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School of Education - George Mason University

PhD Early Childhood Education / Early Childhood Special Education Specialization

The PhD in Education with a specialization in early childhood and early childhood special education (EC/ECSE) is individualized, interdisciplinary, and experiential.  Students plan their own programs to meet self-defined goals with the guidance and support of faculty advisors. EC/ECSE courses can be applied to primary or secondary specialization areas.

If you have questions about this specialization, please contact the specialization representative, Christan Coogle.

About the Specialization

Many of the most well-respected educators and policymakers in the world have advanced degrees in early childhood education.

What Will You Learn?

The specialization features coursework and applied internships that enable you to learn:

  • Theory and research in early childhood and early childhood special education across the developmental spectrum
  • Foundational knowledge about early childhood teaching and learning at all levels
  • Research methodologies to address a variety of early childhood and early childhood special education topics
  • Specialized knowledge in early childhood education related to your area of interest

How Will You Learn?

Your advisor will guide your doctoral experience by supplementing coursework with professional experiences, including:

  • Attending and/or presenting at professional conferences
  • Independent study
  • Teaching and/or co-teaching
  • Writing, editing, and reviewing for scholarly journals

Where Can This Specialization Take You?

Graduates of this specialization hold professional positions such as:

  • Academic faculty at post-secondary institutions
  • Consultants with private companies, education and research think tanks, and non-government organizations
  • Curriculum leaders in major K-12 school districts

Specialization Courses

Each student prepares an individual program of study in consultation with their Program Advisory Committee. The following courses can be taken as part of a student’s primary or secondary specialization coursework:

See additional coursework required as part of the PhD in Education degree.

Our Graduates

El'Tanya Brown, PhD 2020

  • Dissertation Title: Not the Woman I Once Was: How Turning Points Shape the Trajectories of Military Mothers Parenting Young Children with Disabilities
  • Dissertation Chair: Dr. Colleen Vesely

William Harry Rodick III, PhD 2020

  • Dissertation Title: Parallel Societies: A Community School in the Context of Gentrification
  • Dissertation Chair: Dr. Colleen Vesely

Rabaah Alqassem, PhD 2019

  • Dissertation Title: Early Writing in Saudi Arabian Kindergarten Classrooms: The Role of Teacher Preparation in Developing Young Writers
  • Dissertation Chair: Dr. Julie Kidd

Rhode Fernandez, PhD 2019

  • Dissertation Title: Observational Study of Head Start Teachers' Verbalizations and Their Relationship to the Mediated Learning Experience Rating Scare Scores
  • Dissertation Chair: Dr. Susan Burns & Dr. Julie Kidd