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Doctoral Programs

Curriculum, Instruction, & the Science of Learning, PhD

The Curriculum, Instruction, and the Science of Learning (CISL) is a multidisciplinary doctoral degree program that focuses on addressing practical educational problems through research in diverse contexts for learning and teaching.

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While educational programs in Curriculum and Instruction are common, our program stands out by emphasizing the Science of Learning, a 21st century approach to developing evidenced-based practice through design research. In design research, we implement innovative practice/curriculum, study the effects, and improve the implementation for further study. The field emerged out of new technological innovations but has expanded to include diverse interdisciplinary formations to create educational solutions.

In the CISL program you can:

  • Create a custom program to meet your particular research and career interests in the following areas:  Math Education, English Education, and General CISL.
  • Participate in cutting-edge research and position yourself at the forefront of educational innovations to solve educational problems by working with faculty experts across formal disciplines.
  • Help investigate complex problems across different fields.
  • Teach and conduct research at the intersection of multiple disciplines.

Work in multidisciplinary research clusters such as:

  • Arts Integration
  • Early Learning
  • Educational Informatics
  • Educational Technologies
  • Integrated STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Education
  • New and Multimodal Literacies
  • Product Design
  • Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) Education
  • Spatial Literacy
  • Social Learning and Culture
  • Real and Virtual Learning Spaces
  • Situated and Embodied Cognition

Program Options

The CISL program can be completed fully online, on campus, or a combination of both.  

The following program options are offered both online and on campus

  • CISL General (no concentration)
  • English Education concentration
  • Math Education concentration

The following program options are offered on campus only

  • Elementary Education concentration
  • Reading (Literacy) concentration
  • Science Education concentration

Application Requirements

Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and must submit:

  • An online application.
  • A $50 non-refundable application fee, submitted electronically through UB's ePayment system.
  • Undergraduate and graduate transcripts from all post secondary institutions attended other than UB. 
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Miller Analogies Test (MAT) scores (scores must be from within the past five years).
  • Statement of career goals and objectives.
  • Resume or curriculum vitae.
  • Two academic or professional references.
  • Admission interview.
  • Sample of academic writing (e.g., master's thesis, professional publication).

Former/Maiden Name: The Graduate School of Education must be made aware if applicants have ever changed their name.  If this is the case, be sure to ask the institution sending your transcripts to indicate your current name and any former or maiden names.

Students will be accepted into the program in either the fall or spring semester. Students are admitted on a rolling basis.

Supporting Documentation

All supporting documents must be uploaded and attached to your online application. This includes unofficial copies of your transcripts and any other documents required for review.


Recommendation Letters:

You will be asked to provide contact information about each individual providing a recommendation. Please note that your recommenders will receive the electronic request to provide a recommendation letter only after you "formally submit" the application.

Program Requirements

Students enrolled in the CISL Program are expected to have specific prerequisite technology skills. It is further expected that, if needed, early requisite skills will be developed individually. These skills are required for completion of assignments and are not covered in program courses. It is your responsibility to gain proficiency to successfully complete course objectives and assignments.

24 credit hours in multidisciplinary concentration
28 credit hours in research
10 credit hours in dissertation
62 doctoral credit hours
10 relevant credit hours from master’s degree
72 total credit hours

What is the Time Commitment?

Online courses traditionally require a minimum of 9 to 12 hours of dedicated study outside of participation in the virtual classroom, so it is important that you take into consideration other personal and professional commitments as you pursue your coursework.


Learn More

The Curriculum, Instruction, and the Science of Learning (CISL) is a doctoral degree program in the Department of Learning and Instruction, in the Graduate School of Education, at the University at Buffalo.

University Computing Standards

All students are required to have access to an adequately equipped computer that meets the University computing standards as well as daily access to a reliable broadband  connection (i.e., DSL or cable). Students are also expected to have basic computer competency before beginning their course work.