Doctor of Education in Leadership for Educational Equity - Early Childhood Education


CU Denver's Doctor of Education (EdD) concentration in early childhood/early childhood special education is designed to prepare highly competent professionals who are leaders and advocates for all children and their families from an equity and inclusive excellence perspective. Our graduates lead change and system and policy development in inclusive, culturally and linguistically diverse early childhood child care, school and community settings for children birth to age 8, their families and their educators.

The Program at a Glance

School: School of Education & Human Development Campus: CU Denver Classroom: Online and on campus classes Recommended completion time: 3 or 5 Years Credits required for completion: 54 Minimum education level: Master's degree in education or related field from a regionally accredited University. Application deadline: December 1

The Details

What you'll learn

Are you passionate about the lives of young children, infants to age eight and their families? Are you an advocate for better work lives for early childhood education teachers? If you're ready to pursue your doctorate in order to join leadership discussions and take action at the highest level possible, CU Denver's Doctor of Education in Leadership for Educational Equity with a concentration in early childhood /early childhood special education is designed for you.

The EdD concentration will prepare you to:

  • Understand the complex, contemporary issues and practices in the field of inclusive early childhood education
  • Advocate for all children with diverse abilities and their families, providing leadership to improve outcomes
  • Act effectively as district administrators, agency directors and advocates for policy equity and change in inclusive, culturally and linguistically diverse ECE settings
  • Learn more about the Reggio Emilia approach to ECE (key members of the School of Education and Human Development faculty, including Dean Kantor, have been working with Italian educators and Reggio Emilia experts for over 20 years. Together, we have formed a unique partnership that fuels our professional development work.)
  • Become data savvy for strategic planning and decision-making
  • Collaborate with fellow EdD students on a dissertation-in-practice.

Choose CU Denver's School of Education & Human Development

You can trust CU Denver to provide an education that will prepare you for excellence in your career as an early childhood special education/early childhood education leader. The university and school are recognized for preparing leaders of distinction who value educational excellence and social justice. Additionally, CU Denver's School of Education and Human Development is counted among U.S. News & World Report's “Best Graduate Schools,” making us one of the top education schools in the country.


The 54-credit program begins each summer.

The curriculum includes:

  • 18 hours in EdD core courses:
    • Six credit hours equity core (two three-credit courses)
    • Six credit hours leadership and organizational performance core (two three-credit courses)
    • Six credit hours learning core (two three-credit courses)
  • Nine hours in the research core (three three-credit courses)
  • 12 hours in one of seven Concentration Areas (four three-credit hour blocks)
  • 15 hours in completion of a culminating Doctoral Research Project (includes one hour of mandatory design workshop experiences, second fall semester)

All courses and experiences strive to expose students to context-specific best practices, interdisciplinary connections, and applied research in an environment that stresses the application of theory to practice. Course assignments focus on problem-solving experiences.

The EdD program has been designed to enable students to complete program requirements in three years, or five years for those taking one class per semester.

Admissions Requirements

Application Deadlines

The following deadlines are firm, early submissions are encouraged.

Summer Semester: December 1

Application Requirements

  • Minimum requirements:
    • Master's degree in education or related field from a regionally accredited University. Students without appropriate master's level course work in P-20 or community-based education fields may be required to complete additional course work.
    • 3.2 GPA in graduate-level course work recommended
  • 3 recommendation letters
  • Official Transcripts from all institutions attended
  • If applying for an endorsement or license, a copy of your Teaching License is required
  • Resume/CV: Applicants must have and show a minimum of five years of experience in an educational P-20 or community-based context
  • Written Statement:  Describe your background, career goals and reasons for applying to the program in 5-7 pages. Delineate a significant problem of practice or pressing question that you hope to explore through inquiry in this program, being sure to specify your preferred area of concentration. Provide a rationale as to why this problem or question is relevant to today's educational contexts. Also, describe and provide examples of the breadth and depth of your relevant P-20 or community-based educational leadership experiences, as they are an important factor in admission decisions. In addition, address how you will make time in your life to meet the time demands of the program (i.e. at least 15 hours of work per week outside of class.)
  • If you are applying to the Higher Education Concentration please follow the prompt below:
    • The Statement of Purpose is five to seven pages in length, detailing your professional background, relevant personal interests, commitment to access and educational equity, and short- and long-term professional goals. Please discuss your assessment of the three most critical issues for higher education leaders and how you wish to contribute to meeting these challenges. Illustrate how your commitment is demonstrated in your past experiences and how this educational journey, shared with doctoral student colleagues, will enhance your ability to contribute in the future. Further, demonstrate in your Statement of Purpose that you have the written communication skills to successfully obtain the degree of Doctor of Education.
  • Two or three professional artifacts — Include examples of your work that illuminate your leadership experiences within your most current and/or recent positions. Be sure to explain the role you played in the development of the artifact and the degree to which you were a primary or secondary contributor
  • $50.00 application fee
  • Admissions Interview: An interview may be required as part of the admissions process. If so, applicants will be contacted with more details.
  • International Applicants only: Proof of English Language Proficiency (International applicants should review the following information regarding English language proficiency)
For more information, email or call 303.315.6300.