Return to: 4130 Department of Early Childhood and Elementary Education
The theoretical stance of the Early Childhood and Elementary Education PhD Program is pragmatic. No single theory or research approach can solve the complex issues that impact children in a rapidly changing world; thus, we (the PhD faculty) believe that collaborative, comprehensive research and scholarship is our most powerful tool for investigating and answering questions about children’s learning and education. Our diverse faculty has expertise in qualitative and quantitative research and evaluation. Interweaving theory, research, and practice, we inquire about how children’s learning is shaped by educational inequities across race, gender, (dis)ability, and social class; educational globalization; community, home, and school connections; culturally responsive pedagogy; urban education; and curricular and technological innovations. We leverage this expertise to advocate for children’s learning in multiple contexts, in and out of school.
Program Academic Regulations
In addition to the college-wide requirements for doctoral students, the department requires that each doctoral student has experience with young children and that each student participate in Residency experiences. For a detailed description of program requirements, please refer to the Program Manual for the Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education available from the department.
Each doctoral student’s planned program of study is divided into two academic components: Research and the Major. The Research component includes 21 credit hours, including a Core set of courses that introduce research methods as well as courses that deepen knowledge about a particular set of complementary methods (qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods). The Major includes a set of 27 hours of courses intended to deepen knowledge of research methodologies that guide scholarly inquiry in elementary and early childhood education, theories of human development, curricular issues, and historical perspectives. The Major also includes a set of electives from which students can choose. Electives can also be taken outside the Department of Early Childhood and Elementary Education. Students will choose electives that will, together, create an area of specialization. Each program of study will culminate with a dissertation.
Research and Evaluation Design and Methodology
Doctoral students are expected to be able to design, implement, and interpret research. Therefore, doctoral students are expected to have knowledge of research designs and methods. Doctoral students are also expected to engage in high quality research via a research apprenticeship experience and a dissertation. Courses suggested to develop this competence are listed in the Program Manual for the Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education.
Early Childhood and Elementary Education
All doctoral students in the Early Childhood and Elementary Education Major will be expected to promote scholarly advocacy for children, to understand the nature of children and their development, to understand theories undergirding educational practices and issues, and to excel as teacher educators. Required residency experiences ensure that students develop knowledge and skills about mentoring and teaching educators as well as conducting research. Courses required in the Major ensure that doctoral students share knowledge about historical, political, developmental, and theoretical paradigms that have shaped educational contexts and research. In addition, elective courses allow for individualization of the doctoral program to create an area of expertise within Early Childhood and Elementary Education. The Major course offerings are further described in the Program Manual for the Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education.
Planning doctoral study coursework to address the goals mentioned above is done in consultation with an Advisor with consideration of each student’s career goals, prior academic work, and professional experience. Each program, therefore, is unique. However, the following courses are offered: