May 19, 2019
Return to: PhD in Education–School of Education and Professional Licensure
In this specialization, students critically review the latest research to understand the complex family, cultural, societal, and developmental influences that affect child development and learning. Included in the coursework are topics such as child development, family partnerships, content knowledge, leadership, advocacy, social change, and professionalism. Through case studies and innovative technology, this program enables students to:
- Examine the quality of early childhood programs and policies.
- Research and present strategies to promote positive outcomes for young children.
- Evaluate the leadership characteristics necessary to be an advocate in the field.
The individual dissertation process enables educators to pursue original research in an effort to promote positive social change for young children, their families, and the early childhood field.
As a graduate of this program, students will be prepared to:
- Evaluate practices, programs, and policies in the areas of child development and learning.
- Engage in effective leadership practices to advocate for positive outcomes for young children and families.
- Evaluate responsible assessment practices to support healthy development and positive learning outcomes for young children.
- Demonstrate cultural responsiveness in interactions with children, families, community members, and early childhood professionals.
- Integrate professional resources to inform solutions to problems in early childhood.
- Synthesize a variety of perspectives to promote professional growth and positive social change in the early childhood field.
- Design research to address educational problems and contribute to the profession.
- Demonstrate the ability to conduct research that positively impacts social change.
Foundation Course (5 cr.)
Specialization Courses (30 cr.)
Doctoral Support Courses (11 cr.)
Core Research Sequence (15 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 8100 or 8110 must be completed prior to Residency 2 of the academic residencies. RSCH 8200 or 8210 and RSCH 8300 or 8310 must be completed prior to beginning the dissertation or attending Residency 3.
Advanced Research Course (5 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:
Completion of the Doctoral Capstone
*Students take this course for a minimum of 4 quarters and are continuously enrolled until completion of their Dissertation with final Chief Academic Officer (CAO) approval.
To complete a doctoral dissertation, students must obtain the academic approval of several independent evaluators including their committee, the University Research Reviewer, and the Institutional Review Board; pass the Form and Style Review; gain approval at the oral defense stage; and gain final approval by the Chief Academic Officer. Students must also publish their dissertation on ProQuest before their degree is conferred. Learn more about the dissertation process in the Dissertation Guidebook.
Note on Certification
This program is not intended to lead to teacher certification. Teachers are advised to contact their individual school districts as to whether this program may qualify for salary advancement.
Prospective Alabama students: State Authorization to provide a program related to the preparation of teachers or other P–12 school/system personnel does not indicate eligibility for an Alabama professional educator or professional leadership certificate. Applicants who complete an educator preparation program at a non-Alabama institution must apply for an Alabama professional educator or professional leadership certificate through the Alabama Certificate Reciprocity Approach. Current requirements may be found at www.alsde.edu.