PhD Early Childhood Educ

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Early childhood education focuses on the education of children from birth to eight years old. Much of the instruction is less formal and structured than elementary school, emphasizing ways that children can learn through games and playing. The following article describes some aspects of early childhood education Doctor of Philosophy programs.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs in early childhood education cover subjects in educational research, developmental psychology and pedagogy. Students design, conduct and analyze experiments to learn how young children acquire knowledge and work to improve the success of educational programs aimed at these young learners. Programs also discuss the mental and physical development of toddlers and preschoolers. Students sometimes specialize in a particular aspect of the field, like educational assessment, curricula development or emergent literacy.



To be admitted to an early childhood education Ph.D. program, applicants need to have completed previous education coursework at the master's degree level. Many programs also require applicants to complete a statement of interest and submit a sample research paper. Applicants usually need to submit academic and employment references, too.



Coursework in a Ph.D. program focuses on advanced research and theoretical study in early childhood education. Students spend much of their time writing scholarly papers, designing research projects and performing statistical analyses. Most programs require students to work closely with faculty to write an original dissertation. Courses in the subjects noted below are usually offered:

  • Early childhood educator development
  • Early childhood education research design
  • Preschool curricula design
  • History of early childhood education
  • Preschool program implementation



Students who earn a Ph.D. in early childhood education are qualified for careers in education research, administration and instruction. Graduates can work directly with young students, or they can work in teacher training at the college level. Popular options:

  • Early childhood education program supervisor
  • Learning assessment researcher
  • Education policy adviser



Every state requires school or school district administrators to be licensed. Licensure requirements vary by state, but most administrators are required to have at least a master's degree. States require administrators to pass a written exam, complete an internship and keep up with current educational trends through continuing education.

PIC welcomes applications from individuals seeking a rigorous doctoral program in Early Childhood and Childhood Education. Its focus is the preparation of researchers and educators dedicated to improving children's access to equitable opportunities for learning from birth through elementary school.

The doctoral program, which leads to a Ph.D., requires a minimum of 60 points beyond the master's degree. The program is designed for people seeking leadership roles such as serving on a college or university faculty, as an educational researcher, or as a curriculum specialist. Extensive individual mentoring is available by our skilled faculty representing many dimensions of early childhood and childhood education.