News: Featured Stories

May 18, 2015

Classes for UMass Boston’s New Education PhD Programs Start This Summer


  • Boston
UMass Boston Adds Graduate Programs in Early Childhood Education and Leadership in Urban Schools

Classes will begin this summer for students in UMass Boston’s new Leadership in Urban Schools EdD/PhD program. The Board of Higher Education approved the new degree program, along with a new Early Childhood Education PhD program, late last year.

College of Education and Human Development Dean Michael Middleton says a doctoral degree in the Leadership in Urban Schools program gives students the opportunity to go on to leadership positions in schools and research positions at universities and policy centers.

The mission of the program is to develop dedicated, critical, and reflective leaders seeking to improve urban education through research and practice.

“It meets a critical need in the area. We've got so many schools and school systems that are lacking strong, trained leaders.  We are trying to meet the demands of our communities, and provide an urban focus,” Middleton said. “There are other leadership programs that don't have that particular emphasis that I think our university and faculty are best-prepared to tackle.”

Program Director Tricia Kress says that the program will admit a single cohort of EdD and PhD students who take all core coursework together; students choose which degree and concentration areas they wish to pursue based upon their career interests.

Concentration areas include administration and leadership; teaching, learning, and leadership; research and measurement; and comparative and international education. The first cohort will start this summer.

Middleton says the Early Childhood Education PhD also meets a critical need.

"The threshold for entering professionals was always an associate's degree, maybe a bachelor's degree, so this is part of our comprehensive effort to raise the professional training and profile of this area of education,” he said. “We're offering bachelor's degrees for early childhood teachers, a master's program for folks who have experience in the field, and now a PhD that meets the critical need of doing research in the field, both in policy and practice in early childhood.”

Program Director Rachel Chazan Cohen says the program will be both research-intensive and policy- and practice-oriented, with a focus on using and developing knowledge to address pressing, meaningful problems in the development of young children, especially in underrepresented and underserved populations.

There are four areas of concentration: learning and teaching in the first five years; leadership, policy, and finance in early childhood education and care (ECEC); urban, multilingual, and global contexts for ECEC; and individual concentration. The first cohort will enroll in the fall.