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M.A. Early Childhood Special Education

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.

Learn more about Early Childhood Special Education M.A.

Choose your Delivery Option

The Early Childhood Special Education M.A. program  is designed for working professionals and courses are offered in two delivery options:

Program Overview

The EC/ECSE master’s program consists of 30 credit hours of coursework and up to six credit hours of practicum experience. Generous amounts of field experience are included in coursework to allow for a well-rounded graduate experience.

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

Program 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
  • 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.


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.

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.

Interested in Applying?

View Admission Requirements