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Early Childhood Education

Early Childhood Education


Early Childhood Education Ph.D. - Norman Campus

The Instructional Leadership and Academic Curriculum Ph.D. with emphasis in Early Childhood Education at the University of Oklahoma prepare students to be leaders in our field. Graduates of our program are qualified for a variety of professional roles. For example, our graduates work as expert teachers, mentors, administrators, advocates, researchers, instructional coaches and higher education faculty.

Students pursuing an Instructional Leadership and Academic Curriculum doctoral degree (with early childhood emphasis) deepen their knowledge and understanding of children, teaching, and learning. Qualified students can also take courses to meet the requirements for Oklahoma early childhood certification.

Child playing with blocks on wires

Students in the Instructional Leadership and Academic Curriculum doctoral program will take courses in: Theoretical Issues in the Curriculum and Instruction, Teaching and Learning, Cultural Diversity, Research Methodology, and the Specialization Area in which they are admitted.

New doctoral students in the Instructional Leadership and Academic Curriculum program also take a proseminar the first fall of their residency to orient them to the field, introduce them to professors, administrative leaders, and fellow students on campus, and to socialize them to the ethos of doctoral study and the academy.

Doctoral programs are designed for present and prospective service faculty positions in colleges and universities, public schools, and other education and training agencies in government and the private sector.

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) program in Instructional Leadership and Academic Curriculum is directed toward the development of scholarly expertise in a field of study and is intended to serve individuals who have promise of making contributions to their areas of expertise.

Prospective students are encouraged to seek additional information by contacting the college graduate programs officer, Mike Jenkins or the department chair, Dr. Kristy Brugar.

Core: 24 hours (minimum)

  • ILAC 6013 Proseminar in Instructional Leadership and Academic Curriculum (3 hours)
  • ILAC 6023 Theoretical Issues in Instructional Leadership and Academic Curriculum (3 hours)
  • ILAC 6003 Curriculum Theory (3 hours)
  • ILAC 5233 Understanding Different Cultures (3 hours)
  • Research Methodologies 12 hours (minimum)

Concentration: 36 hours (minimum)

The concentration focuses on specializations within the field of Instructional Leadership and Academic Curriculum.  Studies undertaken shape the thematic issues in the students' programs, with either a broad Instructional Leadership emphasis or a specific program area emphasis.

Courses for all concentrations focus on (1) the specialization areas and (2) related educational areas, including academic disciplines.  

Requirements and distribution of hours are specified by each program area (see program advisor).  For all concentrations, courses are selected based on program criteria and students' professional interests and goals.  Programs of study must be approved by the advisor and members of the doctoral committee.  

Electives: 12 hours (maximum)

Electives allow the student and advisor some flexibility in including coursework that either (1) extends the number of hours in areas such as research methodology, but does not include dissertation hours, or (2) includes previously taken graduate course hours that do not fit existing categories.  Courses will be selected based on the students' professional interests and goals and approved by the advisor and doctoral committee.  

Dissertation: 9-12 hours

Additional hours beyond the maximum 12 may be taken but will not be included as part of the 90-hour program.

TOTAL HOURS: 90 hours beyond the Bachelor’s Degree

Visit the Course Catalog for course descriptions.

All ILAC programs consider applications on a rolling basis.



Early Childhood Education Ph.D. - Tulsa Campus

The University of Oklahoma offers the Ph.D. in Instructional Leadership and Academic Curriculum with a concentration in Early Childhood Education in its entirety on the Tulsa campus. Course delivery is typically in the evenings.  If enrolled full- time, coursework can be completed in three years. Part-time enrollment will result in more time needed to complete courses.  Coursework is followed by the writing of a doctoral dissertation. Time for completion of the dissertation varies from candidate to candidate.

The Ph.D. program is designed to prepare faculty researchers and leaders serving young children (birth through age eight) and their families, in multiple settings. The program will have a strong focus in research, leadership, and advocacy, as well as infant/toddler studies.

Child playing with blocks