Jun 21, 2018  
2015-2016 Graduate Catalog 
2015-2016 Graduate Catalog

Early Childhood Education and Care, PhD

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The Early Childhood Education and Care PhD program is both research-intensive and policy- and practice-oriented. The focus is on using and developing knowledge to address pressing, meaningful problems in the development of young children, especially in underrepresented and underserved populations, including those living in poverty, with disabilities or developmental delays, and from immigrant or refugee groups, within the U.S. and also in developing countries.
Through their research, students address applied questions in policy and practice. The focus is on young children, especially the first five years of life, a period often neglected in schools of education.

Core Requirements

Five courses comprise the core content sequence in the program. The purpose of these courses is to provide students with a strong knowledge base and common understandings of the historical, political, theoretical, and scientific foundations of, and influences upon, early development and learning, which will then inform students’ additional study and research in their chosen areas of specialization, and which will generate critical problems for their own investigation.

Research Methods Requirements

Students are required to take three research methods courses: an introductory course, a quantitative course, and a qualitative course.

Research Methods Electives

In addition to the required 9 credits (3 courses), students will elect at least three additional research methods courses (9 credits) from courses offered throughout the university.

Research Team Requirement

All students are required to take at least two semesters of the research team course.

Areas of Concentration

Students can select one of four areas of concentrations:

  • Learning and Teaching in the First Five Years. This concentration can deepen students’ knowledge of theory and research in areas including developmental science; pedagogy for early learning; child assessment; curriculum studies in ECEC, curriculum theory and practice; and the design and evaluation of early learning programs in ECEC.
  • Leadership, Policy, and Finance in ECEC. Students choosing this specialization will be able to engage more deeply in the study of public policies, program and policy implementation, strategies for leading, organizing, and influencing change in early childhood systems; financing strategies; and political and economic analyses of early education and care.
  • Urban, Multilingual, and Global Contexts for ECEC. The concentration allows students to engage with multiple perspectives on the strengths and challenges of supporting young children’s success within one or more of these contexts. For example, students may focus on contextual issues related to a specific content area, such as literacy, or on a population such as children with disabilities, dual or multi-language learners, urban settings, or children in post-conflict situations.  
  • Individual Concentration. Students who have a focused interest that does not fall within one of these options, or that integrates themes from several concentrations, may design their own concentration with faculty input and approval.

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