Experiential Learning, Flexible Options

Earn your master’s degree online, face-to-face or a combination of both in this flexible graduate program designed for working professionals. In UNC’s Special Education: Early Childhood program, you’ll develop a range of specialized skills to work with young children and their families. You’ll work closely with top faculty who are actively involved in teaching and research with local school districts and agencies. You’ll also benefit from extensive field-based learning opportunities that provide valuable classroom experience to advance your career.

UNC’s School of Special Education has been designated as a Center of Excellence by the Colorado Commission on Higher Education three times. We are also the top-ranked university in the state (and one of the top 10 in the nation) for online graduate programs in education.

Degree Details

Credits Required:



Denver + Online

Time to Completion:

2 Years

Cost Estimator

Degree Option

M.A. in Special Education: Early Childhood

The Early Childhood Special Education program is available in a fully online format, face-to-face at our main campus in Greeley, Colorado, or a combination of online and face-to-face weekend classes at the Denver Center at Lowry. Full-time students can usually complete the degree in two years. At the end of the program, you can earn either a master’s degree or a non-degree licensure in early childhood special education or both early childhood special education and early childhood education.

Take the next step! Explore courses, contact information and admission requirements.

Extended Campus Programs

Related Programs

Your Future in Special Education

Our program promotes an inclusive approach to early education and is distinguished by a strong student-faculty connection and flexible degree completion options designed for working educators. The program also includes extensive field-based experiences with children in three age-groups: birth to 2 years, 3 to 5 years and 5 to 8 years.

Consider UNC’s M.A. in Special Education: Early Childhood if you want to:

  • Work with diverse children from birth to age 8 and their families
  • Gain real-world experience in community-based settings
  • Learn in small classes with a high level of student-faculty interaction

You’ll learn:

  • Appropriate ways to work with children and their families across a range of abilities and cultural experiences
  • How to effectively collaborate with general educators and related services professionals
  • Evidence-based assessment intervention practices

Sample courses:

  • Family/Professional Partnerships
  • Typical and Atypical Early Child Development: Application to Early Childhood Special Education
  • Scientifically Based Literacy Interventions
  • Research, Policy and Advocacy in Early Childhood Special Education
  • Learning Environments and Cultural Considerations
  • Assessment, IEP Development and Instructional Planning

Silvia M. Correa-Torres


Rashida Banerjee, Ph.D.

Rashida Banerjee, Ph.D., is an associate professor and coordinator of the master's in Special Education: Early Childhood program in the School of Special Education at UNC. 

Her research areas and interests are: effective assessment of young children, especially issues around diversity; inclusive intervention for young children; teacher preparation; and effective community, family and professional partnerships. She's published numerous articles and book chapters, received several grants and presented more than 65 juried presentations at national and international conferences. She received the New Faculty Recognition Award from UNC's Office of Sponsored Programs in 2012.

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Beyond the Classroom

There is strong demand for early childhood special education teachers, with 32 percent growth predicted between 2010 and 2020 for preschool, kindergarten and elementary school teachers in Colorado. Growth is also strong for education administrators of preschool and childcare programs.

A master’s degree can increase your earning potential as well. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, on average, teachers with master’s degrees will earn $8,000 to $10,000 more each year than those with only a bachelor’s degree.

Where can your degree take you?

When you graduate, you’ll be ready to work in a variety of settings including public schools, childcare programs, early intervention programs and family support and home-based programs. Many of our graduates work in preschools, kindergartens or up to third grade.

What You Need to Know Right Now