Early Childhood Special Education Program
The early childhood special education (ECSE) program leads to an added endorsement in ECSE specialist. If you do not hold a current teaching license, information about ECSE licensure is available here . The program prepares leaders who will enrich the life experience of young children (ages birth to 8 years) with delays and disabilities and their families through a variety of professional roles.
The ECE program focuses on building and supporting learning and development of all children across inclusive settings in the natural environments where they live, grow and learn. Our program emphasizes family-centered practices, culturally sustaining teaching and is inspired by the potential of all children and families. The ECSE program is interdisciplinary in focus, drawing on university resources and the clinical expertise of various community professionals and partners. There is a strong emphasis on fieldwork and practicum experiences. Field experiences are a part of each course and provide an opportunity for each student to gain knowledge, abilities and dispositions while interacting with children, families, program staff and community agencies. Practicum experiences are designed for students to apply knowledge and practice skills in a closely supervised environment.
Curriculum and Program Requirements
Semester Hour Requirements
Master’s degree plus ECSE specialist added endorsement: 36 semester hours
ECSE specialist added endorsement: 24 semester hours
The early childhood special education program provides specialized preparation in:
- language and literacy development,
- child growth and development,
- teaching and learning approaches with young children,
- learning, development and education grounded in culture, context and identity of young children,
- research methods for education,
- early childhood curriculum and program development for culturally and linguistically diverse inclusive classrooms,
- collaborative program development and supports for children with families and communities,
- leadership of programs and early childhood professional for practice, advocacy, and social change,
- screening and assessment of young children,
- individualized and systematic supports for children diagnosed with disabilities,
- social emotional competence and classroom supports for challenging behaviors,
- working as a participatory member of a transdisciplinary team,
- high and low incidence disabilities,
- education supports for children diagnosed with disabilities or chronic illness.
For more information on coursework and plans of study, please contact an academic advisor in the School of Education and Human Development.
Fieldwork and Practicum Requirements
Students seeking an added endorsement in ECSE specialist complete 450 hours of practicum experiences.
Program Requirements and Courses
To complete the Early Childhood Education program and earn a master’s degree and/or endorsement, students must complete the appropriate course work as outlined. All courses require a grade of B- or better to count to the MA or endorsement and a 3.0 minimum GPA is required for graduation.
During the fall and spring semesters, most courses are offered in the late afternoon and evening and meet for three hours once a week over a 16-week semester. Courses are offered in various formats, including completely face-to-face classes, hybrid, or online classes. In the summer semester, three-to eight-week sessions are offered, and courses may be in the morning, afternoon or evening.
For practicing full-time teachers, we recommend taking two courses each fall and spring semester, and up to two courses each summer. If you prefer a less intensive course load, we recommend one course each fall and spring semester. Please review with your faculty advisor your preferred plan.
Students must complete their programs within seven years, maintaining a GPA of 3.0. Students typically take four courses each calendar year. Failure to enroll over three contiguous semesters will result in a requirement to submit readmission materials.