Early Childhood/Early Childhood Special Education, Master of Arts

Program Purpose

The Master 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 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.

Students in classroomProgram Focus

 This 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 curriculum supports six 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.

Get Most Of Your Tuition Paid For!

If you live in a rural or mountainous region in Colorado you may be eligible to have over 85 percent of your tuition and fees paid for through a U.S. Department of Education grant. You can earn your MA through the fully online program or the hybrid program (weekend classes and online). Rural and mountainous regions are in great need of well-qualified EC/ECSE professionals, so the grant is paid back by just working in one of these high need areas.

Program Overview

The EC/ECSE master’s program consists of 30 credit hours of coursework and up to six credit hours of practicum experience.The program is designed for working professionals and the courses are offered in three formats:

  • Sixteen-week face-to-face format at UNC’s main campus in Greeley;
  • Sixteen-week fully online format
  • Eight-week hybrid format with a mix of classes Saturday and online through the Denver Center in Lowry

Generous amounts of field experience are included in coursework to allow for a well-rounded graduate experience.

Delivery Options Location Course Length Class Days In-State
Cost/Credit
Out-of-State
Cost/Credit
Face-to-Face Greeley, UNC Main Campus 16-week Varies
M-F
Tuition Estimator Tuition Estimator
Online* Anywhere 16-week Anytime Tuition Estimator Tuition Estimator
Hybrid*
(Face-to-Face & Online)
Denver Center at Lowry Extended Campus 8-week Saturday Program Snapshot Program Snapshot

*Online: When calculating costs, online courses will be charged an additional $15.00 per credit hour fee. However, the only student fees applied to this program are library and technology fees.

*Hybrid: In-state and out-of-state students pay the same per credit hour rate.

Upon graduation, teachers can work with young children between birth and 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 a shortage of ECSE professionals across the country. Thus, prospective teachers can be confident that they will be able to find positions and existing teachers will be able to increase their earning potential

Licensure

At the completion of the EC/ECSE 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 master’s degree and/or an Early Childhood Special Education Specialist Endorsement. Additionally they may earn an Early Childhood Endorsement, if they do not already have a license in early childhood education.

Time commitment

The program length is dependent on candidates’ prior coursework/license/degree and how many credit hours they are 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 additional courses, which will extend the length of the program.

Program Requirements

Visit our UNC catalog program requirements for admissions and other information.

  • Please note the mandatory Introduction to Graduate Research (SRM 600) for master’s 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.