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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.

Program Highlights

  1. Regularly ranked as a top 5 program by U.S. News & World Report
  2. Home to nationally recognized and award-winning faculty
  3. Work with faculty on cutting-edge education research
  4. Prepare to become a leader in education research and practice

Deadline to Apply

January 1 (summer/fall admission), October 1 (spring admission)

View admissions criteria

Faculty and Curriculum

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.

Tuition and Financial Aid

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.

Tuition rates Browse financial aid

Meet Your Advisor

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.

Find your advisor

Student Life

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 the PhD while continuing to work as teachers and administrators.

Book a campus visit

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.

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Part 1: Apply to the University of Georgia


  1. Submit an online application to the Graduate School
  2. Test scores (depending on your program)
  3. Unofficial transcripts (native language and English for international applicants)
  4. Three letters of recommendation

Part 2: Apply to this program


The program faculty may request additional materials from applicants. As you complete your application for the UGA Graduate School, you will be able to attach the following documents:

  1. Curriculum vita (CV) or resume
  2. Statement of purpose (short essay)
  3. Official transcripts
View full admissions requirements

Program Resources

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