Classroom Type: Online and on campus classes
Prepares candidates to be leaders, policymakers, policy advisors and analysts, faculty members, and researchers who successfully shape, direct, implement and evaluate early childhood services, infrastructure, and policy and contribute to the scholarly knowledge that undergirds the discipline. Graduates will enter a growing and dynamic field with burgeoning research about the critical years in children's brain development, learning and health. This concentration holds institutional and system reform as its unit of change and equity in opportunity and outcomes as the purpose for change.
Interest Categories: Education & Counseling Public Administration & Policy
Campus: CU Denver
Given its unprecedented growth over the past five decades, the early childhood field logically has focused most of its efforts on program expansion and on the provision of high-quality services for young children. Although there is increasing attention to enhancing equity, most work in the field concentrates on practice improvement, typically pedagogical in nature, either for children or by the workforce. CU Denver’s Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) with a concentration in Early Childhood Policy tilts this focus. It acknowledges the importance of pedagogy but suggests that without explicit and specialized attention to policy, it will be difficult for the field to achieve quality, equity and scale. The concentration holds institutional and system reform as its units of change.
The core course rotation begins every fall. Students complete a plan of study that includes at least 48 semester credits of coursework and 27 semester credits of dissertation. PhD coursework is intensive and substantive, requiring significant writing, analysis, and critique of theory and professional literature. All students in the Early Childhood Policy concentration take 12-credits in foundational courses, 3-credits in professional seminars, 18-credits in research methods courses, and 15-credits in concentration area courses (including two electives). Students also complete a research apprenticeship and higher education teaching practicum or equivalent experience.
The curriculum includes a combination of on-campus, hybrid, remote, and online courses each semester.
Every student must be available to attend on-campus courses each semester.
Scholarships to offset the cost of tuition may be available for first-year students. Students work with their advisors to identify additional funding possibilities available through external scholarships, internships, funded grant projects, teaching assistant opportunities and/or a mix thereof. Student funding support varies based on funding streams. Students can also elect to self-pay and thus, self-support.
Recommended Completion Time:4 to 8 years
Required Credits for Completion:75 Credits
We encourage students to review the concentration area choices on our website and we require that interested applicants contact one or more of the faculty associated with that concentration area for an appointment to discuss the program prior to submitting their application. This ensures the students have an opportunity to discuss their research area of interest, as well as introduce themselves to the faculty. Also, the financial support we provide our PhD students is often tied to federal and state funding decisions, so meeting with a faculty member will let you know if any funding opportunities will be available in the upcoming year.
As part of gaining admission to the PhD program, students are paired with a doctoral faculty advisor/mentor. The doctoral faculty may request a personal interview to complement the information provided in the application materials.
For more information, email Kristie Kauerz.
You can trust CU Denver to provide an education that will prepare you for excellence in your career as a faculty member or researcher. 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 & 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.