Early Childhood Education

National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)

The early childhood field brings together families, professionals, programs, and agencies that influence every aspect of children’s lives, from prenatal development through age 8. Our Doctor of Education (EdD) with a specialization in Early Childhood Education prepares you to foster positive outcomes for young children and their families in roles such as early childhood teacher, teacher educator, researcher, policy maker, and other positions working with young children, families, and communities.*

Throughout the program, you will explore the complex familial, cultural, societal, and developmental influences that affect child development and learning. You will critically review current research in the field on topics such as child development, family partnerships, content knowledge, assessment, effective practices, leadership, and advocacy. Using real-world case studies and innovative technology, you will examine the quality of early childhood programs and policies, implement strategies to promote positive outcomes for young children, and evaluate the leadership characteristics necessary to implement effective change. The individual doctoral study process allows you to pursue original research in an effort to effect positive social change for children, families, and the early childhood field.

Minimum Completion Requirements

  • 79 quarter credits*
  • 1 face-to-face residency
  • Doctoral Writing Assessment (0 cr.)

Walden students have 8 years to complete their doctoral program unless they petition for an extension.

In general, students are continuously registered in the dissertation/doctoral study course until they complete their capstone project and it is approved. This usually takes longer than the minimum required terms in the dissertation/doctoral study course shell.

To complete a doctoral dissertation/doctoral study, 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/doctoral study process in the Dissertation Guidebook.

This sequence represents the minimum time to completion. For a personalized estimate of the number of your transfer credits that Walden would accept, call an enrollment advisor at 855-646-5286.

To satisfy these completion requirements, you must have access to a school or learning environment that has early childhood education programming.

Learning Outcomes

As a graduate of this program, you will be prepared to:
  • Evaluate practices, programs, and policies in the areas of child development and learning.
  • Engage in effective leadership practices, including collaboration and advocacy, to promote 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.
  • Create effective solutions to authentic problems in the early childhood field by integrating professional resources including technology.
  • Synthesize a variety of perspectives that are knowledgeable, reflective, and critical to promote professional growth and positive social change in the early childhood field.
  • Design research to address educational problems and contribute to the profession.
PhD vs EDD Early Childhood thumbnail graphic

Compare Walden’s Doctoral Education Programs

Walden offers both an EdD and PhD in Education with a specialization in Early Childhood to meet your career goals. View the chart to help you determine which program is right for you.

Course Sequence

Year Quarter Course Code Course Credits
Year 1 Quarter 1 Course Code EDDD 8002
or
EDDD 8006
Course Leading the Future of Education

Leading the Future of Education
Credits (5 cr.)

(5 cr.)
Year 1 Quarter 2 Course Code EDDD 8080 Course Child Development in the Critical Early Years Credits (5 cr.)
Year 1 Quarter 2 Course Code EDDD 8081 Course The Language/Literacy Continuum From Birth Through Age 8 Credits (5 cr.)
Year 1 Quarter 3 Course Code RSCH 8110 Course Research Theory, Design, and Methods Credits (5 cr.)
Year 1 Quarter 3 Course Code EDDD 8113 Course Tools for Doctoral Research Success Credits (3 cr.)
Year 1 Quarter 4 Course Code EDDD 8082 Course Meaningful Learning Experiences in Supportive Environments Credits (5 cr.)
Year 1 Quarter 4 Course Code RSCH 8210 Course Quantitative Reasoning and Analysis Credits (5 cr.)
Year 2 Quarter 5 Course Code EDDD 8083 Course Assessment Practices to Promote Healthy Development and Learning Credits (5 cr.)
Year 2 Quarter 5 Course Code EDDD 8084 Course Evaluating and Supporting Early Childhood Programs Credits (5 cr.)
Year 2 Quarter 6 Course Code RSCH 8310 Course Qualitative Reasoning and Analysis Credits (5 cr.)
Year 2 Quarter 6 Course Code EDDD 8114 Course Demystifying Doctoral writing for Research Credits (3 cr.)
Year 2 Quarter 7 Course Code EDDD 8085 Course Inspired Leadership, Informed Advocacy, and Improved Policy Credits (5 cr.)
Year 2 Quarter 7 Course Code EDDD 8910 Course Completing the Prospectus Credits (3 cr.)
Year 3 Quarter 8 Course Code EDDD 8990 Course Completing the Doctoral Capstone Credits (5 cr. per term for a minimum of 4 quarters until completion)
Year 3 Quarter 9 Course Code EDDD 8990 Course Completing the Doctoral Capstone Credits (5 cr. per term for a minimum of 4 quarters until completion)
Year 3 Quarter 10 Course Code EDDD 8990 Course Completing the Doctoral Capstone Credits (5 cr. per term for a minimum of 4 quarters until completion)
Year 3 Quarter 11 Course Code EDDD 8990 Course Completing the Doctoral Capstone Credits (5 cr. per term for a minimum of 4 quarters until completion)
Year Year 4 - 8† Quarter Course Code EDDD 8990 Course Completing the Doctoral Capstone Credits (5 cr. per term for a minimum of 4 quarters until completion)

Doctoral Writing Assessment

Course Code Course Credits
Course Code DRWA 8000 Course Doctoral Writing Assessment Credits (0 cr.)

*Research companion course to be taken in conjunction with other course in the term.

You will be registered for two courses every 11 weeks, following the completion of your Foundation course. Students who wish to reduce their course load during one or more terms should contact their academic advisor.

Career options may require additional experience, training, or other factors beyond the successful completion of this degree program.

Note: Time to completion and cost are not estimates of individual experience and will vary based on individual factors applicable to the student. Factors may be programmatic or academic, such as tuition and fee increases; transfer credits accepted by Walden; program or specialization changes; unsuccessful course completion; credit load per term; part-time vs. full-time enrollment; writing, research, and editing skills; use of external data for the doctoral study/dissertation; and individual progress in the program. Other factors may include personal issues such as the student’s employment obligations, caregiving responsibilities, or health issues; leaves of absence; or other personal circumstances.
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