Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) PhD
The purpose of the PhD in Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) is to produce future leaders who are prepared to transform opportunities and outcomes for young children through skilled research, policy development, and innovative practices. This will be accomplished through a program that is both research-intensive and policy- and practice-oriented. The focus will be on using and developing knowledge to address pressing, meaningful problems in the development of young children, especially in underrepresented and underserved populations, including those living in poverty, with disabilities or developmental delays, and from immigrant or refugee groups, within the U.S. and also in low-income countries.
Through their research, students will address applied questions in policy and practice. The focus will be on young children, especially the first five years of life, a period often neglected in schools of education.
Why Apply to UMass Boston's Early Childhood Education and Care PhD Program?
The Early Childhood Education and Care PhD program is all about preparing the next generation of early childhood scholars, teachers, and social justice advocates. We believe in the benefits of working with a variety of research methods and theoretical approaches, learning with multiple mentors, and knowing how to think about children, families, and social justice as they apply to local and transnational contexts.
GRE or TOEFL (for international students only)
Letters of Recommendation
Master's degree in early childhood education or related field preferred; statement of purpose; transcripts; résumé; interview
Tuition information is posted on the Bursar’s Office website
|Curriculum Area||# of Required Courses||Credits|
|Core ECEC Courses||5||15|
|Research Team||2 (1.5 credits each)||3|
|Total||19 courses||63 credits|
Core ECEC Content Courses
- ECHD 701 Early Education and Care Policy
- ECHD 702 Advanced Child Development
- ECHD 704 Leadership and Change in Early Education and Care
- ECHD 705 The Science of Early Learning
- ECHD 706 Historical and Theoretical Foundations of Early Childhood
- ECHD 703 Translating Research Into Practice
In addition, students will take one quantitative and one qualitative research methods course offered by the departments of Counseling and School Psychology, Leadership in Education, or Public Policy and Public Affairs.
- ECHD 708 Research in Early Childhood Education and Care
ECHD 708 supports students in completing their second-year projects and honing their research skills.
Research Methods Electives
Students will elect at least three additional research methods courses from courses offered throughout the university.
Students will select at least three additional courses related to their concentration from courses offered throughout the university
- ECHD 707 Teaching Early Childhood Education and Care in Higher Education
- ECHD 709: ECEC Doctoral Seminar I
- ECHD 710: ECEC Doctoral Seminar II
We will prepare our doctoral students to:
- identify those early childhood-related problems and successes that are most important to study systematically
- conduct research in a spirit of collaborative inquiry
- conduct rigorous research that informs early childhood policies and practices
- design evidence-based interventions that are likely to support early childhood development and family well-being
- apply research methodologies well-suited to the problems being investigated
- take into account cultural, linguistic, social, and ability diversity
- be a highly effective faculty member or other early childhood leader
- Academic Positions in Tenure-Track and Lecturer Lines
- Researchers in Nonprofit Organizations
- State and Federal Government Staff
- Mona Abo-Zena, Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education and Care; Graduate Program Director, Masters' Programs in Early Childhood Education, College of Education and Human Development
- Serra Acar, Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education and Care, College of Education and Human Development
- Anne Douglass, Professor; Founder and Exec. Director Institute for Early Education Leadership and Innovation; Graduate Program Director, Post Master's Certificate Programs in Early Education and Care; College of Education and Human Development
- Lianna Pizzo, Associate Professor, Early Childhood Education and Care, College of Education and Human Development
- Songtian (Tim) Zeng, Assistant Professor of Curriculum and Instruction, College of Education and Human Development & Director of Research, Institute for Early Education Leadership & Innovation