PhD in Infant and Early Childhood Development2021-11-10T18:27:13+00:00
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PhD  in

Infant and Early Childhood Development

with an emphasis in mental health and developmental disorders.

[pictured: Dr. Terry Gomez, IECD Alum, Class of 2020]


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Ph.D. in Infant and Early Childhood Development

The Fielding Ph.D. in Infant and Early Childhood Development (IECD) with an emphasis in mental health and developmental disorders is a degree serving multiple disciplines as they apply their work using the lens of infant mental health (IMH) and development. The program was initiated by Stanley Greenspan, MD, and Serena Weider, Ph.D., to promote research supporting relationships, individual differences, and development (DIR®) in working with infants, children, and their families. The field of Infant and Early Childhood Development is exciting and highly rewarding. The first years of life lay the foundation for all domains of human development, including the basic relationship building blocks needed for the capacities to feel, love, adapt, and develop a sense of self. The program is interprofessional in structure, including mental health professionals (Clinical and counseling psychologists, MFT, SW), OT, PT, SLP, medical professionals (MD, RN), social services professionals as well as educators and policymakers.

IECD Program Director Jenene Craig, PhD

Upcoming Events

Wed 19

PhD in Psychology – Info Session Webinar

January 19 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm PST

With a core emphasis in IMH, the underpinnings of the IECD program currently include an integrative relationship-based model focused on the development and individual differences. Through Fielding’s progressive doctoral program, professionals expand their content knowledge through research, leading the field with evidence-based practice.  Students study interprofessional perspectives about concepts associated with an infant’s and family’s well-being, including culture, policy, and advocacy as well as neurodevelopmental, biological, social-emotional, sensorimotor, language, cognitive, and family systems. Course work fosters evidence-based perspectives of healthy relationships in infancy, early childhood, and families across disciplines as well as treatment models.

The program is focused on applied research in IMH and development, including how intervention programs, policies, and issues, such as culture and social relationships, influence development, and families.  The program is designed for professionals already working in related fields including psychology, occupational therapy, social work, counseling, mental health, education, early intervention, speech-language pathology, nursing, physicians, physical therapy, and others.  Research initiatives address a wide range of developmental challenges and disorders, including autism spectrum, sensory integration, ADHD, and mood disorders.

Graduates from this research-focused Ph.D. program will be prepared for several careers in research, policy and advocacy, and clinical/educational settings.

Thank you for your interest in IECD.

  • Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0
  • Online Application Form
  • Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Critical Thinking Writing Sample
  • 2 Letters of Recommendation
  • Official Transcript
  • No GRE Required

Start your application NOW! 

Dana Johnson PhD, MS, OTR/L
Dana Johnson PhD, MS, OTR/L
Founder of Invictus Academy Tampa Bay
Cheryl Andrea Rock, PhD
Cheryl Andrea Rock, PhD
Principal of the Derrick Smith school and vocational Centre
Joleen R. Fernald, PhD, CCC-SLP, BCS-CL
Joleen R. Fernald, PhD, CCC-SLP, BCS-CL
Carrie Alvarado, PhD, OTR
Carrie Alvarado, PhD, OTR
Robin Hauge, PhD
Robin Hauge, PhD

Why Choose Fielding’s PhD in Infant and Early Childhood Development Program?

Engage in Interprofessional Scholarship

The IECD Ph.D. program with an emphasis in Mental Health and Developmental Disorders was originally founded in 2009 by Stanley Greenspan, MD, and Serena Weider, Ph.D. under the Interdisciplinary Council on Development and Learning (ICDL), a non-profit organization.  On January 22, 2015, this nationally recognized doctoral program was acquired by Fielding Graduate University, became accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WSCUC), and currently resides within the School of Psychology (SOP)ICDL remains the official home of DIR® and DIRFloortime®, providing training courses for professionals and parents for now over 30+ years.

More Information
The Interdisciplinary Council on Development and Learning (ICDL)
The Alliance for the Advancement of Infant Mental Health

The IECD program is a partner with the Alliance for the Advancement of Infant Mental Health (Alliance). The Alliance is a global organization of those states and countries whose infant mental health associations have licensed the use of the Competency Guidelines® and/or the Endorsement for Culturally Sensitive, Relationship-Focused Practice Promoting Infant Mental Health® (Endorsement®) under their associations’ names.

More Information

Fielding and Profectum™ – Articulation Agreement.

Two organizations offering education and advanced training, Fielding Graduate University and Profectum, have an articulation agreement to collaborate and expand the outreach of both clinical practice as well as research. Fielding’s IECD doctoral program and Profectum™ entered into this academic agreement to provide students expanded opportunities for both increased academic study and research, and certification, respectively.

More Information

Dr. Jenene Craig’s Doctoral Journey

Jenene Craig, PhD, discusses her doctoral journey. Dr. Craig is the program director for the Infant and Early Childhood and Development (IECD) program at #FieldingGraduateUniversity. IECD offers both a doctorate and master’s degree program. Find out more at

Fielding Graduate University open triangle

Infant and Early Childhood Development News

The latest news, special events, and announcements from the IECD program.

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