With a graduate degree in early childhood education, you’ll be empowered to help children get the best possible start in life.
You may already be an early childhood teacher looking to elevate your practice, or you may be looking to transition into education from another career.
No matter what situation you find yourself in, there’s a graduate program that can help you become a transformative educator for young children.
What are the options for a master’s degree in early childhood education?
There are two main pathways to earning a master’s degree: in-person or online.
In-person programs offer the chance to connect with faculty members, advisors, mentors, and peers on a personal level. With a residential program, you’ll have access to on-campus resources and a consistent structure to your schedule. For many students, this is the ideal format for earning a master’s degree.
However, it isn’t the only option. Online graduate programs offer more flexibility for students who have a family or a full-time job. These distance learning opportunities are perfectly suited for students who don’t live within commuting distance of a high-quality university and want to avoid the cost and hassle of relocating.
If you think you would be a good candidate for a distance learning program, visit our ranking of the Best Online Master’s in Early Childhood Education Degrees.
How much can you earn with a master’s degree in early childhood education?
In the early childhood field, salary tends to increase with experience. With an M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education, here’s what you can expect to earn during different phases of your career (data from PayScale):
- Less than one year of experience: $38,000 annually
- Five to nine years of experience: $43,305 annually
- Between 10 and 19 years of experience: $47,821 annually
- Over 20 years of experience: $54,856 annually
What can I do with a master’s degree in early childhood education?
Many graduates of early childhood education programs pursue a career as a classroom teacher for preschool, kindergarten, or primary grades. Some early childhood graduate programs will prepare you to become an administrator for a preschool, a program director for a non-profit or social services organization, or an instructor at the community college level.
What are the requirements for a master’s degree in early childhood education?
Many programs will have a minimum required undergraduate GPA (typically between 2.5 and 3.0 on a 4.0 scale). If you don’t meet the minimum GPA requirement, a school may still consider admitting you on a provisional or conditional basis.
Graduation requirements will typically involve some sort of culminating experience. This may be a comprehensive exam or an original research project. Some early childhood education programs lead to a teaching license. These licensure programs will incorporate an extensive fieldwork component.
What are the best master’s degrees in early childhood education?
Our research team compiles these rankings by examining factors such as student retention, quality of academic programs, incoming student test scores, graduation rate, and other important measurements of success. Information comes from individual college websites, PayScale, U.S. News & World Report, and the IPEDS database.
Using this data, we assign each graduate program a composite score and rank the schools accordingly. We hope this list helps you find the perfect fit for your graduate degree in early childhood education.
1. University of Minnesota—Institute of Child Development
Known as an intellectual and entrepreneurial powerhouse, the University of Minnesota ranks eighth in total research and development expenditures among all U.S. public universities. UMN is home to the acclaimed Institute of Child Development. Established in 1925, the Institute is one of the oldest research centers in the country dedicated to the study of child development. The Institute offers world-class academic programs in child psychology, applied child and adolescent development, and early childhood education.
The program at UMN culminates in a Master of Education in Early Childhood Education (ECE) and an initial Minnesota teaching license (birth through age eight). Students in this program will have abundant opportunities for clinical experiences through the Institute’s renowned Shirley G. Moore Laboratory School and through extensive partnerships with local urban and suburban schools. Coursework for this program includes:
- Social and Philosophical Foundations of Early Childhood Education
- Learning, Cognition, and Assessment
- Education of Preschool Children With Disabilities: Methods and Materials
- Facilitating Cognitive and Language Learning in Early Childhood Education
Per Minnesota state law, educators may not pursue a license in Early Childhood Education through an initial licensure program if they already hold a teaching certification in another area. For students who have earned a license in Elementary Education, UMN offers an Additional Licensure program leading to ECE certification.
2. University of Dayton
Established in 1850 by the Society of Mary, the University of Dayton has grown into one of the nation’s premier Catholic universities. The University is strongly committed to its Marianist identity, reflected in a philosophy of exceptional scholarship. The main campus of UD is located on the Great Miami River in southwest Ohio, approximately two miles from the heart of downtown Dayton. UD is home to a number of exceptional licensure programs, including an innovative program for Early Childhood Education (ECE).
Dayton’s M.S.E. in Transdisciplinary Early Childhood Education blends coursework for special education and general education. Graduates of the program will earn licensure for both Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Intervention Specialist (ages three through eight). Requirements for the ECE concentration include:
- Integrated Curriculum for Young Children
- Developmentally and Individually Appropriate Practice
- Collaborative Assessment Birth to Age Eight
- Collaborating with Families, Professionals, and Agencies
The University of Dayton offers a number of other options for the Master of Science in Education, with licensure tracks available for Intervention Specialist (EIS), Multi-Age Education—World Languages (EAG), and Interdisciplinary Education—Visual Arts and Music Education. According to the Princeton Review, students at the University of Dayton are among the happiest in the nation. UD has a student-faculty ratio of 15:1.
3. University of South Florida
The University of South Florida consists of three campuses: the main campus in Tampa, USF St. Petersburg, and USF Sarasota-Manatee. In total, these three campuses serve over 50,000 students. The Carnegie Foundation has recognized South Florida as both a Doctoral University with “Highest Research Activity” and as a ”Community Engaged” institution, making USF one of just 49 public research universities nationwide to earn both distinctions. The College of Education at USF is ranked number 36 nationwide by U.S. News & World Report.
Students at USF can earn a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with a Concentration in Early Childhood Education. Within the Early Childhood Education (ECE) concentration, students may choose an emphasis in Reading, Teacher Leadership, Positive Behavior Support, or Interdisciplinary Studies. Depending on the emphasis area that a student chooses, they may take classes such as:
- History and Foundations of Reading: Prevention and Intervention of Reading Difficulties
- Intensive Individualized Positive Behavior Support
- Addressing Behavior Challenges in Young Children
- Advocacy and Leadership in ECE
The ECE program requires 33 credit hours as well as a comprehensive exam. Other available concentrations within the Curriculum and Instruction program include College Student Affairs, Educational Studies, Instructional Technology, Measurement and Evaluation, and numerous content areas for Secondary Education.
4. University of La Verne
Founded as Lordsburg College in 1891, the University of La Verne now operates campuses in Bakersfield, Burbank, Irvine, Ontario, Oxnard, and Victorville in addition to its main campus in La Verne. With a total enrollment of a little over 4,800, La Verne is a small school with a major impact through its esteemed liberal arts and professional programs. The Master of Science in Child Development allows students to obtain hands-on experience as they teach in community college classes.
The M.S. in Child Development requires 33 credit hours. Most students take roughly two years to complete the program, but some may be able to finish in as little as 18 months. All coursework for this degree is available online as well as face-to-face. Candidates for the M.S. degree will take classes such as:
- Language, Reading, and Concept Development
- Studies in Attachment
- Assessment in Early Childhood
- Cognition and Brain Development
The Child Development program at La Verne is competitive: Applicants should have an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 in all Early Childhood or Childhood Development courses. The program prepares students to serve as a part-time or adjunct professor at a two- or four-year institution. Graduates will also be qualified to secure leadership positions in educational and social service agencies.
5. Missouri State University
Missouri State University offers undergraduate and graduate programs in a comprehensive array of academic fields. The University serves a student body of more than 26,000 across its four physical campuses and through its online programs. The Master of Science in Early Childhood and Family Development provides students with specialized knowledge in three core areas: early childhood education, child development, and family development.
The versatile program at Missouri State encourages students to set their own pace. Candidates for this degree can take one course per semester, or they can finish the entire degree in as little as three semesters. The curriculum allows students to choose one-third of their classes, permitting them to tailor a degree path that matches their professional interests. A student in this program may take classes such as:
- Programming and Policy Issues for Early Childhood Settings
- Children and Families in a Diverse Society
- Administration of Programs for Children and Families
- The Educational Role of Play
Students at Missouri State will have extensive opportunities to apply their learning outside of the classroom through workshops, on-site activities, and research projects. The Master of Science in Early Childhood and Family Development is also available through a fully online program.
6. University of North Dakota
U.S. News & World Report ranked the University of North Dakota number 25 in its list of “Most Innovative Schools.” The main campus of UND is in Grand Forks, while the student body represents all 50 states and 80 countries worldwide. Nearly 4,000 graduate students attend the University of North Dakota. In total, UND offers over 200 fields of study, including a renowned program in Early Childhood Education.
UND’s M.S. in Early Childhood Education focuses on the education of children up to eight years of age. The degree is available either through a thesis track, which requires 30 credit hours, or through a non-thesis track, which requires 32 credit hours. Students in both of these tracks will take the following required courses:
- Early Intervention for Children with Special Needs
- Curricular Foundations in Early Childhood Education
- Language Development and Cognition in Children
- Collaborative Relationships: Home, School, and Community
Applicants to the Early Childhood Education program must hold an undergraduate degree in early childhood education, child development, elementary education, or a closely related field. The coursework for the M.S. degree is available online, through face-to-face instruction, or through a combination of both formats. This program does not lead to initial teaching licensure.
7. West Chester University
Of the 14 institutions in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education, West Chester University is the largest by enrollment and one of the most well-respected by reputation. The University, located about 25 miles west of Philadelphia, serves over 17,000 students through 118 undergraduate programs, 91 master’s degree programs, and four doctoral programs. The Master of Education in Early Childhood Education from West Chester is designed to help in-service teachers enhance their knowledge and practice.
WCU’s Early Childhood Education program is available as an Accomplished Teachers track and a Program Administrators track. The Administrators track is oriented towards developing leadership skills in primary-grades principals and child care program directors. Both of these options include the same core of eight courses, followed by two courses specific to the student’s track. Core courses for both options include:
- Advanced Child Development: Prebirth Through Eight Years
- Families, Communities, and Education in a Multicultural Society
- Advocating for Young Children and Families
- Coaching and Supervision in Early Childhood Education
While the Early Childhood Education program is intended for practicing educators, WCU does offer pathways to licensure in Pre-Kindergarten through Grade 4 and in Grade 4 through Grade 8. These initial licensure programs are designed for students who earned a bachelor’s degree in a field other than education.
8. University of Alabama at Birmingham
The University of Alabama at Birmingham has earned a spate of honors from U.S. News & World Report, with 10 graduate programs ranked in the top 25 nationally. A comprehensive public university, UAB enrolls over 7,000 graduate students in fields such as engineering, medicine and healthcare, business, and teacher education. As of fall 2017, over 1,800 undergraduate and graduate students are enrolled in the UAB School of Education.
UAB offers a Master of Education for Early Childhood Education and a Master of Education for Early Childhood and Elementary Education. To qualify for these programs, students must already hold a valid Alabama teaching license for Early Childhood (or Early Childhood and Elementary Education, if applying to the joint program). Available coursework in the Early Childhood track includes:
- Dyslexia Research, Education, and Advocacy
- Culture and American Education
- Collaborative Learning Spaces: Deliberation and Development
- Creative and Affective Experiences
Out of the last eight educators to win the Alabama Teacher of the Year award, six have been alumni of UAB’s School of Education. University of Alabama at Birmingham students can also pursue graduate programs in Counselor Education, Kinesiology, Special Education, Instructional Design and Development, and numerous other areas of teacher education.
9. Mercer University
Established in 1833 by Georgia Baptists, Mercer University is one of the oldest and most highly regarded institutions of higher learning in the South. Although no longer formally affiliated with a specific denomination, Mercer remains strongly committed to providing outstanding educational opportunities rooted in a Judeo-Christian perspective. The University operates numerous campuses across the state of Georgia. The renowned Tift College of Education is housed on the Macon campus.
Mercer offers a Master of Arts in Teaching for Early Childhood Education. This program is intended for students who earned their bachelor’s degree in a field outside of education. Graduates who successfully complete the program will be eligible for initial licensure in pre-kindergarten through grade 5. Coursework for this degree track includes:
- Planning and Organizing Instruction in Early Childhood Education
- Child Development and Learning
- Creative Teaching and Learning in Early Childhood Education
- Social Studies in a Multicultural World for Early Childhood Education
The Early Childhood Education degree program is offered at Mercer’s Atlanta Campus and through the Henry County Regional Academic Center. Classes typically meet once a week during the evening. However, the program requires extensive fieldwork and clinical experiences, which take place during the business day.
10. University of Colorado Denver
More than 130 programs at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral level are offered through the University of Colorado Denver. The School of Education and Human Development (SEHD) at CU Denver is the largest college of education in the state of Colorado. SEHD provides graduate programs in a wide range of education fields, such as Curriculum and Instruction, Administrative Leadership and Policy Studies, Information and Learning Technologies, and Early Childhood Education.
CU Denver offers an intensive and practical Master of Arts in Early Childhood Education. Three tracks are available within this degree program: Administration and Leadership, Diversity and Inclusion, and Teaching and Learning. For the Teaching and Learning track, students may take classes such as:
- Social Competence and Classroom Supports
- Screening and Assessment of Young Children
- Development and Education of Infants and Toddlers
- Working with Families and Communities
Coursework for the M.A. in Early Childhood Education is available both through face-to-face instruction and fully online. Applicants to the program are required to have a minimum of one year of experience working with young children (birth through age eight) outside of the home. Most candidates for this degree take between one and three courses per semester. The average class size for the Early Childhood Education program is between 25 and 30 students.
11. Erikson Institute
Based in Chicago, the Erikson Institute has been a pioneer in early childhood studies for more than 50 years. The Institute presents a number of world-class master’s degree programs, professional development opportunities, and applied research initiatives. In addition to academic programs, the Erikson Institute also offers a number of direct services for young children and their families, such as the Fussy Baby Network and the Center for Children and Families. The M.S. in Child Development illustrates the Institute’s commitment to real-world impact.
The Child Development track requires between 38 and 49 credit hours, depending on the concentration that a student chooses. Available concentrations include Administration, Child Life, Children with Special Needs, Children’s Law and Policy, and Infancy and New Language Learners. The curriculum for all of these concentrations is based on a shared core of courses such as:
- Social and Historical Perspectives on Early Care and Education
- Human Development: Psychosocial Development in Infancy and Childhood
- Physical Growth and Development
- Development of Cognition, Language, and Play: Language Development
According to a recent survey, 97 percent of alumni agree or strongly agree that the degree they earned from Erikson was worth the investment. Erikson offers two additional master’s degrees: a Master of Social Work and a Master of Science in Early Childhood Education leading to initial teaching licensure.
12. Concordia University Chicago
Founded in 1864, Concordia University Chicago recently celebrated its 150th anniversary of offering outstanding opportunities in higher education. Although the University is affiliated with the Lutheran church, Concordia-Chicago provides a warm and welcoming environment for students of diverse faiths and backgrounds. The programs at Concordia-Chicago range from associate’s degrees to doctoral degrees, in fields such as healthcare, psychology, music, and teacher education.
Concordia-Chicago’s Master of Arts in Early Childhood Education is regarded as one of the top programs in the nation, having earned National Recognition from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). This degree track requires 30 credit hours, and can be completed in either 12 or 24 months. Required coursework for this degree includes:
- Child Development and Ethics in Early Childhood Education
- Developmentally Effective Instruction for Diverse Learners
- Child, Family, and Multicultural Community
- Professional Leadership and Advocacy in Early Childhood Education
The Early Childhood Education degree is available as a cohort-based program through the main campus in River Forest, Illinois. All coursework is also available online. This program is intended for students who have at least two years of experience working in childhood education, and it does not lead to initial teaching licensure.
13. Northern Arizona University
Flagstaff, Arizona, home of Northern Arizona University, was ranked fourth in USA Today’s list of the Best Small College Towns. NAU enrolls over 30,000 students in more than 150 degree programs. The University is widely known as a trailblazer in teacher education: The professional education programs at NAU were the first in the state to earn accreditation from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (now the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, or CAEP).
Three distinctive tracks are available for the M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education: Early Childhood Teacher, Early Childhood Leadership, and Early Childhood National Board Preparation. All of these tracks are designed for in-service teachers who already hold their teaching license. A minimum of 30 credit hours is required to earn the M.Ed. degree. Candidates in this degree track may complete courses such as:
- Parental Involvement in Education
- Development of Children’s Logical Concepts
- Early Childhood Curriculum
- Foundations of Reading Instruction
A fieldwork experience or internship is optional for candidates of the Early Childhood Education degree, but not required. The coursework for the program is available through the main campus in Flagstaff and NAU’s satellite campus in Yuma, as well as fully online.
14. Southern New Hampshire University
With more than 3,000 on-campus students and over 80,000 online students, Southern New Hampshire University is a thriving institution of higher learning. SNHU was founded in 1932 as a school of accounting and secretarial science. Today, the University offers over 200 degree programs in business, STEM disciplines, the liberal arts, education, and more. The Early Childhood and Special Education program incorporates extensive opportunities for hands-on learning, including 44 total weeks of clinical experience.
The program at SNHU culminates in a Master of Education in Early Childhood and Special Education. The degree track includes 36 credit hours and can be completed in 15 months. Coursework for this program may include:
- Inclusive Curriculum for Young Children with Special Needs
- Socio-Cultural Perspectives on Teaching and Learning
- Leadership and Advocacy in Early Childhood Education
- Curriculum for Young Children with Special Needs: Evaluation and Program Design
Through this clinical program, students will earn initial teaching licensure for pre-kindergarten through grade 3. A graduate-level dual certification track for Elementary Education and Special Education is also available. SNHU is proud to be one of the most affordable private universities in New Hampshire and may offer up to $20,000 in grants and scholarships to qualifying graduate students.
15. University at Albany, State University of New York
Offering over 150 degree programs across nine academic schools, the University at Albany, State University of New York is one of the premier universities in the Eastern United States. Thrillist.com ranked UAlbany among the top 10 most beautiful public college campuses in the nation. Besides its picturesque setting, UAlbany has also been widely recognized for academic excellence: The University is consistently featured on the Forbes list of America’s Best Public Colleges. The Early Childhood Education program exemplifies UAlbany’s commitment to rigorous, community-focused scholarship.
The Master of Science in Early Childhood Education from UAlbany is available both on-campus and online. This degree track will lead to New York professional teaching licensure for children birth through grade 2. Candidates for the M.S. in Early Childhood Education will complete required courses such as the following:
- Strategic Intervention to Prevent Literacy Difficulties
- Early Literacy Development, B-2
- Data-Based Decision Making in Literacy Assessment, Policy, and Practice
- Teaching Mathematics in the Elementary School
A non-certification track is available for online students who live outside of New York. To apply for this degree, students must submit their scores for the GRE, edTPA, GMAT, Miller’s Analogies, or Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators. Students must already hold a valid teaching license to qualify for the program.
16. Stephen F. Austin State University
Located in Nacogdoches, Texas, Stephen F. Austin State University is a public university that was originally founded as a teachers college. The University remains faithful to its original mission through an exceptional commitment to teacher education for all levels. The Early Childhood Research Center at SFASU is the only center of its kind in the state of Texas. Students of the M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education will have opportunities to study and learn through this unique research initiative.
SFASU’s M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education requires a total of 36 credit hours. The curriculum for this degree is designed to help students develop professional competency in organizing programs for young children and families. Coursework will cover topics such as:
- Child growth and development
- Theoretical underpinnings of classroom practice
- Development of learning strategies
- Sociological and psychological factors of early childhood education
A thesis project is optional for students in the Early Childhood program. The degree track is available in-person and fully online. SFASU also offers a Master of Education in Elementary Education with initial teaching certification for early childhood through grade 6. Additional certification tracks are available for teaching middle-level students (grades 4 through 8) in English, math, science, and social studies.
17. Biola University
Located in La Mirada, California, Biola University was established in 1908 and now enrolls more than 6,000 students. The mission of Biola is to provide and encourage biblically centered education, scholarship, and service. Biola is one of just three institutions in the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities that have been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as a top-tier national university. Among a wide range of programs in teacher education, Biola offers a particularly renowned Master of Arts in Teaching for Early Childhood Education.
The M.A.T. at Biola is ideal for professionals who work, or plan to work, in public or private school settings. The program requires 30 credit hours, and can be completed in 18 months. The curriculum includes 14 credit hours of core coursework, 15 credit hours of coursework within the Early Childhood concentration, and one credit hour for the capstone experience. The Early Childhood concentration includes courses such as:
- Childhood Development: Birth through Adolescence
- School/Family/Community Partnerships in Early Childhood Urban Settings
- Classroom Management in Early Childhood Settings
- Observation and Assessment of Young Children
The one-credit capstone experience consists of an action research project, which will focus on a student-, classroom-, or school-based problem. Upon graduation, students will be eligible to apply for initial teaching certification.
18. Brenau University
The main campus of Brenau University is located in Gainesville, Georgia. Brenau also operates campuses in Augusta, Norcross, and Fairburn, as well as a new campus in Jacksonville, Florida. Through these campuses and through extensive distance learning programs, the University enrolls roughly 3,500 students. Graduate students in teacher education have a number of excellent options at Brenau, including both an M.Ed. and an M.A.T. in Special Education, Middle Grades Education, and Early Childhood Education.
The M.A.T program in Early Childhood Education leads to initial licensure, while the M.Ed. program is intended for in-service teachers. The M.A.T. incorporates fieldwork components in many of the required courses. Some of the core classes for the M.A.T. that include a fieldwork component are:
- Literacy Knowledge and Foundations
- Assessment for Literacy Instruction
- Science for Teachers
- Social Studies for Teachers
For the M.A.T.’s clinical experience requirement, students may choose between nine credit hours of student teaching or 12 credit hours in an internship. With the student teaching option, students will earn all nine credit hours in one semester. The 12 credit hours for the internship option may be spread out over several semesters.
19. Northwestern State University of Louisiana
Founded in 1884 as a teachers college, Northwestern State University of Louisiana has a proud heritage of providing outstanding opportunities in teacher education. The hill that once housed the original teachers college at NSU is the oldest continually occupied site of higher education in the state. The University remains true to its roots through a number of outstanding graduate programs in teacher training, including a Master of Education in Early Childhood Education.
NSU is the only school in Louisiana to offer an M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education. The program incorporates professional education coursework as well as a practicum experience that aligns with the standards of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Coursework for the Early Childhood Education program includes:
- Curriculum Development for School Improvement
- Positive Relationships with Children, Families, and Communities
- Curriculum and Spaces for Infants and Toddlers
- Trends and Issues in Contemporary Early Childhood/Primary Programs
The culminating experience for the M.Ed. in Early Childhood Education may be either a thesis defense or an action research project focused on school improvement. This program is designed for in-service teachers. Students are required to hold a valid teaching certificate prior to admission.
20. The University of Toledo
The University of Toledo is a public research university offering over 300 undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs in a comprehensive array of academic disciplines. Established in 1872, UT became part of the University System of Ohio in 1967. The University is home to NURTURES, an early childhood program that aims to improve science readiness scores for children in preschool through third grade. For its work in NURTURES and other education initiatives, UT won a 2017 Christa McAuliffe Award for Excellence in Teacher Education.
The University of Toledo’s program culminates in a Master of Education in Early Childhood Education. Students may earn this degree entirely through online coursework, or through evening classes. The program requires 36 credit hours and focuses on developing educators’ skills in working with children ages three through third grade. Coursework for this degree may include:
- Language and Concept Development
- Curriculum Design for Infants and Toddlers
- Developmental and Classroom Assessment
- Teacher/Parent Child Relations
Candidates for the Master of Education will complete six credit hours in a culminating experience, which may be either a thesis or another type of project. Beyond the M.Ed., UT also offers an Educational Specialist degree and a Ph.D. program in Early Childhood Education.
21. Pacific Oaks College
Pacific Oaks College is a truly unique institution with campuses in Pasadena, San Jose, and throughout Northern and Southern California. The College offers academic opportunities in organizational leadership, marriage and family therapy, human development, and numerous facets of teacher education. The acclaimed programs at Pacific Oaks include a Master of Arts in Early Childhood Education.
The curriculum for this program requires 30 credit hours. Full-time students can earn the M.A. degree in two years, while part-time students can earn their degree in four years. Coursework is available via face-to-face instruction at the Pasadena campus as well as fully online. Candidates for the M.A. in Early Childhood Education may take courses such as:
- The Impact of Privilege and Oppression in Early Childhood Educational Settings
- Public Policy and Its Impact on Children and Families
- Creating Responsive Communities for All Families
- Separation, Deployment Trauma, and Early Development
To qualify for the program, students should have earned their bachelor’s degree in early childhood education or in child development. Students with a bachelor’s degree in another field may be accepted if they successfully complete approved undergraduate courses from an accredited institution. The M.A. in Early Childhood Education provides an optional specialization in Trauma Studies.
22. Mercy College
While the main campus is in Dobbs Ferry, Mercy College also operates campuses in Manhattan, Bronx, and Yorktown Heights. Mercy offers over 90 degree programs across five academic colleges: Business, Health and Natural Sciences, Liberal Arts, Social and Behavioral Sciences, and Education. The highly regarded graduate programs within the School of Education include degrees in Educational Leadership, Literacy and Multilingual Studies, and Early Childhood Education.
The Master of Science in Early Childhood Education is available as an initial licensure program and as a program for in-service teachers. Both the Advanced Teacher Program and the Initial Certification Program require 39 credit hours. For the Initial Certification track, course requirements include:
- Educational Foundations from Diverse Perspectives
- Foundations of Education for Students with Disabilities
- Teaching English as a Second Language
- Working with Parents and Families in Early Childhood Education
Numerous initial certification tracks are available through the M.S. in Early Childhood Education. Students may pursue licensure through a single certification to teach children birth through grade 2; a double certification in Early Childhood and Childhood Education to teach children birth through grade 6; or a triple certification in Early Childhood, Childhood, and Students with Disabilities. The dual and triple certification tracks require additional coursework and field experiences beyond the standard track.
23. University of South Alabama
Serving more than 15,500 students in over 100 academic programs, the University of South Alabama—South for short—is a leading research university. The 1,200-acre main campus of USA is located in Mobile. The students of South have earned a reputation for being exceptionally engaged in their local communities as well as throughout the Gulf Coast region and the world. The university-wide focus on real-world issues and high-impact scholarship has made South a premier destination for teacher education.
For students who already hold their initial teaching license, the Master of Education in Early Childhood Education offers a pathway to a Class A Professional Early Childhood Education Certificate. The degree includes required courses in curriculum and teaching, technology, diversity, and special education. Specific course titles may include:
- Organizational Patterns and Curriculum in Early Childhood Education
- Instructional Planning in Elementary Schools
- Literacy and Language Development in Elementary Schools
- Microcomputing Systems in Education
Students in the M.Ed. program may choose to complete a written thesis as their culminating experience. South’s Department of Leadership and Teacher Education, which presents the Early Childhood Education program, also offers graduate-level certification programs in Instructional Leadership, Art Education, Elementary Education, English for Speakers of Other Languages, Special Education, Secondary Education, and more.
24. Albany State University
One of the three historically black colleges in the University System of Georgia, Albany State University is a flourishing center of higher education for students from diverse backgrounds and walks of life. Albany State’s College of Education offers graduate programs across a range of fields, including educational leadership, school counseling, and teacher education. The renowned Master of Education in Early Childhood Education is built around a conceptual framework of three pillars: reflective transformative practitioner, culturally responsive practitioner, and technologically competent practitioner.
Albany State’s M.Ed.program is intended to develop master teachers who are prepared to serve in classrooms or in leadership roles in curriculum development, supervision, and research. The program requires 36 credit hours in total and can lead to T-5 certification for pre-kindergarten through grade 5. Candidates for this degree may take classes such as:
- Creative Expression in Early Childhood Education
- Theories, Design, and Program Development
- Cultural Diversity in Early Childhood Education
- Trends and Issues in Early Childhood Education
Applicants to the program must have earned their bachelor’s degree in early childhood education or a closely related field. If the applicant holds a bachelor’s degree in another field, they may be required to take undergraduate coursework in early childhood education prior to admission. Students must submit their scores for the GRE or Miller Analogies Test when they apply.
25. Grand Canyon University
Grand Canyon University is a Christian university that welcomes students from all faiths. Although GCU was initially founded as a Baptist institution, the University now promotes a biblically centered education through an interdenominational mission and vision. With a main campus in Phoenix and extensive satellite campuses throughout the state of Arizona, GCU provides affordable, accessible graduate programs for aspiring educators.
The Master of Education in Early Childhood Education requires 44 credit hours. This program leads to initial teaching licensure for children from birth to age eight. Graduates of the M.Ed. program will be prepared to work in child care facilities, social service agencies, and public and private schools. The curriculum for this degree includes classes such as:
- Instructional Teaching Method: Language, Math, Science, Social Studies, and Art
- Early Literacy Development
- Child Guidance, Management, and the Environment
- Developmental and Functional Assessment: Birth through Age Eight
The courses for the M.Ed. are scheduled to accommodate the needs of working professionals. Classes typically meet one evening each week. Students may also choose to earn the Master of Education in Early Childhood Education through a fully online program. For both the online and on-campus tracks, the M.Ed. requires a 16-week student teaching experience.