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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) in Early Childhood Studies

Course Rationale 
Early childhood is the foundation stage for the development of human beings. Learning and developmental activities that take place during this stage have significant lifelong effect on the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual development of children. This stage, therefore, is important in the development of a healthy and well balanced adolescent and adult personality. As an interdisciplinary area requiring specialized expertise, competence in early childhood studies has been recognized as a prerequisite to competent training of teachers and lecturers in early childhood studies to enhance the developmental outcomes of children. Within Kenya, the demand for tertiary training greatly exceeds the availability of qualified lecturers in this field. Many universities, including Mount Kenya University, are providing B.Ed. level courses in Early Childhood Education and lower primary education. Consequently, preparation of qualified lecturers in Early Childhood Studies to handle students at post graduate level is vital.

Why study the programme
Capacity building in early childhood studies cutting edge programmes with well conceptualized coursework taught by highly trained professional. The present Ph.D. programme is through thesis only. The Department recognizes this weakness. Some students end up not completing the thesis while others take too long to complete. Also the depth and breadth of knowledge in the disciplines that comprise early childhood studies is not being sufficiently generated through the present PhD programme. A PhD (ECS) with coursework, examination and thesis would prepare the doctoral students for the supervisory, teaching leadership roles expected of them. Hence the Department is proposing coursework for its PhD (Early Childhood Studies) students.

Target Group
Holders of Masters Degree in Early Childhood Studies or any other

Programme objectives
By the end of the study the course shall enable the learner:

  1. To broaden their body of knowledge and understanding in early childhood education.
  2. To inculcate effective professional skills, abilities and competencies and advance their career in early childhood education and contribute to national development.
  3. To develop critical thinking, effective communication, analytical and leadership skills that will position them to meet challenges in early childhood education with today`s best practices.
  4. To advocate for children and be sensitive to the diverse needs of children and families in multicultural and inclusive educational environments.
  5. To develop the child`s ability in critical and creative thinking, problem solving and expression
  6. To develop ability to conduct educational research and acquire leadership managerial skills in early childhood education
  7. To develop the learner`s awareness, understanding and commitment in Professional ethics and education law, basic human rights and civil liberties, sound health practices and sound environment management and gender equity.
  8. To acquire a firm foundation that prepares him/her to take roles as University faculty member, senior-level educational manager and leader, policy maker, curriculum developer and researcher in early childhood education.

Entry Requirement
To qualify for admission into the PhD in early childhood studies, candidates must meet the following academic professional and other qualifications:

  1. Common regulations for all PhD in the University and in the School of Education will apply
  2. The following applicants shall be eligible for admission to the PhD programme in Early Childhood Studies.
    1. A holder of Masters degree in Early Childhood Studies from Mount Kenya University or any other University   OR
    2. A holder of a Masters degree in a related area with three or more years of experience in early childhood services.

Mode and duration of the programme
The PhD programme will consist of coursework, examination and thesis. It will be offered initially through the Residential/Regular (Full Time) mode, institution Based Programme and part time modes.
The course will take a minimum of three years and maximum of seven years as follows:

  1. During the first year of study, the candidate will be required to take nine (9) units of which five are core units;
  2. During the second year the student is expected to develop, defend and submit the proposal for dissertation.
  3. During the third and fourth years, the candidate will be required to collect and analyze the research data and write, defend and submit the thesis (6 units).


Download the most recent fee structure here

Application form

Applications can be downloded here , you can also submit your application online here

Programme start dates
January, May and September every year.

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