Doctor of Philosophy in Education and Human Development, Inclusive Early Childhood Education

School of Education & Human Development


Degree: PhD

Classroom Type: Online and on campus classes

The PhD in Inclusive Early Childhood Education concentration prepares candidates to be faculty members, researchers, and leaders. Graduates will be at the forefront of change in the areas of early childhood education, early childhood special education, and early childhood multicultural/multilingual education.

Application​ deadlines

December 16, 2024


Office of Recruitment & Outreach

Program Details

Interest Categories: Education & Counseling

Campus: CU Denver

This program prepares scholars to define problems and conduct research that informs curriculum and policies aimed at promoting child- and family-centered early childhood education. This is with a focus on educating children across races, ethnicities, abilities, and languages. To do so, coursework is grounded in theoretical perspectives and methodological approaches.

Students in this program will:

  • Examine the theoretical literature that undergirds the study of child development, early childhood education, and early childhood special education.
  • Deepen knowledge of theory and research in child- and family-centered approaches in inclusive early childhood education. 
  • Develop the skills to conduct rigorous research related to culturally sustaining practices that demonstrates a commitment to diversity and inclusion. 
  • Conduct applied and translational research that makes connections among research, practice and policy to help reduce inequities in opportunities and outcomes for young children. 
  • Create, evaluate and improve preservice teacher education programs in child development, early childhood education, and early childhood special education. 
  • Advocate for and lead change to assure all children's growth and development in a variety of early childhood settings serving young children from birth through age eight. (Students particularly interested in deepening their knowledge in leadership for equity and who primarily hold careers goals to advocate and lead change within organizations should consult our EdD program in Inclusive ECE). 

Why the Doctor of Philosophy in Education and Human Development, Inclusive Early Childhood Education at CU Denver?


Teaching and Research Experiences

In this program, you can participate in teaching and research experiences early and throughout the program.

Build Your Dossier

Leverage opportunities to present, write and publish with your faculty to build your dossier.

Conduct a Dissertation Study

As part of course requirements, you will learn how to design and conduct a dissertation study.

Helpful Links & Documents

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Recommended Completion Time:4 to 6 years

Required Credits for Completion:75 Credits

Admission Requirements

We encourage students to review the concentration area choices on our website and understand the differences between the PhD and EdD in Inclusive ECE prior to submitting an application. We require interested PhD applicants in Inclusive ECE to contact one or more of the faculty associated with this concentration area for an appointment 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.

Application Dates

Application Opens: July 1, 2024
Application Deadline: December 16, 2024

Application Requirements

  • Minimum requirements:
    • Master's degree or equivalent
    • 3.5 GPA in graduate-level course work recommended
  • Recommendation Letters: three letters; two should come from faculty with whom an applicant has taken courses
  • Official Transcripts from all institutions attended
  • Resume/CV: Applicants must have and show evidence of relevant professional and/or academic experience.
  • Written Statement: In 4-6 pages (double-spaced, Times New Roman 12-point font or larger), discuss professional/educational experiences that led you to seeking a PhD, your research interests and their relationships to problems you have identified in the field, and a potential advisor with which you would like to work.
  • Writing Example: Examples include but are not limited to: Master's thesis or other course/seminar papers for prior coursework, and/or published materials such as articles, book chapters, and technical reports.
  • Application Fee: $50.00
  • Admissions Interview: Applicants who advance to the interview phase will be contacted to participate in an interview with concentration area faculty.
  • International Applicants only: Proof of English Language Proficiency (International applicants should review the following information regarding English language proficiency)

For more information, email Cristina Gillanders.

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 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.

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