Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC), PhD

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The PhD program closely reflects and will directly enhance the University of Massachusetts Boston's mission, with its commitment to urban and global engagement and dedication to the public good. 

The purpose of the PhD in Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) is to produce future leaders who are prepared to transform opportunities and outcomes for young children through skilled research, policy development, and innovative practices. This will be accomplished through a program that is both research-intensive and policy- and practice-oriented. The focus will be on using and developing 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.

Through their research, students will address applied questions in policy and practice. The focus will be on young children, especially the first five years of life, a period often neglected in schools of education.

There are four areas of concentrations:

  1. Learning and Teaching in the First Five Years. This concentration can deepen students’ knowledge of theory and research in areas including developmental science; pedagogy for early learning; child assessment; curriculum studies in ECEC, curriculum theory and practice; and the design and evaluation of early learning programs in ECEC. 
  2. Leadership, Policy, and Finance in ECEC. Students choosing this specialization will be able to engage more deeply in the study of public policies, program and policy implementation, strategies for leading, organizing, and influencing change in early childhood systems; financing strategies; and political and economic analyses of early education and care. 
  3. Urban, Multilingual, and Global Contexts for ECEC. The concentration allows students to engage with multiple perspectives on the strengths and challenges of supporting young children’s success within one or more of these contexts. For example, students may focus on contextual issues related to a specific content area, such as literacy, or on a population such as children with disabilities, dual or multi-language learners, urban settings, or children in post-conflict situations.  
  4. Individual Concentration. Students who have a focused interest that does not fall within one of these options, or that integrates themes from several concentrations, may design their own concentration with faculty input and approval. 

For questions about the Early Childhood programs, please contact Early Childhood Education and Care at 617.287.7942 or echd@umb.edu.


Mona Abo-Zena, PhD, Assistant Professor, Early Care and Education

Maria Acevedo Aquino, PhD, Assistant Professor, Early Care and Education

Catherine Brayden-Calias, Lecturer, Early Care and Education

Rachel Chazan Cohen, PhD, Associate Professor, Early Care and Education

Anne Douglass, PhD, Associate Professor and Program Director, Early Care and Education

Lianna Pizzo, PhD, Assistant Professor and Program Director, Early Care and Education

Angela Stone-MacDonald, PhD, Associate Professor and PhD Program Director, Early Care and Education

Monica Yudron, EdD, Assistant Professor, Early Care and Education