Early Childhood Education

Doctor of Education
  • Overview
  • Course Information
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Help shape the future by making a difference in the education of younger children. NCU’s Doctor of Education (EdD) in 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. NCU graduates pursue key positions as researchers, post-secondary academia professors, child counselors, top-level administrators, early childhood consultants, childhood development specialists, 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.

See below for specialization courses specific to this program. To learn more, fill out the request information form below or view the course catalog.

Course Code


Course Description


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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: $902
  • Per 3 credit course cost: $2,706
  • Program cost: $49,058
  • Average book cost per course: $110
  • Application Fee: $0
  • Learning Management Fee (one-time per program): $350
  • 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.