Early Childhood Special Education, Master of Arts
The Masters of Arts program in Early Childhood and Early Childhood Special Education (EC/ECSE) is designed to prepare outstanding early childhood educators to meet the unique educational needs of children from birth to age 8. This fully online blended program is designed to develop a range of specialized skills for individuals who work in classrooms and community-based settings with children who are at-risk and their families. At the end of the program, candidates may earn either a Master’s degree or a non-degree licensure in ECSE or both ECSE and EC.
Our program prepares leaders in early childhood with a strong focus on promoting families as partners, collaborative and cross-disciplinary service approaches, recommended intervention practices that are based on research evidence, and appropriate practices for work with children and their families across a range of abilities and cultural experiences. The program also includes extensive field based experiences with children in three age-groups- birth to 2 years, 3- 5 years, and 5-8 years.
The program supports 6 sets of Early Childhood standards as well as Early Childhood Special Education standards for the promotion of intervention in inclusive settings through the birth to age 8 age range. Sample courses include: Typical/Atypical Early Child Development; Curriculum and Instruction in Early Childhood; Applied Assessments in Early Childhood Research and Policy in ECSE; and Practicum Experience.
Additionally, due to small class sizes (maximum 20-25 students per course) faculty maintain a high level of personal interaction with the students.
To apply for this fully online program, candidates must have:
- A bachelor’s degree
- A GPA of at least 3.0 in prior coursework (or candidates with a GPA of less than 3.0, must obtain combined score of 900 and a 3.5 on analytic writing samples on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE)
- Pass the Elementary Content PLACE or Praxis II, or have an approved elementary teaching license.
- International candidates must attain a minimum score of 550 or 80 for the internet-based TOEFL examination
Applicants with disabilities and from minority groups are especially encouraged to apply
The EC/ECSE masters program consists of 30 credit hours of coursework and up to 6 credit hours of practicum experience. The program is designed for the working professional and is presented in a fully online format. Generous amounts of field experience are included in coursework to allow for a well-rounded graduate experience. You may need to take additional coursework to fulfill licensure requirements.
Upon graduation, teachers can work with young children between birth – 8 years old in inclusive settings such as Public schools, Child care programs, Early intervention programs (including Head Start and Early Head Start), and Family support and home-based programs. According to The Job Search Handbook for Educators (2009) there is some shortage of ECSE professionals across the country. Thus, prospective teachers can be confident that they will be able to find positions.
At the end of completion of Early Childhood program, candidates may earn either a Master’s degree or an endorsement. Those who have earned a master’s degree in another area may either apply for a second master’s degree or a non-degree licensure in early childhood special education. Candidates who wish to pursue an initial teacher’s license will take additional courses through the university’s Professional Teacher Education Program (PTEP).
Graduates of the program will earn either a masters degree and/or an Early childhood special education specialist endorsement. Additionally they may earn EC generalist endorsement, if they do not already have a license in early childhood education.
The program length is dependent on candidates’ prior coursework/ license/ degree and how many credit hours students may be able take in a semester. Students with an initial teaching license typically complete the program in two years. Students seeking initial teaching license will need to take some additional courses, which will extend the length of the program.
Visit our UNC catalog program requirements for admissions and other information.
- Please note the mandatory Introduction to Graduate Research (SRM 600) for masters students in special education.
- Advanced and core courses that are specific to this program.
- If you entered the program without a Colorado Teacher License, you may need one or more Prerequisite Licensure courses. These courses are not required if you are already a teacher in Colorado. View the Prerequisite Licensure Requirements for more details, or contact your program advisor.