Doctor of Philosophy in Early Child Development and Education

Total Semester Credit Hours Required

A minimum of 90 semester credit hours above the bachelor’s degree, including 6 semester credit hours for dissertation. 30 of the 90 hours must be research courses. Consult with advisor for approved research courses.

Special Requirements

No grade below B is accepted towards any graduate degree in the Department of Family Sciences. If more than one grade below B is earned while enrolled in any Family Sciences graduate program, the student will be dismissed from the program.

Degree Plan

Students must submit a degree plan which follows the degree requirements listed below. The degree plan should be developed in collaboration with the student's advisor and committee, and it should be filed after the student has completed 18 hours of course work.

Research Tools

The Department of Family Sciences requires students to complete 12 hours of research tools. The department has a list of courses that meet the research tool requirement, and these courses are part of the degree requirements listed below. They are also included in the 30 hours of research focused course work required by the Graduate School. 

Qualifying Exam

The Department of Family Sciences administers a qualifying exam for each student prior to admission to candidacy. The student must complete the required research tools before being eligible to take the exam. Students may opt to take the qualifying exam in their last or second-to-last semester of course work. In no case may a student be excused from the qualifying exam, and students may not register for dissertation hours (FS 6983 and FS 6993) until they have successfully passed the exam and have been admitted to candidacy. The qualifying exam may only be repeated once. Students who fail two attempts at the qualifying exam will be dismissed from the program.

Final Examination

A comprehensive oral examination will include a defense of the dissertation and the research on which it is based. The final examination may only be repeated one time.

Prerequisites (15 hours)
The following courses or equivalencies:
Theories of Child Development
Statistics for Family Sciences
Research Methods in Family Sciences
Lifespan Human Development
Child Growth and Development in Early Childhood
Theories of the Family
Curriculum Development in Early Childhood
Early Child Development and Education Core (12 hours)
FS 6513Language and Cognitive Development in Young Children3
FS 6653Seminar in Developmental Theory3
FS 6673Advanced Seminar in Early Childhood Education3
FS 6923Research in Family Sciences (with consent of advisor)3
Family Science Doctoral Core (9 hours)
FS 6003Advanced Study of the Lifespan3
FS 6403Theory Building in Family Sciences3
FS 6443Research and Issues in Family Sciences3
Research Core (21 hours)
FS 6193Advanced Statistics for Family Sciences3
FS 6203Frameworks and Ethics for Qualitative Research in Family Sciences3
FS 6693Advanced Quantitative Research Methods In Family Sciences3
FS 6793Advanced Qualitative Research Methods In Family Sciences3
FS 6893Multivariate Statistics3
FS 6983Dissertation3
FS 6993Dissertation3
Select one of the following specializations:12
Child Development Specialization (12 hours)
Select 4 from the following:
Child Growth and Development in Early Childhood
Adolescents Development Within the Family
Play, Development, and the Young Learner
Child Guidance
The Development of Infants and Toddlers
Early Childhood Education Specialization (12 hours)
Social and Cultural Dimensions of Early Language Development
Foundations of Early Childhood Education
Select 2 from the following:
Observation and Assessment in Early Childhood
Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM) in Early Childhood Education
Brain-Based Learning for the Young Child
Professional Development (6 hours)
Select 2 from the following:6
Academic Life and Scholarship
Effective College Teaching Methods
Grants Writing in Family Sciences (research focused course)
Practicum in Family Sciences (with consent of advisor)