Early Childhood Education

Doctor of Philosophy in Education

The Early Childhood Education specialization is designed to help you develop an understanding of the breadth and depth of early childhood education research, curriculum and policy. This specialization is competency-based and emphasizes research and teaching across a broad spectrum of topics, including childhood development, literature, program administration, curriculum and assessment and stakeholder partnerships. As a graduate, you will be prepared to pursue leadership positions in schools, higher education organizations and research settings in various areas, including educational assessment, curricula development, education research, administration and instruction, education policy, teacher training, teaching and advocacy addressing children from birth through age 8.

General Degree Requirements

The PhD Program may be completed in 60 semester credit hours. However, up to an additional 15 credit hours will be allowed as needed to complete the dissertation research. If the program is not completed in 75 credit hours, the student will be dismissed from the program.

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.

Certification and Licensing

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

PhD Degree Requirements

Admission to the doctorate programs at NCU requires a master's degree from an accredited institution. PhD students are also required to demonstrate competency in specific subject areas prior to enrolling in any of the specialization or elective courses.

Foundational Competencies for PhD Program

  • Graduate Level Statistics Competency - PhD students are required to complete a Statistics in Education Research Course, EDU8003, and also EDU8006, Advanced Educational Statistics.
  • Competency in Research Writing Skills - PhD students are required to show competency in writing skills for research purposes through their Northcentral University graduate coursework before being assigned to any dissertation courses. Students will be required to take EDU8001, Advanced Scholarly Writing, to improve APA formatting skills and to address advanced writing and research skills as necessary.
  • Computer Competency - PhD students are required to use appropriate computer skills that are necessary in writing a dissertation. Students must be able to prepare documents using advanced word processing skills (e.g., creation of tables and figures, headers and footers, page breaks, tables of contents, hanging indents, etc.). In addition, students need to use computer programs for the statistical analysis and presentation of data (e.g., Excel, SPSS). The oral defense normally requires a computer-based presentation by the candidate (e.g., a PowerPoint presentation).

Course Length

All new students enrolling in the PhD in Education program are automatically enrolled in courses that are eight weeks in length. All eight-week courses are indicated by a "-8" (dash eight) at the end of the course code.

The PhD in Education requires six specialization, five research, and two statistical courses for a total of 39 credit hours.

Course Code

Name

Course Description

Specialization Course 1

EDU8002, EDU8002-8

Educational Research Methodology

The purpose of this course is to enable students to gain a holistic understanding of the research process and examine the most common research designs used in educational research. In this course, students are prepared to make thoughtful and wise choices about their dissertation research project or capstone project through the exploration of different research design options.

Specialization Course 2

EDU8003, EDU8003-8

Statistics I

This course provides an introductory exploration of statistics for the graduate Learner. It includes instruction on the calculation, use, and interpretation of descriptive statistics, and introduces inferential statistical analysis. The emphasis of this course is on providing a working knowledge of basic statistical concepts to help the Learner understand statistical methodology used in education, and also more generally, developing a working knowledge of statistical usage in everyday life.

Specialization Course 3

EDU8202, EDU8202-8

Research Design

In this course, the Learner acquires the basic skills necessary for the interpretation and application of quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods research. The Learner will examine the formal research process carefully, with an emphasis on practical applications and skill development. Critical concepts and principles intrinsic to research paradigms, study designs, and methods of inquiry are presented to empower the Learners ability to formulate and respond to research questions. The resources listed below from the Northcentral University Dissertation Center are critical resources throughout the whole research process _ learners are highly encouraged to become deeply familiar with the resources from the Northcentral University Dissertation Center.

EDU8005, EDU8005-8

Qualitative Research Design

This course is an examination of qualitative methods for studying human behavior including grounded theory, narrative analysis, ethnography, and case studies.

Specialization Course 4

EDU8006, EDU8006-8

Statistics II

This course is an intermediate examination of statistical analyses commonly used for research in education. It prepares the doctoral student with the skills required to plan, conduct (using SPSS), report, and interpret quantitative statistical analyses. Topics include: basic statistical knowledge, probability theory, exploratory data analysis, assumptions for statistical tests, parametric and nonparametric tests. Specific analyses include correlation, regression (simple, multiple, and logistic), basic ANOVA and advance ANOVA techniques.

Specialization Course 5

EDU8007, EDU8007-8

Quantitative Methods

This course provides students with the skills essential for designing experimental, quasi-experimental, and survey studies; analyzing the data collected in those studies, and interpreting the results of data analyses. Students will explore designs and statistical techniques to use with their envisioned dissertation research.

Specialization Course 6

EDU8207, EDU8207-8

Planning Dissertation Research in Education

Students in this course will begin the process of writing a dissertation for a research or professional doctorate. The course will address the University dissertation procedures and aids students in the process of successfully completing a dissertation, including attending to self-care and time management.

Required Basic Foundation Courses - 6 credit hours

Course Code

Name

Course Description

EDU8000, EDU8000-8

Foundations for Doctoral 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.

EDU8001, EDU8001-8

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 courses 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.

ECE7002-8

Topics in Early Childhood Growth, Development, and Educational Programs

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 Exam - 3 credit hours. Dissertation Courses - 12 credit hours

Course Code

Name

Course Description

CMP9500E

Doctoral Comprehensive Examination

In pursuit of a research doctoral degree (PhD) 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.

DIS9501E

PhD Doctoral Dissertation

In this course sequence, students work progressively on completing each doctoral dissertation milestone toward the completion of the PhD 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 defense. 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 every 28 calendar days. These courses are graded utilizing Satisfactory (S) and Unsatisfactory (U) as the grading criteria.

DIS9502E

PhD Doctoral Dissertation

In this course sequence, students work progressively on completing each doctoral dissertation milestone toward the completion of the PhD 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 defense. 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 every 28 calendar days. These courses are graded utilizing Satisfactory (S) and Unsatisfactory (U) as the grading criteria.

DIS9503E

PhD Doctoral Dissertation

In this course sequence, students work progressively on completing each doctoral dissertation milestone toward the completion of the PhD 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 defense. 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 every 28 calendar days. These courses are graded utilizing Satisfactory (S) and Unsatisfactory (U) as the grading criteria.

DIS9504E

PhD Doctoral Dissertation

In this course sequence, students work progressively on completing each doctoral dissertation milestone toward the completion of the PhD 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 defense. 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 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 PhD in Education costs below:

  • Per credit cost: $986
  • Per 3 credit course cost: $2,958
  • Program cost: $59,160
  • 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.

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