ECED PhD Program Information

focus group image Fall 2012

Early Childhood Program Vision

The vision of the early childhood program is to engage in and encourage lifelong learning and produce teachers, researchers and leaders who advocate for and create quality early childhood experiences in early care and education.

Early Childhood Education

The PhD program in Early Childhood Education will develop scholars and leaders in the field of early childhood. The program is guided by the conceptual framework of the Claudius G. Clemmer College of Education, at East Tennessee State University, and the principles of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

We believe in the vision of NAEYC for educating early childhood leaders. Our candidates will demonstrate the knowledge and skills of the NAEYC Core Standards for Professional Preparation. Upon completing the program, the doctoral candidates are expected to demonstrate:
Knowledge and response to culture, language, and ethnicity;
Teaching knowledge to become early childhood leaders/professionals; Knowledge and application of NAEYC ethical principles;

  • Ability to access and integrate a wide range of professional resources leading to mastery of relevant theory and research;
  • Inquiry skills in conducting research;
  • Flexible, diverse skills to work collaboratively and effectively with others;
  • A mastery level of oral, written, and technological communication skills;
  • Comprehensive skills as an advocate for children and their families.
Download the PhD in Early Childhood Education brochure .

Faculty Research Interests

  • Early Childhood STEM; Physics Pre-K through Age 8
  • Problem Solving in Toddlers
  • Teacher and Child InteractionsDefense
  • The Primary Learning Environment
  • Empirical Studies of Emergent Curriculum
  • Environmental Attitudes, Knowledge, & Behaviors of Young Children
  • Technology and Young Children
  • Early Childhood Literacy
  • Classroom Management
  • Assessment in Early Childhood Education
  • Mentoring
  • Teacher Dispositions
  • Pre-Service and New In-Service Teachers
  • Self-Regulation in Infants/Toddlers
  • Temperament in Infant/Toddlers
  • Conflict Resolution in Young Children



                                                                                                              Ruth Facun-Granadozo defended her disseration in October 2014.

                                                                                                     Dissertation Title: Developing Mastery in Phonemic Awareness, and

                                                                                                    Morphemic Awareness: A Multiple Case Study of  Preservice Early

                                                                                                           Childhood Educators.                                                                               

 Link to article on Ruth's research in Illuminated, in the ETSU Graduate School student research magazine.

Research focus of current PhD students

Working Title: Determining if Grandparents as Primary Caregivers of Pre-K through Third Grade Students In Northeast Tennessee Are Served Effectively.

Working Title: Preschool teachers' attitudes toward outdoor education programs for young children.

PhD Fellowships

Inquire about availability of PhD Fellowships when applying. Typically fellowships are offered for 3-year periods.


The PhD requires 69-72 semester hours distributed as follows:Students engaging in diversity drumming activity

Core Courses

  • ECED-6100 Hist. and Theoretical Basis for ECE - 3 credit hours
  • ECED-6200 Implications/Trends & Dvlp. of Children- 3 credit hours
  • ECED-6300 Soc. & Cult. Diversity in Families- 3 credit hours
  • ECED-6400 Seminar in Prof. Dvlp. and Leadership- 3 credit hours


  • ECED-6600 Processes of Language & Literacy Learning- 3 credit hours
  • ECED-6610 Teaching & Learning Env. & Impacts- 3 credit hours
  • ECED-6620 Leadership, Admin. & Supervision in ECE- 3 credit hours
  • ECED-6630 Paradigms of Inquiry-Based Constructivism- 3 credit hours
  • ECED-6640 Critical Analysis of Brain Research- 3 credit hours


The three collateral courses must be taken in the same academic area, as determined by the student, doctoral advisor, and collateral area advisor.

Other Credits

  • ELPA-7810 Educational Statistics- 3 credit hours
  • ELPA-7811 Quantitative Research- 3 credit hours
  • ELPA-7812 Qualitative Research- 3 credit hours
  • ELPA-7814 Analysis and Interp. of Research Designs- 3 credit hours
  • ELPA-7950 Advanced Research in EC and Seminar- 3 credit hours
  • ELPA-7000 Apprenticeship in Research (*required) - 3 credit hours
  • ELPA-7960 Dissertation (3 to 6 hours – repeatable) - 3 credit hours
  • ELPA-7990 Readings and Research (1 to 3 hrs – variable credit, if needed)


  • ECED-7000* Apprenticeship in Research (required as indicated under research)

*Choose one or two Apprenticeships in addition to ECED 7000 for a total of 3-6 hrs.

  • ECED-7001* Apprenticeship in University Teaching- 3 credit hours
  • ECED-7002* Apprenticeship in Dvlp. of Teachers - 3 credit hours
  • ECED-7003* Apprenticeship in Early Intervention - 3 credit hours
  • ECED-7004* Apprenticeship in Early Childhood - 3 credit hours


ETSU Early Childhood Program's First PhD Graduates

Angie Baker Fall 2014





Angie Baker, the second PhD Graduate, Fall 2014.

Dissertation Title: An Exploratory Critical Study of Questioning Strategies Posed by Early Childhood Teachers During Literacy Blocks





Helen Lane with Dissertation Committee


Dr. Helen Lane poses with members of her dissertation committee.  ETSU Early Childhood Faculty pose with Dr. Helen Lane, the first recipient of the ETSU Early Childhood Program PhD. Click here to read an article about Dr. Helen Lane receiving the first ETSU doctoral degree in Early Childhood in the Johnson City Press.

Dissertation Title: Influences of Caregiver-Child Interacations and Temperament on Cortisol Levels of Toddlers in Full-Day Childcare