Childhood Education

PhD in Teaching and Learning, Focus on Early Childhood and Childhood Education

The PhD in Teaching and Learning prepares you as a researcher or teacher educator dedicated to understanding children’s development and learning, and supporting them in their education from birth through elementary school. This rigorous doctoral program has a focus on Early Childhood and Childhood Education and will prepare you to conduct research in child development and education, including in specific content areas such as literacy, numeracy, and social studies.

What you'll learn
  • Qualitative and quantitative methodologies and how to apply them to academic research in education
  • How to develop and design a research proposal, implement a research agenda, evaluate results, and disseminate findings
How you'll learn

A Flexible, Highly Individualized PhD Program
The program of study is distributed among courses in the foundations, cognate areas, research, specialization, and dissertation research and preparation. You will be able to personalize your program around your individual interests and choose from such related areas of specialization as teacher education, curriculum development, child development, innovations in schooling, and specific content areas such as literacy, numeracy, and social studies.

Learn more about our doctoral degree requirements.

Work with Faculty on Shared Research Interests
Our faculty's research interests center on key themes in early childhood and childhood education, including: human and child development, social contexts of learning, the influence of culture on teaching and learning, multiple ways of knowing; familiies as partners in children’s learning, the uses of evaluation and assessment in teaching and learning, the impact of language and literacy development on children’s learning, and curriculum development. You'll have the opportunity to work closely with them on grants and studies as you as establish your own research agenda. 

Become Part of a Tight-Knit Research Community in a Global Urban Center
At NYU Steinhardt, you will have access to a world-class facility for conducting educational research. The PhD in Teaching and Learning is designed to prepare you for all aspects of the research process, including developing and designing a research proposal, implementing a research agenda, and disseminating findings. You will interact with a close community of fellow student researchers and receive close mentoring from faculty as you pursue educational research in the heart of New York City.

Each doctoral student is assigned a faculty adviser in the student’s chosen area of specialization. This adviser serves as an interim academic adviser until the student selects a doctoral dissertation adviser. Learn more about doctoral advising at Steinhardt. 

The full-time faculty affiliated with this program are:
Fabienne Doucet
Erin O'Connor
Okhee Lee

How to apply

See application requirements and deadlines for the PhD program in Teaching and Learning. Please indicate your interest in Early Childhood and Childhood Education on your application. 

We offer a competitive funding program for full-time PhD students that supports tuition and living expenses. See more information about the funding program or visit the Financial Aid website.

Applications to the PhD in Teaching and Learning will also be considered for NYU’s Institute of Education Sciences-funded Predoctoral Interdisciplinary Research Training (IES-PIRT) program if the applicants have relevant qualifications and express interests that align with IES-PIRT’s central themes. A separate application is not necessary. See the IES-PIRT program for more information.

Prepare for a career as a
  • Teacher educator or researcher in early childhood and childhood education in colleges and universities
  • Early childhood and childhood education specialist in government organizations and NGO's
  • Curriculum specialist or evaluator in early childhood and childhood education programs 
Contact Us

If you have any questions about prerequisites and requirements, please email

For all other information, please contact Erin O'Connor at or 212-992-9473