Early Childhood Education

Doctoral Program

Department of Curriculum and Instruction

The Early Childhood Education Doctor of Philosophy Degree (Ph.D.) examines theories and teaching practices for young children through research and interdisciplinary coursework. Students learn the fundamentals of research methodology and apply them to their own directed research and dissertation. Our faculty work closely with students on research in a range of social, ethnographic and technological topics. This program prepares students to assess and evaluate early childhood education policies and curriculum.

Program Details

Semester Start: Fall

Deadline to Apply: December 1

GRE Required? No

Location: On Campus

Schedule: Flexible

Length of Program: 60 months, 57 hours 

Photo of faculty member Paty  Abril-Gonzalez
Assistant Professor

Studies long-term relationships with Latinx bilingual students and teachers using arts-based biliteracy approaches to affirm and amplify silenced perspectives, build connections, and develop bilingualism and biculturalism.

Photo of faculty member Jennifer K Adair

Areas of expertise include early childhood education, racial justice and equity in early learning, educational anthropology, video-cued ethnography, immigration and education, impact of social injustices on childhoods, project-based learning led by c...

Photo of faculty member Nathaniel  Bryan
Associate Professor

Interests include early childhood education policy and practice, gender issues in early childhood education, conceptions of children, urban literacy education, diversity, equity and social justice in early childhood and qualitative research.

Photo of faculty member Carolina  Snaider
Assistant Professor

Dr. Snaider is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. Her research explores the enactment of educational policy in early childhood practice, with a particular focus on issues of gender and sexuality with young childre...

Foundation Requirements (9 hours required)

  • EDC 380F  Sociocultural Foundations
  • EDC 381F  Introduction to Teaching and Teacher Education
  • EDC 383F  Curriculum Theory

Research Methodology Requirements (12 hours minimum)

To be taken in sequence:

  • EDC 381R  Intro to Systems of Human Inquiry
  • The following two courses (6 hours), in any order:
    • EDC 385R  Introduction To Quantitative Research
    • EDC 386R  Introduction To Qualitative Research
  • One course (3 hours) from either of the following:
    • EDC 387R  Advanced Quantitative Research
    • EDC 388R  Advanced Qualitative Research
  • EDC 385G  Research in Early Childhood Education
  • EDC 396T  Directed Research (3-6 hours)

Select one course (3 hours) from the following after consulting with the program advisor:

  • EDC 385G  Global, Comparative Early Childhood
  • EDC 385G  Critical Perspectives on Childhood Education
  • EDC 385K  Environmental Education for Young Children

Students with an emphasis in Early Childhood Education will select an additional 12 hours of coursework from within the early childhood program area, selected with the assistance and approval of the area program adviser. Among the courses that might be selected to fulfill this requirement are the following:

  • EDC 385G  Critical Perspectives on Childhood Education IV
  • EDC 385G  Early Childhood Education Programs
  • EDC 385G  Early Childhood Teacher Education
  • EDC 385K  Environmental Education for Young Children
  • EDC 385G  Global, Comparative Early Childhood
  • EDC 385G  Inquiry in Play
  • EDC 385G  Parents and Education
  • EDC 385G  Research in Early Childhood Education
  • EDC 385G  Social Context of Childhood Education
  • EDC 385G  Theories of Childhood Education
  • EDC 385G  Thinking as Social Construction in Childhood

Students may substitute up to 6 hours of their specialization required credits with coursework within the department of curriculum and instruction, outside of the early childhood program area pending approval of the area program adviser. Early childhood graduate students can take courses in bilingual/bicultural, language and literacy, cultural studies, STEM and learning technologies as a way to study the topics that are relevant to their work.

Students will select 6 credit hours outside of Curriculum & Instruction. Courses must be graduate level and other than EDC. Early childhood graduate students have taken courses in many programs including theater/dance, human development, special education, educational psychology, anthropology, sociology, social work, Indigenous studies, Mexican-American studies, and African and African diaspora studies.

Coursework from Directed Research may fulfill this requirement, but it does not count twice towards the 51 minimum hours of coursework needed for this degree.

Students are required to continuously register for at least three credits of dissertation once they have advanced to candidacy

You must register in X99W (399, 699 or 999W) in each semester of candidacy until you graduate.

Please Note: Students receiving fellowships, assistantships, or other financial aid, may be required to take 9 hours of dissertation credit each semester.

Photo of Jennifer Adair

Program Area Coordinator and Advisor
Jennifer K. Adair

Graduate Students

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