2014-2015 Walden University Catalog (June 2015) 
    Dec 07, 2021  
2014-2015 Walden University Catalog (June 2015) [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Early Childhood Education - PhD in Education

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As the demographics of the family and workforce change, the nation is increasingly turning its attention to the critical need for early childhood development and education. The Early Childhood Education specialization guides educators in gaining the expertise needed to create and implement new educational program practices, to apply emerging research on development for children ages 0–8, and to conceptualize new paradigms for early learning at home and in settings for early care and education.

The core KAM curriculum in the foundational social and behavioral sciences is aimed at a range of unique early childhood topics and research perspectives.


The PhD in Education program requires mastery of knowledge in three areas:

  • The foundational social and behavioral sciences
  • Scientific inquiry and research methodology
  • The student’s specialized field chosen from a broad range of professional education studies

Core Research Sequence (12 cr.)

Courses composing the core research sequence are conducted online and require weekly readings, participation in discussions, and assignment completion. Course instructors guide discussions and evaluate discussion and application assignments. RSCH 8100D must be completed prior to Residency 2 of the academic residencies. RSCH 8200D and RSCH 8300D must be completed prior to beginning the dissertation or attending Residency 3.

Specialized KAMS V–VI (24 cr.)

Specialized KAM V: Theories of Intelligence, Learning, and Motivation in Early Childhood Education (12 cr.)

This KAM is an analysis of intelligence and motivation theories applicable to the child from birth through age 8. Implications for educators, political leaders, policy-makers, and early childhood advocates are examined. Fiscal policy and imperatives are explored in relation to programming for varied learning and motivational styles.

Specialized KAM VI: Critical Issues in the Organization and Planning of Early Childhood Education Programs (12 cr.)

Critical issues are explored in the organization and planning of early childhood programs, including theoretical perspectives on early childhood education organization, developmentally appropriate practices, and environmental and advocacy issues in early childhood organizational contexts. Depth and Application sections examine licensure and accreditation standards, role of federal and state governments, policy and resource allocation, cultural and linguistic diversity, family involvement, ramifications of current brain research for program development, and application of early childhood education programs with focus on theory, design, execution, and evaluation.

Advanced Research Courses (4 cr.)

Those enrolled in this specialization are required to complete an advanced research course. The university offers three advanced research courses: quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-methods. When the prospectus is approved, students will take the advanced research course selected as the methodology approved for the dissertation.
Students are required to complete one of the following courses:

Note on Licensure

For initial licensure or adding endorsements (e.g., new teaching fields) to existing licenses, individuals are often required to complete a state-approved licensure program. Walden offers Minnesota state-approved licensure programs in special education, early childhood education, and P–12 principal licensure.

Additionally, not all of Walden’s programs include a practicum or cover the grade span of K–12, which are requirements for obtaining an endorsement in some states, especially in the area of reading.

The graduate degree program and coursework within the program in which you are enrolling is accepted by many states toward upgrading or renewing a license or obtaining a salary increase (depending on state or district policy).

Prospective students seeking licensure must research their state licensure requirements to determine (1) if they are required to complete a state-approved licensure program, and (2) if there are any other requirements that apply, especially requirements pertaining to programs provided by out-of-state (except Minnesota) or online institutions.

Walden enrollment advisors can provide guidance on licensure issues; however, it remains the individual’s responsibility to understand and comply with all state licensure requirements. Walden makes no representation or guarantee that completion of Walden coursework or programs will permit an individual to obtain state licensure or endorsement. For additional guidance on licensure issues, please refer to www.WaldenU.edu/educlicensure.