Doctor of Philosophy, Early Childhood Education

Expand your expertise and professional impact with an early childhood education Ph.D. from Oakland University.

The Doctor of Philosophy in Education: Early Childhood Education qualifies you for leadership positions in child development. You’ll acquire the credentials and experience to direct early childhood education centers, formulate policy, conduct research, design learning programs, and participate in high-level initiatives. Oakland’s Ph.D. in early childhood education takes an interdisciplinary approach, preparing you to work on collaborative teams with professionals in family services, public administration, disability services, and other aligned disciplines. Designed for working adults who have full-time jobs, our early childhood education doctoral program equips you to influence young children, families, teachers, and whole communities.

The Doctor of Philosophy in Education: Early Childhood Education qualifies you for leadership positions in child development. You’ll acquire the credentials and experience to direct early childhood education centers, formulate policy, conduct research, design learning programs, and participate in high-level initiatives. Oakland’s Ph.D. in early childhood education takes an interdisciplinary approach, preparing you to work on collaborative teams with professionals in family services, public administration, disability services, and other aligned disciplines. Designed for working adults who have full-time jobs, our early childhood education doctoral program equips you to influence young children, families, teachers, and whole communities.

Ph.D. in Early Childhood Education: The Oakland University Advantage

Our early childhood education Ph.D. is aligned with guidelines set forth by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

Available on either a part-time or full-time basis, our doctoral degree in early childhood education offers:

  • Comprehensive professional training. You’ll develop well-rounded, applied expertise in all aspects of early childhood education. Focus areas include pedagogy, curriculum development, program design and evaluation, applied research, education policy, and learning technology.
  • Robust field experience. Our early childhood education Ph.D. program includes field-based courses in policy/programming and education. Hand-picked to fit your prior experience and career objectives, these placements connect you with children and families from diverse ethnic, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds.
  • Personalized faculty guidance. You’ll work closely with seasoned early childhood educators who support you academically and professionally. Oakland’s early childhood doctoral program is led by active researchers with wide-ranging specializations that include areas in child development, early childhood curriculum and policy, autism, developmental disabilities, parental support systems, infant, toddler and preschool programming, and cultural and linguistic diversity.
  • A supportive culture. Our Ph.D. in early childhood education operates on a cohort model, with heavy emphasis on seminar courses that promote interaction and camaraderie. You’ll belong to a tight-knit community of colleagues and peers, developing long-lasting relationships. 
  • Extensive community partnerships. Oakland University has a high profile and plays an active role in Southeast Michigan’s early childhood education community. You’ll have access to our broad network of partnerships with school districts, nonprofit organizations, government agencies, and other early childhood education stakeholders.

What Can You Do With a Ph.D. in Early Childhood Education?

Graduates from our early childhood education Ph.D. program have an excellent record of professional success. Oakland alumni possess strong cultural competence, with the ability to serve diverse communities. You’ll enter the job market with a versatile skill set, demonstrated achievements, and a research portfolio, with qualifications to pursue careers in:

  • College or university teaching
  • School district consulting
  • Government agency administration
  • Nonprofit leadership
  • Independent research
  • Programming design
  • Public policy

Ph.D. in Early Childhood Education: What You’ll Learn

The Early Childhood Education doctoral program consists of 80 credits beyond the master’s degree, divided as follows: 

  • Foundation core (12 credits)
  • Department core (32 credits)
  • Cognate (20 credits)
  • Dissertation (16 credits minimum)

The foundation core covers research methodology, analytical methods, and professional standards. The department core includes coursework in curriculum design, policy studies, special education, and theories of early learning, plus two field-based projects.

Ph.D. in Early Childhood Education Program Resources

Programs Related to the Ph.D. in Early Childhood Education

Not sure if the early childhood education doctoral program is right for you ? Check out these other graduate degree programs at Oakland, and contact our admissions team to discuss your options

  • Ph.D. in Education: Educational Leadership
  • Master of Education in Early Childhood Education

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