Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children
Photo: Kate Samp for Strategies for Children


The University of Massachusetts – Boston is launching its new PhD program in Early Childhood Education and Care. It’s an exciting step that promises to create new leadership paths for early educators.

As we blogged in October, “UMass has been actively developing new education pathways for early educators to help them lead both in the classroom and in the policy arena.”

Building on UMass Boston’s bachelor’s, master’s, and post master’s degree programs, the new PhD program will “produce future leaders who are prepared to transform opportunities and outcomes for young children through skilled research, policy development, and innovative practices.”

The program will be “both research-intensive and policy- and practice-oriented.” Student will use their knowledge to “address pressing, meaningful problems in the development of young children, especially in underrepresented and underserved populations, including those living in poverty, with disabilities or developmental delays, and from immigrant or refugee groups, within the U.S. and also in developing countries.”

This builds on UMass Boston’s strong commitment to social justice.

The PhD program has four areas of concentration:

• “Learning and Teaching in the First Five Years”

• “Leadership, Policy, and Finance in ECEC”

• “Urban, Multilingual, and Global Contexts for ECEC,” and

• “Individual Concentration,” which is for students “who have a focused interest that does not fall within one of these options, or that integrates themes from several concentrations;” these can “design their own concentration with faculty input and approval”

As Michael Middleton told the UMass Boston News last spring,”The threshold for entering professionals was always an associate’s degree, maybe a bachelor’s degree, so this is part of our comprehensive effort to raise the professional training and profile of this area of education.” The dean of the College of Education and Human Development, Middleton adds:

“We’re offering bachelor’s degrees for early childhood teachers, a master’s program for folks who have experience in the field, and now a PhD that meets the critical need of doing research in the field, both in policy and practice in early childhood.”

To learn more about the PhD program’s faculty and staff, click here.

The deadline to apply for the program is Friday, January 15, 2016. Application materials are posted here. And students will begin the program in the fall of 2016.

We’re looking forward to seeing students’ progress in the PhD program. We’re confident that training innovative, early education leaders today will pay off for the state’s youngest children tomorrow.