PhD in Educational Theory and Practice (Early Childhood Education)
In this emphasis within the educational theory and practice degree, you will take coursework focusing on the study of young children; the adults who educate and care for them; the educational and care settings that serve them; and curriculum, pedagogy, and policy issues in early childhood education.
Our faculty’s areas of expertise and our course offerings emphasize issues of diversity in ability, culture, language, and social class manifested in children, practitioners, families, and early care and education settings; immigration and multiculturalism; socio-cultural, political, and historical contexts; and international/comparative studies of early schooling.
This program also addresses the needs and challenges of early childhood education and care locally, nationally, and globally by drawing on diverse theories and research traditions. Graduates are prepared for careers as early childhood education researchers, teacher educators, leaders, and policymakers.
- Regularly ranked as a top 5 program by U.S. News & World Report
- Home to nationally recognized and award-winning faculty
- Work with faculty on cutting-edge education research
- Prepare to become a leader in education research and practice
Overview of Academic Demands
The program of study includes 43 hours of coursework, preliminary and comprehensive examinations, a dissertation prospectus, and a dissertation. Required coursework includes theory and research on teaching or research on teacher education and seminars. You will also take at least four research methods courses, determined in consultation with your advisory committee. You are encouraged to take as many research methods courses as needed to accomplish your research.
Of your coursework, 22 hours focus on your specific interests within the field of early childhood education and include a teaching internship, coursework related to your area of emphasis, and 12 credits of electives. Electives may be from within or outside the College and might include courses in teacher education, elementary education, critical theory, language and literacy, child development, social studies, and science and mathematics education.
Additional information and disclosures regarding state licensure for professional practice in this field can be found at the UGA Licensure Disclosure Portal .
How to Apply
Part 1: Apply to the University of Georgia
The Graduate School handles admission for all graduate programs at the University of Georgia, including those in the College of Education. The Graduate School website contains important details about the application process, orientation, and many other useful links to guide you through the process of attending UGA at the graduate level.
Start A Graduate School Application
Part 2: Apply to the Ph.D. in Educational Theory and Practice (Early Childhood Education)
After filling out your application to the graduate school, please submit the following directly to the graduate programs office:
- A personal statement telling the doctoral admissions committee why doctoral education is being pursued; the questions and/or commitments about teaching, learning, and schooling pushing the applicant to further her or his education; what readings, theories, and/or research inform these questions; why the Doctoral Program of Educational Theory and Practice is an appropriate place to pursue such questions; the emphasis area (or areas) in which the applicant sees his or her interests fitting; and the personal and professional goals for obtaining a Ph.D. degree in Educational Theory and Practice;
- A writing sample that demonstrates the applicant’s ability for scholarly writing and engagement with intellectual ideas;
- A resume or curriculum vitae.
- Please note that at least one of the three references you provide to the graduate school should be a university faculty member who can attest to your academic potential, preferably from the master’s level.
Deadline To Apply
January 1 (Summer/Fall Admission), October 1 (Spring Admission)
Log Into Existing Application
Please use our online form if you have any questions for the department. Please be as specific as possible so that we may quickly assist you.
- Doctoral Assistantship Application (Due by January 15th)
The College’s programs are taught by dedicated faculty who are experts in a range of areas and are passionate about helping students succeed both in their programs and professionally.
Most graduate students at UGA are not assigned to a faculty advisor until after admittance. A close working relationship with your advisor is paramount to progressing through your program of study.
Almost all in-state students begin their studies at UGA paying limited tuition or fees. Please note that these amounts are subject to change and are meant to give prospective students an idea of the costs associated with a degree at the University of Georgia College of Education.
Students may qualify for a variety of assistantships, scholarships, and other financial awards to help offset the cost of tuition, housing, and other expenses.
Your experience begins with a doctoral orientation seminar that introduces foundational ideas, readings, and scholars in the field. We invite you to explore, read, think, collaborate, research, and share your ideas about educational theory and practice with researchers, teachers, and leaders in your area of emphasis.
The program is home to a mixture of full-time and part-time students. Most full-time students are supported through teaching and research assistantships. Most part-time students work on their Ph.D. while continuing to work as teachers and administrators.
See for yourself how much UGA College of Education has to offer! Schedule a tour of campus to learn more about the UGA student experience.