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Free college admissions information from universities offering doctorate programs in elementary education is available from any of the featured schools listed on this page.

What will a PhD program in elementary education teach you? While each university offers its own specialized doctorate program, there are some commonalities between all graduate programs. You'll take core required courses, have your choice of specialization electives, and produce an original research dissertation.

Core Courses in Elementary Education PhD Programs

All doctoral students take a handful of required courses, which typically include elementary-age learning theory, teaching theory, and social context courses. Cultural diversity and learning-style diversity are extremely important concepts in elementary education—your PhD prepares you to design curricula and policies that reflect new research in these areas.

Within each specialization are additional required courses. For instance, if you're focusing on mathematics or science teaching for elementary students, you'll learn advanced concepts in that area. If you're focusing on curriculum development, you'll probably be required to take an interdisciplinary curriculum course as well as theory courses.

Elective Courses for Your PhD Program

Once you have the core courses out of the way, it's time to specialize your PhD program toward your particular interest. Some specializations include:

  • Early childhood education
  • Multicultural and diverse classroom teaching
  • English as a second language teaching
  • Disabilities studies
  • Integrated curriculum and instruction
  • Science and mathematics in elementary education
  • Writing and literacy development

You'll typically choose one or maybe two related interests to focus on for elective doctoral courses. These classes lay the foundation for your own research as you study what is already known about your specialization. Doctoral students who focus on science and math pedagogy are in highest demand at all levels of teaching and policymaking.

Research and Dissertation Requirements for PhD Programs

All doctoral programs require you to conduct original research that adds to the body of knowledge about elementary education. You'll take prep courses in qualitative and quantitative research, statistics, and analysis.

The required and elective courses you take through a university's PhD program prepare you for the ultimate goal: research and application of knowledge. When your dissertation is published, you'll truly be a member of an elite group of educators.

Find out "Where Elementary Education Teachers Work", or read up on "What You Might Study in a Master's of Elementary Education (MEd) Program".

Ready to search for a graduate degree in elementary education? Request free information from the featured teacher colleges below!