Early Childhood Education

Doctor of Education

The Early Childhood Education specialization is designed to help you enhance your skills in scientific inquiry and leadership as you explore a broad spectrum of topics, such as growth and development, childhood literature, program administration, curriculum and assessment and stakeholder partnerships. You will develop an understanding of theory related to the study of education in early childhood, conduct applied research and program evaluation, and apply research findings in an informed manner. As a graduate, you will be prepared to pursue key positions as a researcher, post-secondary academia professor, child counselor, top level administrator, early childhood consultant, childhood development specialist, or as a policy and development professional.

General Degree Requirements

The EdD program may be completed in 54 credits. However, up to an additional 12 credit hours will be allowed as needed to complete the dissertation research. An Academic Advisor or Enrollment Specialist evaluates each student individually and works with the student to create an academically sound Learning Plan based on prior academics and their professional goals.

Completion Period for Doctoral Degrees

Northcentral University allows 7 years to complete all doctoral programs of 60 credits or less. Normal time to complete varies depending upon course take rate and credits transferred.

Northcentral University may accept a maximum of 12 semester credit hours in transfer toward the doctoral degree for graduate coursework completed toward a non-conferred doctoral degree at an accredited college or university with a grade of “B” or better. Transfer credit is only awarded for course work that is evaluated to be substantially equivalent in content with the required course work for the EdD program.

Certification and Licensing

The School of Education serves educational leaders by providing online graduate studies in education to reach worldwide populations. The EdD program is designed to reach national and international markets and does not purport to provide licensure or certification in any particular state or country.

Doctor of Education (EdD) Degree Requirements

  • Individuals with a previously completed master’s degree will meet the basis of admission to the Doctor of Education Program.
  • Students must complete all doctoral courses with a Grade Point Average of 3.00 (B) or higher.
  • EdD students must demonstrate competency in specific subject areas prior to enrolling in any of the specialization or elective courses.

Doctoral Dissertation Process

The School of Education has developed a logical step-by-step process that assists in completing an EdD applied research dissertation. Northcentral University provides a detailed EdD Dissertation Handbook that explains the process and Northcentral University's dissertation support structure. The EdD doctoral research courses, the comprehensive exam course and the dissertation courses are specifically designed to guide students through the process.

The dissertation is the capstone academic achievement of the EdD. The EdD dissertation is applied, project based and results in a product designed to produce appreciable improvements in the student's school or organization and must also impact the student's leadership growth. Although applied and project based, the EdD dissertation is a scholarly document. To earn the EdD degree, the student must demonstrate the ability, drive and determination; and Northcentral University will provide the faculty, the academic support and process to assist in the attainment of high academic goals.

The School of Education offers students the opportunity to pursue an area of specialization within a degree program. Students who complete at least 18 semester credit hours in a specific specialization may elect to have the specialization recorded on their transcript and diploma.

Northcentral University recognizes that each student is unique, and therefore evaluates each application based not only on what courses or program of study a student has accomplished previously, but takes into consideration which specialization is being pursued at Northcentral University and their current and future professional goals.

Course Length

Existing EdD students may opt to switch to eight-week courses by contacting their Academic Advisor. Once existing EdD students have opted for eight-week courses, they must receive approval from the Office of the Dean to switch back to a program of 12-week courses. All eight-week courses are indicated by a "-8" (dash eight) at the end of the course code.

The EdD in Education requires two Foundation Courses, five Specialization, five research courses and one Statistical course for a total of 39 credit hours.

Course Code

Name

Course Description

Specialization Course 1

EDR7100

Scholarly Literature Review

This course focuses on the scholarly review of literature and academic writing. The course emphasis is on how to conduct effective literature searches in preparation for the dissertation, develop a plan for writing comprehensive, critical, and synthesized reviews of research literature, and critically review and write about underlying conceptual frameworks that lay the foundation for future research. The overarching goal of this course is for students to conduct an exhaustive search of the peer-reviewed research literature in education and identify potential areas of inquiry for their dissertation.

EDR7103

Research Methods

This introductory research methods course provides a foundation for subsequent research courses in preparation for successfully completing a dissertation at Northcentral University. Students will continue to build upon skills from prior courses as they critically analyze the existing research literature, but now with a focus on the research methods utilized. In addition, students will investigate the theoretical and practical foundations of the primary research methodologies used in educational research, specifically qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods research. Topics will include the ethics of research, data collection and analysis techniques, and issues of reliability, validity, trustworthiness and rigor. Emphasis will be placed on identifying criteria for a quality research project and whether a research study is aligned and cohesive. Students will have the opportunity explore topics of interest from different research perspectives (e.g. quantitative, qualitative) with the goal of helping students begin to clarify their future research course plan.

Specialization Course 2

EDR7101

Statistics 1

In this course, students will learn how to use statistical analyses in research. Foundational topics covered include frequency distributions, z-scores, probabilities, hypothesis testing, confidence intervals, exploratory data analysis, power analyses, t-tests, correlations, bivariate regression, analyses of variance, and the chi-square test. Although students will complete many computations by hand, they will also use statistical software to analyze data. Students will build their independent scholarly skills by enhancing their scientific and statistical literacy. Therefore, the emphasis will be on understanding the data; comprehending statistical concepts; analyzing, interpreting, and critically evaluating statistical information; and communicating statistical information and knowledge.

Specialization Course 3

EDR7104

Introduction to Measurement

This course provides the fundamentals of qualitative and quantitative measurement and serves as a primary overview of basic concepts and methods of measurement as applied to practical problems in education. This course also serves as an introduction to the Advanced Quantitative Design and Measurement and Advanced Qualitative Design and Measurement courses. Topics and concepts discussed in this course include the history and levels of measurement, reliability and validity, the trustworthiness of qualitative research, norms and percentiles, item and instrument construction, interview and questionnaire guides, and bias and ethics associated with tests and data collection. In addition to introducing the basics of measurement, this course is meant to improve independent scholarly skills through the engagement of scientific literacy as it pertains to the student's primary area of focus and appropriate research design methodology.

Specialization Course 4

EDR7105

Advanced Qualitative Design and Measurement

This course is designed to provide students with a focused examination of the research methods used in qualitative inquiry, with particular emphasis on the issue of problem alignment and suitability of the research question for qualitative design. This course will cover the theories and philosophies behind qualitative research, the elements that characterize a qualitative study, techniques used to improve the trustworthiness of the study, the role of the researcher and participant in qualitative research, and the various methods used to frame a qualitative study. A number of qualitative methodologies and data collection and analysis methods will be discussed. Students will develop a mock qualitative research proposal as the signature assignment. Note, however, this proposal does not constitute a capstone document in the dissertation process; rather it is an opportunity to test ideas and receive feedback in preparation for the dissertation phase of the program.

or EDR7106

Advanced Quantitative Design and Measurement

This course provides in-depth knowledge of quantitative research design. The goal of this course is to ensure that students have a firm understanding of the unique and critical elements that provide a framework for a study and give it direction, with particular emphasis on problem alignment and suitability of the research question for quantitative design. This course approaches the topic of quantitative research design from both theoretical and practical perspectives, and encourages students to become competent creators and consumers of quantitative research by exploring how quantitative information is generated, summarized, evaluated, and represented. Test theories, reliability and validity, critical issues in measurement, and factor analysis will be covered in some detail. The course focuses on the uses of different tests in a variety of settings. Students will develop a mock quantitative research proposal as the signature assignment. Note, however, this proposal does not constitute a capstone document in the dissertation process; rather it is an opportunity to test ideas and receive feedback in preparation for the dissertation phase of the program.

Specialization Course 5

EDR7109

Mixed Methods Research

This course is designed to provide students with the foundational knowledge to critically evaluate the mixed method research approach and also be skilled in implementing a mixed method study. The philosophical foundation behind the mixed methods approach, the debates about the approach, reliability and validity concerns, and the steps and considerations when designing a mixed method research project are presented throughout this course.

or EDR7110

Program Evaluation

This course provides an overview of program evaluation research from needs assessment to the communication and utilization of findings. The different types of program evaluation, including formative and summative evaluation, are covered. The importance of stakeholder input is highlighted. In addition, the ways in which various research methods and designs can be applied to program evaluation research are discussed. Students will gain practical experience with this type of research by completing a series of activities involving the application of program evaluation research principles. Furthermore, students will engage in a critical review of published program evaluation research as they continue to develop their independent scholarly skills.

or EDR7111

Case Study

This course is designed as a laboratory in which you can prepare to use case study research methods by conducting a small-scale case study on a topic/project of interest to education scholars. The course will prepare students to define appropriate case study research questions, to employ suitable data collection and analysis strategies, and to evaluate case research for credibility, transferability, dependability, and confirmability.

or EDR7112

Action Research

This course is designed to prepare students who desire to use action research methods and as an opportunity for students to prepare to conduct research on topics/projects of interest to education scholars. The primary goal of action research is to solve a problem that will lead to improvement in individual or organizational practice. In addition to developing an action research proposal, students will gain knowledge about the theoretical, philosophical, epistemological, and political considerations surrounding action research, specifically in educational environments. Students will gain an understanding of the cyclical nature of action research. Student researchers in this course will be prepared to understand the unique role of the researcher in action research, the importance of stakeholders, to define appropriate action research questions, and to evaluate action research studies critically.

Required Basic Foundation Courses – 6 credit hours

Course Code

Name

Course Description

EDU7101 / EDU7101-8

Foundations for Graduate Study in Education (This course will be taken as the first course)

This course is an orientation to Northcentral University and to the essential skills needed to pursue a doctoral degree in Education. Doctoral level skills, such as academic integrity, time management, effective use of the Northcentral Library, comprehending complex scholarly texts and research articles, and APA form and style in professional communication are also introduced. Students will complete the course with a better understanding of personal goals, strengths, and challenges, and a roadmap to navigate their way to completion of their educational aspirations.

EDU7001 / EDU7001-8

Advanced Scholarly Writing

The purpose of this course is to build advanced skills identifying and obtaining high quality sources through online library searches. In addition, the course addresses advanced writing and APA formatting skills, and it prepares students to be critically reflective consumers of research reports.

Specialization Courses – 18 credit hours, Select 6 from the following:

Course Code

Name

Course Description

ECE7001-8

Topics in Early Childhood Education

This course presents an overview of early childhood education in American society, including currently respected theories and practical applications for educating the young child. Specifically, students will explore basic educational concepts and developmentally appropriate practices for children, pre-k – grade three, including children with exceptional needs. Historical and contemporary models and delivery systems are presented and innovations in instruction are discussed. It is suggested that students pursuing a specialization in ECE should take this as their first specialization course.

EDU7002-8

Educational Research Methodology

In this doctoral level course, students will explore theory and research related to the education of young children including societal changes and their influence on early childhood programs, the growth and the typical and atypical development of young children, and methods of studying children's behavior. Emphasis will be placed on the intellectual, social, emotional, and physical development of infants, toddlers, and young children and the impact of these factors on the development and management of quality early childhood education instructional programs.

ECE7003-8

Topics in Early Childhood Program Administration

This doctoral course focuses on the development and implementation of early childhood programs for a variety of age groups and purposes. Specifically, curriculum development, materials, teaching strategies, evaluation, budgets, hiring procedures and state guidelines/regulations are addressed. Skills and competencies to implement the aforementioned concepts will also be addressed.

ECE7005-8

Early Childhood Curriculum and Assessment

In this course, students explore the theory, research, and trends related to the curriculum and assessment of young children enrolled in early childhood education programs. Developmentally appropriate early childhood lesson plans and activities will be explored and analyzed. Standardized and classroom assessments will be researched and evaluated.

ECE7007-8

Early Childhood Literacy and Literature

This course discusses literacy development in early childhood education. Balanced literacy instruction including a comprehensive set of strategies designed to meet individual needs will be explored. Methods for developing reading and writing skills that are developmentally appropriate will also be investigated. Since knowledge of children's literature is essential for any early childhood educator, students will determine ways to select appropriate and motivating materials to enhance an early childhood literacy program.

ECE7009-8

Families, Communities, and Schools as Partners in Early Childhood Education

In this course, students will focus on the development of partnerships between early childhood educators, families, and communities. Encouraging involvement and communicating with families and communities in early childhood education programs will be researched and analyzed. Topics include child abuse, child advocacy, formulating effective strategies for working with families of special needs children, and societal trends and issues specific to diversity.

CT7004-8

Language and Literacy Education

Language and Literacy Education will assist the doctoral student in learning about the processes of language development. Students will analyze the theory of mind and the processes of language and meaning development by reflecting on their own understanding of language. Doctoral students will assess specific literacy strategies to promote language development and analyze ways children learn words and concepts. Students will reflect on the impact of language acquisition on learning and teaching literacy. In addition, students will create strategies, lessons, and assessments designed for language and literacy.

CT7005-8

Literacy: Focus on Curriculum

This class offers doctoral students opportunities to investigate and assess the issues and research related to literacy development and literacy curriculum development. Students will analyze principles and strategies that foster literacy development in the early grades and apply learnings to classroom curriculum and instruction. Theory, activities, and summative assessments aid the doctoral leaner in the evaluation of literacy based learning and performance. Literacy achievement and best literacy teaching strategies are planned and implemented.

Doctoral Comprehensive Examination - 3 credit hours

Course Code

Name

Course Description

CMP9400E

Doctoral Comprehensive Examination

In their pursuit of a professional doctoral degree (EdD) at Northcentral University, students gain expertise in their academic discipline and in one or more specializations that complement their academic discipline. The Doctoral Comprehensive Examination is intended to assure that students have mastered knowledge of their discipline before candidacy status is achieved and their dissertation work is initiated. The Doctoral Comprehensive Examination is taken following the completion of all foundation, specialization, and methods courses. This course is graded using Satisfactory (S) and Unsatisfactory (U) grading criteria. The Doctoral Comprehensive Examination must be successfully completed with an ”S” grade prior to beginning any work in Dissertation courses. This course may only be retaken once.

Dissertation Courses - 12 credit hours

Course Code

Name

Course Description

DIS9401E

Doctoral Dissertation Research I

In this course sequence, students work progressively on completing each doctoral dissertation milestone toward the completion of the professional doctorate degree. These milestones include Committee and University approval of a dissertation concept paper, a dissertation proposal paper, an approved IRB application by the Northcentral University Institutional Review Board, the collection and analysis of research data, the preparation and approval of the final dissertation manuscript, and the successful completion of the oral presentation. Courses are taken continually and sequentially until all dissertation milestones have been completed. Throughout these courses, students often work independently but are required to be in communication with the Chair of their Dissertation Committee at least once every 28 calendar days. These courses are graded utilizing Satisfactory (S) and Unsatisfactory (U) as the grading criteria.

DIS9402E

Doctoral Dissertation Research II

In this course sequence, students work progressively on completing each doctoral dissertation milestone toward the completion of the professional doctorate degree. These milestones include Committee and University approval of a dissertation concept paper, a dissertation proposal paper, an approved IRB application by the Northcentral University Institutional Review Board, the collection and analysis of research data, the preparation and approval of the final dissertation manuscript, and the successful completion of the oral presentation. Courses are taken continually and sequentially until all dissertation milestones have been completed. Throughout these courses, students often work independently but are required to be in communication with the Chair of their Dissertation Committee at least once every 28 calendar days. These courses are graded utilizing Satisfactory (S) and Unsatisfactory (U) as the grading criteria.

DIS9403E

Doctoral Dissertation Research III

In this course sequence, students work progressively on completing each doctoral dissertation milestone toward the completion of the professional doctorate degree. These milestones include Committee and University approval of a dissertation concept paper, a dissertation proposal paper, an approved IRB application by the Northcentral University Institutional Review Board, the collection and analysis of research data, the preparation and approval of the final dissertation manuscript, and the successful completion of the oral presentation. Courses are taken continually and sequentially until all dissertation milestones have been completed. Throughout these courses, students often work independently but are required to be in communication with the Chair of their Dissertation Committee at least once every 28 calendar days. These courses are graded utilizing Satisfactory (S) and Unsatisfactory (U) as the grading criteria.

DIS9404E

Doctoral Dissertation Research IV

In this course sequence, students work progressively on completing each doctoral dissertation milestone toward the completion of the professional doctorate degree. These milestones include Committee and University approval of a dissertation concept paper, a dissertation proposal paper, an approved IRB application by the Northcentral University Institutional Review Board, the collection and analysis of research data, the preparation and approval of the final dissertation manuscript, and the successful completion of the oral presentation. Courses are taken continually and sequentially until all dissertation milestones have been completed. Throughout these courses, students often work independently but are required to be in communication with the Chair of their Dissertation Committee at least once every 28 calendar days. These courses are graded utilizing Satisfactory (S) and Unsatisfactory (U) as the grading criteria.

At Northcentral University, we pride ourselves in being completely transparent when it comes to tuition and fees. If a cost is not included in our Cost Per Course Tuition Rate, we let you know up front. Currently, the only additional cost above your program rate* is books. Learn more about the NCU’s EdD costs below:

  • Per credit cost: $871
  • Per 3 credit course cost: $2,613
  • Program cost: $47,034
  • Average book cost per course: $110
  • Application Fee: $0
  • Learning Management Fee (one-time per program): $250
  • Registration Fee: $0

Click here to learn more about payment and financing options.

*Program rates are subject to change and generally increase at the start of each calendar year.

Total program costs reflected are calculated based on standard degree program credits exclusive of the program’s potential evaluation track. The actual cost of a program is determined based upon the program and track the student enters, transfer credits if any, and other unique student factors. For more information: please contact Admissions or refer to the catalog.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned about our students, it’s that they are motivated and ambitious—but they are also busy! At Northcentral University, we’ve designed our education experience to work with you, not against you, so you can achieve your academic goals without sacrificing the quality, flexibility and support you need to be successful.

To learn more, request information or call 1-866-776-0331 to speak with an enrollment advisor today. We offer new courses every Monday of the year so you can get started when it’s best for you.