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54+ hour program if all prerequisites are met


Applicants should have a master's degree (or comparable study) and often have an Education Specialist degree with prior experience in early childhood education settings.

As candidates may enter the Ph.D. program with a variety of prior experiences*, there are a number of basic prerequisites required for all applicants. If a Ph.D. applicant has completed most / all of the following coursework, they may enter the program and start their Ph.D. coursework the first semester. If Ph.D. applicants have not taken courswork similar to the ones listed below, then the applicant can be accepted into the program and is expected to complete the majority of the prerequisite coursework prior to taking doctoral level classes.

* Applicants have been accepted into the program with backgrounds in ECE, elementary education, law, health and human services, maternal child health, etc..

Determination of whether the following coursework has been completed will be made by the program coordinator from a review of transcripts and conversation with the applicant.

  • EPR 692 Introduction to Educational Research Design  
  • EPR 596 Introduction to Qualitative Methods of Educational Research  
  • EPR 608 Statistical Methods and Research in Education (with EPR 607 lab)  
  • EPR 609 Statistical Methods and Research in Education: Intermediate  
  • Curriculum Development in Early Childhood Education (EEC 610)  
  • Child Development in Early Childhood Education (EEC 300)  
  •  EEC 672 Piaget & Perspectives or ECE 630 Cognitive Curriculum  
  • EEC 660 Readings in Teaching and Learning*  
  • Demonstrated Technology Proficiency*

Ph.D. Coursework

As a Ph.D. student, you would take up to

  • 12 credit hours in an early childhood seminar series
  • 12+ credit hours in an specialty / emphasis area: Piagetian theory, literacy, early childhood curriculum, early childhood leadership, or early intervention/early childhood special education
  • 6+ hours of focused research internship spread across several semesters
  • 12+ credit hours of research methodology
  • 12+ credit hours of research that lead to satisfactory completion of a dissertation

Core Requirements

Depending on how an individualized program of study is developed, the program may draw from additional resources in the School of Education, the School of Nursing, the School of Public Health, and other related programs.

More detailed information can be found in the Doctoral Program in Early Childhood Education and Development policies handbook.