretical inquiry, and identify, address, and build coalitions around opportunities and problems in education.

Curriculum decision-making is a theoretically informed, practical, and dialogic activity. We encourage educators to seek the most defensible course of action in specific circumstances; this requires a thorough understanding of the sociocultural and political context and the analytical ability to think critically about broader purposes and consequences. We consider educators to be teachers not only in the classroom, but also in a variety of settings where they interact (including in higher education, community organizations, etc.). Educational environments, especially those in urban settings, are complex; creating viable options within them requires a rich knowledge base and the ability to think conceptually. Our program provides educators with a variety of theoretical perspectives to use in analyzing educational phenomena.

Graduates of the program may enter a new career or strengthen their current position in schools, universities or community organizations. They may assume faculty positions in higher education, take leadership positions in local and state education agencies, assume curriculum positions in school or community learning environments, or become leaders in educational policy.

Licensures and Endorsements

Superintendent Endorsement Option

Students pursuing a doctoral degree in Curriculum Studies are also eligible for the Superintendent Endorsement program, which requires additional coursework, along with four quarter hours for the superintendent internship course. ISBE states the following guidelines:

Individuals seeking the Superintendent endorsement must possess:

  • a Master’s degree with a GPA of 3.0 or better on a 4.0 scale
  • proof of two years of teaching experience on a valid Illinois teaching license
  • proof of two years of full-time administrative experience on a valid administrative license with the general administrative endorsement
  • proof of passing the Basic Skills/TAP and Superintendent content-area tests.

Upon completion of the Superintendent program and the endorsement’s additional requirements, students must apply for the endorsement. Students are to work with the College of Education’s Licensure Officer when applying for the endorsement.

Teacher Leader Endorsement Option

To be eligible for the Teacher Leader endorsement program, students must possess:

  • a bachelor’s degree and master's degree from an accredited college or university,
  • a valid teaching license
  • at least two years of teaching experience
  • proof of passing the Basic Skills or Test of Academic Proficiency.

Principal Licensure

The Principal Licensure program at DePaul University is an approved Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) program.  It is a rigorous program preparing principals and assistant principals for work service in public and private schools in the state of Illinois.

To be eligible for the Principal Licensure program, students possess:

  • a master’s degree from an accredited college or university with a GPA of 2.75 or higher at the undergraduate level and a 3.25 or higher at the graduate level.
  • a valid Illinois teaching license
  • at least two years of full-time successful teaching experience
  • proof of passing the basic skills or test of academic proficiency.


  • Curriculum Studies (degree only)
  • Curriculum Studies plus Superintendent Endorsement
  • Curriculum Studies plus Teacher Leader Endorsement
  • Curriculum Studies plus Principal Licensure
Degree Requirements 76 hours
   Total hours required    76 hours