Child Development & Early Education

Earn your PhD in Child Development & Early Education and prepare for a career in higher education, research or leadership. Designed for working professionals, this program offers courses at night or in mixed formats.

Program Features

  • Early childhood interaction
    48 credit hours post-master’s*
  • Tracks in Child Development or Early Childhood Education
  • Courses meet once a week in the evening or in mixed formats that could be in person or online, determined by the professor (e.g., five Fridays in person + 30% online)
  • All courses take place on TWU’s Denton campus
  • Small class sizes
  • Qualifying exam after completion of coursework
  • Dissertation required
  • Knowledgeable and supportive faculty with expertise in child development, early childhood education, child life and developmental psychology

*Individual requirements may vary

Course Requirements

Program Information

The PhD in child development & early education covers advanced content in child growth, development and early education, with options to study specific age groups from infancy through adolescence. Students receive integrative and interdisciplinary training in theory, application and research as well as advanced training in research methodology, statistics and qualitative analysis.

Gain marketable skills:

  • Ability to apply child development and early childhood education knowledge to professional and academic practice
  • Critical thinking skills
  • Academic/scholarly writing skills
  • Quantitative and qualitative research skills

Courses offered by semester

Faculty Advisors

Faculty from two departments serve as advisors for the child development & early education PhD students.

Advisors currently accepting students:

Career Opportunities

  • Faculty at a college/university
  • Child care administration
  • Early childhood education administration
  • Public policy
  • Federal or state agency positions
  • Research

Admission Requirements

Admission to the Ph.D. in Child Development & Early Education

Department Admission Contact:

Anna Stokes, M.S.

Application Deadlines

Rolling admissions
Priority Dates:
Fall - June 1     Spring - October 1     Summer - March 1 

Admission Requirements

  • GPA of 3.5 on previous graduate work
  • Relevant master’s degree or prerequisite equivalents for core area
  • Email addresses for three academic or professional references who can speak to your academic abilities and potential (they will be contacted with a link to upload their letter directly)
  • Vitae/Resume
  • Letter of intent - 500 word essay/goals statement that meets the following expectations:
    • The page layout should meet APA standards.
    • It should reflect your academic writing skills and have a professional tone.
    • It should include the date it was written and your name and return address.
    • The first paragraph should identify:
      • Who you are.
      • What degree program you are seeking.
      • What degree(s) you have already earned and include where you earned the degree(s).
    • The body of the letter should identify:
      • Your professional goals.
      • Why you believe that a degree from the Child Development & Early Education program at Texas Woman’s University will help you reach your goals.
      • Topics in child development or early childhood education that you are particularly interested in and/or passionate about.
      • Previous research experience and the type of research you would like to engage in as part of your doctoral degree.
      • Any faculty members that you would like to work with and explain why you would like to work with them.
      • Your strengths and skills that will help you to be successful in the program.
      • How you plan to use the degree after graduating.

Graduate Admission

Begin by reviewing your program's website to see if there are additional admission requirements and application deadlines prior to applying.  

  1. Apply online.
    Apply to Graduate Programs  via the TWU Online Graduate Application Portal following instructions below.  
  2. Submit transcripts to TWU.
    • Domestic Applicants must submit official transcripts for each college or university attended, both undergraduate and graduate. See the Information on Transcripts website for more details.
    • International Applicants are now required to provide an evaluation prepared by a NACES or AICE member evaluation service. International transcripts should not be sent directly to TWU. See the International Admissions website for more details.
  3. Submit Recommendation Requests
    If your program requires you to submit names for recommendations you will need to do it in the application.
  4. Pay the application fee.
    The $50 fee ($75 fee for International applicants), which applies to all new and returning applicants, can be paid by:
    1. Credit card - Pay Online through the application as the last step before submitting the application. The second portion of the application will not be available until the application fee has been received.
    2. Certified check or money order by mail or electronically - Payable to TWU, sent by mail to:
      TWU Admissions Processing, 304 Administration Drive, Suite 102, Denton, Texas 76204
      (include your full name and ID number).
    3. Cash (no personal checks) - Pay at the Bursar's Office. After paying, bring the receipt to Admissions Processing (down the hall in ACT).
    4. Fee Waivers - Graduate applicants who are certified McNair Scholars are eligible for a McNair Scholar Application Fee Waiver. TWU Alumni may be eligible for the Alumni Advantage Fee Waiver. Check your eligibility here: If eligible submit the request using the Application Fee Waiver Submission
    5. Following fee payment return to the application dashboard where supplemental application documents can be uploaded. The online application will list which documents are needed to fulfill the program admission requirements. You can also check the program's website.

For more information or assistance with the application or graduate admissions, visit the Graduate Admissions website.

Students who wish to apply for a Graduate Assistantship must meet the General Criteria for Appointment of Graduate Assistants


Melissa McInnis Brown, PhD
Associate Professor 

Page last updated 10:04 AM, March 26, 2024