College of Education and Human Development

Department of Curriculum and Instruction

Culture and teaching PhD

This is a politically committed program dedicated to critical issues related to equity, democracy, and social justice in education. Students engage in a variety of perspectives and methods in their study of education and schooling across broad social, cultural, and political contexts. Graduates are poised to assume faculty positions in higher education as well as leadership roles in local, national, and international organizations.

Quote from Diana Chandara

I could not have asked for professors who are more supportive of me not only as an academic but also as a human being. I am completely grateful for the generosity of their time and energy.

Diana Chandara PhD 2021

Coursework

PhD curriculum

Our curriculum requires students to consider the power and privilege that shape disparate opportunities in education by race, class, and gender.

Teaching in this program includes thinking about how, as educational leaders and researchers in and outside of the classroom, we might take up radical democratic forms of life with our fellow learners.

Students enrolled in other tracks within the Department of Curriculum and Instruction may also choose to pursue a supporting program in Culture and teaching.

You will complete 15 credits in your track and 12 credits outside your track if pursuing a minor or supporting program. The program requires 51 course credits and 24 thesis credits for a total of 78 credits. See the detailed requirements and course listings in the graduate catalog, select 'Requirements', scroll down to 'Program Sub-Plan Requirements', scroll down to 'culture and teaching.'

Research opportunities

Students can engage in research that ties into their area of interest. Faculty work closely with each cohort to achieve research and educational goals. Learn more about the student research experience in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

Career outlook

Our graduate are trained to be leaders in the field of education, advancing our shared mission of educational equity. Recent graduates have found employment in the following positions:

  • Assistant Professor of Education at Macalester
  • Rhodes College, Assistant Professor of Education Memphis TN
  • SUNY New Platt, Assistant Professor of Educational Foundations
  • Program Director of Elementary Education, University of Minnesota
  • School District Administrator. St. Paul Public Schools

    Nina Asher Nina Asher

    In the mid-1980s, armed with my master’s degree in social work (from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Bombay, India), I began working as a research assistant on intervention projects focused on improving the educational achievement levels…

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    Nina Asher

    Vichet Chhuon Vichet Chhuon

    My research has broadly focused on the experiences of immigrant youth and students of color to understand how school institutions might better help them realize their promise.

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    Vichet Chhuon

    Colleen Clements Colleen Clements

    Santa Barbara Independent Innovation in Theatre Award ICQI, International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry NWSA, National Women’s Studies Association AERA, American Educational Research Association, Division G – Social Context of Education SIG -…

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    colleen clements

    Justin Grinage Justin Grinage

    The focus of my research centers on analyzing processes of racialization in school and classroom spaces through several areas of inquiry including critical whiteness studies, Black education, neoliberal multiculturalism, and critical literacy.

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    Justin Grinage

    Mary Hermes Mary Hermes

    Mary Hermes' research focuses on language revitalization and how it can connect people to the land and the planet. She explores different ways of knowing and being through feminist and indigenous lenses.

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    Mary Hermes

    Timothy Lensmire Timothy Lensmire

    Teaching and learning writing as a democracy My past research focused on the teaching of writing in schools and how this teaching might better serve democratic ends.

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    Timothy Lensmire

    Bic Ngo Bic Ngo

    • Professor, Rodney S. Wallace Professor for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning
    • 612-625-7520
    • bcngo@umn.edu

    My research and teaching interests focus on culturally relevant pedagogy, urban and multicultural education in general, and immigrant education in particular.

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    Bic Ngo
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    How to apply

      Application deadline and instructions

      Priority deadline: December 1 for admission to the fall of the following year
      Admissions decisions: January

      Applications submitted after this date are considered on a case-by-case basis and may not be reviewed until the following year. Faculty review applications in mid-late December, and the Graduate School will notify applicants about admission decisions shortly thereafter. Final admission decisions are based on complete applications. All application materials must be included for the application to be released for review.

      Before applying online, go through the application checklist to ensure you have all the required materials. We are here to help! If you have questions, please contact the Graduate Studies Coordinator. If you are a returning Graduate School student, follow the Readmission guidelines. If you are a current Graduate School student and need to change your program, follow the Change of Status guidelines.

      Tuition and funding

      We have several funding options to support students full-time through program completion. Support is available in the form of:

      • Teaching Assistantships. The majority work as student teaching supervisors for MEd initial licensure students. Daytime availability, a teaching license, and teaching experience are required
      • Research Assistantships
      • Fellowships. Based on a departmental nomination process. You will be notified by the Director of Graduate Studies if you are being considered for a fellowship. Decisions are made by April 15.
      • Graduate students are also eligible to apply for fellowships and graduate assistantships through other University departments. Visit the University's employment page or fellowships through the Graduate School's Graduate Fellowship Office.
      • Find more detailed federal financial aid and graduate tuition information.

      Application requirements

      What we look for

      Admission to our master's of arts and doctoral programs are competitive and we look for candidates whose goals and interests align with the program’s research and scholarship. Program faculty make admissions decisions based on the candidate’s experience and research competencies, along with compatibility of research goals.

      Please look at our current faculty members’ research interests.

      Our masters and doctoral candidates display

      • Evidence of strong interest in research and in the development of research competencies
      • Evidence of substantial experience in the discipline
      • Strong writing skills
      • Bachelor's degree from an accredited U.S. institution or foreign equivalent

      Required application documents

      1. Unofficial transcripts.Upload your transcripts into the application system. Please include all transcripts from any institution you have attended, even if you did not earn a degree or certificate. Please do not mail your transcripts. Official transcripts are required only after you are admitted. Tips for uploading your transcript(s).
      2. Resume.
      3. CI Application Form. Upload in the graduate program additional materials section.
      4. Three letters of recommendation. Ask professors, employers, or supervisors to speak to your potential for successfully completing your degree; they will upload their letters directly into the online application.

      The GRE is being waived for those applicants applying for Fall 2024.

      Required written statements

      1. Personal statement.Upload to the Applicant Statements section of the online application. (Most statements are 1.5-3 pages, single spaced). Please trace how you became interested in research in this discipline, as well as what problems interest you the most and why. Be sure to speak to:
        1. Why you want to study in our department
        2. What strengths, expertise, and research experience would contribute to your success in our program
        3. Your professional goals for pursuing a research-focused degree
      2. Diversity statement.Upload to the Applicant Statements section of the online application. Identify the distinctive qualities, characteristics, and life experiences you would contribute to our community. You may wish to include examples that address your contribution to the diversity of the student body and illustrate your motivation to succeed by setting high standards for accomplishing intellectual and other goals, overcoming obstacles to achievement, and/or helping others to gain access to the resources necessary for success. (please do not exceed one page in length)
      3. Short writing sample.(Optional except for Literacy Education applicants). For example, an excerpt from a term paper or research paper for publication. No longer than five pages in English.
      4. Common Ground Consortium Fellowship. (Optional) The primary purpose of the CGC is to assist graduate programs in the College of Education and Human Development to recruit exceptional students with the distinct experience provided by HBCUs or similarly distinguishing contexts, provide these students with financial assistance support during their graduate studies, and assistance with career development and job placement afterwards. It offers a pipeline to excellence and an opportunity to diversify perspectives in the academy. If you wish to apply, submit a statement that describes how your participation as a CGC scholar would a) enhance your graduate student experience, b) prepare you for your chosen career, and c) benefit the public. Upload to graduate program additional materials section.

      Additional admissions information

      Application checklist

      Before applying online, go through the application checklist to ensure you have all the required materials. We are here to help! If you have questions, please contact the Graduate Studies Coordinator.

      If you are a returning Graduate School student, follow the Readmission guidelines. If you are a current Graduate School student and need to change your program, follow the Change of Status guidelines.

      Transfer credits

      MA students must complete at least 60 percent of their coursework (not including thesis credits) within our program. PhD students may transfer no more than 15 credits from an outside institution.

      A maximum of 12 graduate course credits taken as non-degree seeking or non-admitted status at the University of Minnesota can be transferred; this is counted separately from the maximum 60 percent or 15 non-UMN credits. For example, a PhD student could transfer a maximum of 27 credits (15 non-UMN and 12 non-degree from UMN).

      If you earned a MA at the UMN, please contact the Graduate Studies Coordinator to discuss transfer procedures. Thesis credits cannot be transferred.

      After you are admitted, you will work with your adviser to determine which credits may transfer.

      International applicants

      International applicants may also need:

      • An English translation of your transcripts, if the transcript is not in English. Please note: the Graduate School Admissions Office will not accept an evaluation of your international coursework by an outside agency such as ECE or WES; they only accept the original transcripts.
      • TOEFL/IELTS or MELAB. You may qualify for an exception if you have completed 16 semester or 24 quarter credits within the past 24 months in residence as a full-time student at an accredited institution of higher learning in the United States or other country where English is the official language (i.e. U.K, Canada). Score requirements and submission guidelines

      Request information

      We’re here to help. Simply complete one of these forms and a member of our department will be in touch