What does it cost?

Check out our cost calculator or visit student financial services for information on estimated costs.

How long will it take?

Minimum of 63 semester hours

Where will I take classes?
Atlanta Campus

Application Deadlines View Admissions Requirements

  • Fall: December 15
  • Spring: Does not admit
  • Summer: October 15

Early Childhood and Elementary Education, Ph.D.

Our early childhood and elementary education program will prepare you to be researchers and teacher educators in areas such as applied research, curriculum development, teacher education, literacy/digital literacy, multicultural education, science education, math education and more.

Our doctorate degree prepares you to move into various roles and content areas in the early childhood and elementary education fields.

You will learn to be active scholars informed in the historical, political, developmental and theoretical paradigms that shape education in today’s rapidly changing world. Through coursework, research and teaching apprenticeships and individual mentoring, you can become inquisitive researchers and reflective teacher educators equipped to affect the lives of children, their families and the larger society.

Meet the doctoral students in our Ph.D. program.

Program Highlights

Ideal Applicants

  • Want to understand children in society and their development
  • Think with theories regarding educational practices and issues
  • Interested in conducting research that adds to what’s known and possible in education
  • Enjoy developing future teachers and teacher educators
  • Want to promote scholarly advocacy that benefits children and families

ECEE Early Childhood and Elementary Education PhD program teacher reads book with young student

No single theory or research approach can solve the complex issues that affect children in a rapidly changing world. We believe collaborative, comprehensive research and scholarship are our most powerful tools for investigating and answering questions about children’s learning and education.

Our diverse faculty has expertise in qualitative and quantitative research and evaluation. Interweaving theory, research and practice, we inquire about how children’s learning is shaped by educational inequities across race, gender, (dis)ability and social class; educational globalization; community, home and school connections; culturally responsive pedagogy; urban education; and curricular and technological innovations.

We leverage this expertise to advocate for children’s learning in multiple contexts.

Program Details

Admissions Requirements

When applying to the Early Childhood & Elementary Education, Ph.D. program, you will need to submit the following:

  • Online Application
  • Application Fee of $50
  • Goals Statement (upload with the application)
  • Resume (upload with the application)
  • Writing Sample (upload with the application)
  • Two Letters of Recommendation (upload with the application)
  • Official Transcript(s): minimum master’s degree required for admission consideration
    • Submit transcripts from all colleges/universities attended either electronically to [email protected] or by mailing directly to Georgia State University | Office of Admissions | P.O. Box 4018 Atlanta, GA 30302.
  • GRE scores (Verbal, quantitative, and analytical subtests required): An official score on the Graduate Record Examination General Test is required for admission to Ph.D. programs in the College of Education and Human Development. While it is important to note that GRE scores are used along with other criteria established by departments and programs when determining admission, a score of 155 or higher on the verbal section and 151 or higher on the quantitative section will make the application more competitive.
    • institution code 5251
    • scores may not be more than five years old at time of application


  • Interviews will be conducted by department faculty — you will be notified if you are selected for an interview.

Program of Study

Doctor of Philosophy in Early Childhood and Elementary Education

A. Core Area (21)

The core area consists of 18 semester hours of research coursework and 3 semester hours of social foundation of education and psychology of learning coursework.

Research Core (18 hours)

Required (6):

  • EPRS 8500 Qualitative/Interpretive Research in Education (3)
  • EPRS 8530 Quantitative Methods and Analysis in Education (3)

Required (12):

  • A two-course sequence (6 hours) in research methodology (see below for specific tracks/courses)
  • Two courses (6 hours) in advanced research methods as identified by the Doctoral Advisory Committee

Quantitative Methodology

  • EPRS 8540 Quantitative Methods and Analysis in Education II
  • EPRS 8550 Quantitative Methods and Analysis in Education III (3)
  • EPRS 8820 Program Evaluation and Institutional Research (3)
  • EPRS 8830 Survey Research, Sampling Principles and Questionnaire Design (3)
  • EPRS 8840 Meta-Analysis (3)
  • EPRS 8660 Bayesian Statistics (3)
  • EPRS 9550 Multivariate Analysis (3)
  • EPRS 9560 Structural Equation Modeling (3)
  • EPRS 9570 Hierarchical Linear Modeling I (3)
  • EPRS 9571 Hierarchical Linear Modeling II(3)
  • EPRS 9900 Research Design (3)

Qualitative Methodology

  • ANTH 8010 Qualitative Methods in Anthropology (3)
  • EPRS 8510 Qualitative Research in Education II (3)
  • EPRS 8520 Qualitative Research in Education III (3)
  • EPRS 8640 Case Study Methods (3)
  • EPRS 8700 Visual Research Methods (3)
  • EPRS 9120 Poststructural Inquiry (3)
  • EPRS 9400 Writing Qualitative Research Manuscripts (3)

Single-Case Methodology

  • EPY 8850 Introduction to Single-Case Methodology (3)
  • EPY 8860 Applications of Single-Case Methodology (3)

Historical/Philosophical Methodology

  • EPSF 9850 Historical Research in American Education (3)
  • EPSF 9930 Philosophical Analysis and Method (3)

Measurement Methodology

  • EPRS 7920 Classroom Testing, Grading, and Assessment (3)
  • EPRS 8920 Educational Measurement (3)
  • EPRS 9350 Introduction to Item Response Theory (3)
  • EPRS 9360 Advanced Item Response Theory (3)

Social Foundations of Education and Psychology of Learning Core (3 hours)

In addition to highly specialized research in specific areas, doctoral students in the College of Education & Human Development must possess a deep understanding of comprehensive, theoretical principles and broad ideological conceptualizations.

Through historical, philosophical, sociological and anthropological inquiry, knowledge of social foundations fosters the types of speculative investigations essential for thorough understandings of those theoretical principles and ideological conceptualizations necessary to uphold the integrity of the Ph.D. degree.

The psychology of learning component is based on the following guiding principles: (1) Educational leaders make judgments that affect learning and (2) doctoral students should have a substantial understanding of the psychology of learning.

Select one (3):

  • EPSF 8270 Philosophy of Education (3)
  • EPSF 8280 Anthropology of Education (3)
  • EPSF 8310 Sociology of Education (3)
  • EPSF 8320 Politics and Policy in Education (3)
  • EPSF 8340 History of American Education (3)
  • EPSF 9260 Epistemology and Learning (3)
  • EPY 8030 Advanced Applied Behavior Analysis (3)
  • EPY 8050 The Psychology of Instruction (3)
  • EPY 8070 Understanding and Facilitating Adult Learning (3)
  • EPY 8080 Memory and Cognition (3)
  • EPY 8180 Learning and the School-Age Child (5 to 18 Years) (3)
  • EPY 8200 Advanced Developmental Psychology: Cognition and Intellect (3)
  • EPY 8220 Advanced Developmental Psychology: Personality and Socialization (3)

B. Major Area (27)

Required (12):

  • ECE 9360 Curriculum, Issues, and Historical Perspectives in Early Childhood and Elementary Education (3)
  • ECE 9800 Scholarly Inquiry (3)
  • ECE 9860 Evaluating and Interpreting Research in Early Childhood and Elementary Education (3)
  • ECE 9960  Advanced Theory and Research in Child Development (3)

Elective Courses (Minimum 15):

At least 12 hours of elective courses must come from within the department. Doctoral-level elective courses offered within the department include:

  • EPRS 9120/ECE 9120 Poststructural Inquiry (3)
  • ECE 9380/EPRS 9380 Discourse Analysis (3)
  • ECE 9393 Number and Operation in the Elementary Classroom (3)
  • ECE 9394 Geometry and Measurement in the Elementary Classroom (3)
  • ECE 9395 Rational Numbers and Algebra in the Elementary Classroom (3)
  • ECE 9396 Data Analysis and Probability in the Elementary Classroom (3)
  • ECE 9400 Teacher Development (3)
  • ECE 9420 Early Literacy Learning (3)
  • ECE 9810 Directed Readings (1-3)
  • ECE 9840 Socio-Cultural Issues in Early Childhood and Elementary Education (3)
  • ECE 9850 Research Seminar in Early Childhood and Elementary Education (3)
  • ECE 9890 Research Apprenticeship (3)
  • ECE 9910 Developing as a scholarly writer (3)

K-5 Mathematics Endorsement (optional):

As part of the coursework leading to this degree, students who hold a current teaching certification from the Georgia Professional Standards Commission may satisfy part of the K-5 mathematics endorsement requirements by completing four 9000-level courses (ECE 9393ECE 9394ECE 9395 and ECE 9396). To apply for the K-5 mathematics endorsement, students must also complete ECE 7740 Internship in Early Childhood Education I (3) while enrolled in one of the four specified 9000-level endorsement courses. ECE 7740 does not satisfy the 8000-9000 level-course requirements for the College of Education & Human Development courses applicable to the degree.

C. Dissertation (15)

Required (15):
ECE 9990 Dissertation (15)

Program total: Minimum of 63 semester hours

Funding Your Graduate Education

Cost of attendance and funding opportunities are integral to your decision to attend graduate school. Georgia State University is proud to offer a variety of funding opportunities, from assistantships to fellowships.

Awards and Assistantships

Various awards, assistantships and fellowships are available to new and current graduate students. We encourage you to contact your department, college, school or institute of interest to get more information about the assistantships and fellowships that they offer their students.

The Scholarship Resource Center offers guidance and support to students seeking financial assistance through scholarship opportunities, including this scholarship library.


The Office of Graduate Programs’ Fellowship Advisor works with students interested in applying for nationally prestigious and competitive fellowships. The Office of Graduate Programs also coordinates the application process for students applying to the Second Century Initiative, the Provost’s Dissertation Fellowship and the Dissertation Library Travel Awards.

Cost Calculator

Our calculator can help you get an idea of the costs associated with attending the university.



Graduates can begin careers as researchers and teacher educators at the university level, educators with nonprofit organizations and government entities concerned with children’s learning and development or advocates for children and families.


Early Childhood and Elementary Education
[email protected]

Mailing Address & Office Location
College of Education & Human Development
Suite 550
30 Pryor St. SW
Atlanta, GA 30303

College of Education Logo30 Pryor Street SW
Atlanta, GA 30303

The information shared provides an overview of Georgia State’s offerings. For details on admissions requirements, tuition, courses and more, refer to the university catalogs.