College of Education and Human Development

Department of Educational Psychology

Early childhood special education MEd and licensure

Help young children with developmental delays and disabilities succeed with an MEd and licensure in early childhood special education from the University of Minnesota.

2.5 average years to completion
100% online classes (with in-person field experiences)
July 15 Deadline to apply
Sept. 3 Next cohort starts

Start your journey

    Early childhood special education MEd and licensure

    Help young children with developmental delays and disabilities succeed

    This program prepares you for an initial teaching license in Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE). Establish the skills necessary to support the development of young children, birth through age six, with a wide range of delays/disabilities (motor delays, speech or language impairments, autism spectrum disorders, emotional or behavioral disorders, low birth weight, chromosomal abnormalities, etc.). Graduate with the confidence to carry out all duties of a licensed ECSE teacher including, but not limited to:

    • Conducting comprehensive evaluations and determining eligibility for specialized services
    • Developing individualized educational programs
    • Building strong, trusting relationships with primary caregivers (every child’s first teacher);
    • Embedding research-based interventions across home, school, and community settings; and
    • Facilitating successful transitions to kindergarten

    Admissions requirements

    • Undergraduate GPA of at least 2.8 
    • Graduate school application 
    • Application fee 
    • Transcripts 

    Non-native English Speakers: TOEFL, IELTS, etc. test scores 


    Visit the College of Education and Human Development's Tuition and Financial Aid page for information on tuition.


    Scholarships and awards through school districts for employees

    Ask your employer if they have funding to support your education.

    Special Education Pipeline Grant is a partnership between educator preparation programs and K-12 schools to recruit and prepare employees to become fully licensed Tier 3 or Tier 4 special education teachers.

    Grow Your Own Program is similar to the Pipeline program, but is not limited to special education and often includes a focus on diversifying the teacher workforce.

    Come Teach in Minnesota allows school districts to offer hiring and retention bonuses to eligible individuals when they move to Minnesota and enroll in a teacher preparation program.

    Grants for eligible, enrolled students

    TEACH Grants

    TEACH Grants are part of a federal program to provide financial support to students who will teach in a high need area at a low-income school for at least four years. Application information is available from Onestop on their grants and waivers page.

    Scholarships, fellowships and awards through the University

    Financial aid

    Visit OneStop Student Services for more information on available financial aid.


    The field of ECSE needs you! After graduating and obtaining your ECSE license, you’ll have no trouble landing a rewarding career that fully aligns with your interests and skills. Most of our graduates go onto:

    • Conduct home visits as an early interventionist and coach caregivers to facilitate their child’s development across daily routines
    • Teach in a self-contained special education preschool classroom with children ages 3-6 with delays/disabilities
    • Co-teach with a general education preschool teacher in an early childhood classroom serving children with and without delays/disabilities
    • Work as an itinerant (“traveling”) teacher who supports young children with delays/disabilities across various community-based programs
    • Work on an evaluation team that focuses primarily on screening and evaluating infants, toddlers, and preschool-aged children to determine eligibility for special education


    This is a hybrid program, meaning all courses are offered online (with traditional in-person options available if preferred) and all field experiences are in person at a program/school in your community.

    The ECSE licensure program with a MEd in special education requires completion of 44.5 credits. For additional licensure candidates (who already hold a teaching license in another area), fewer credits are required. For completion of a MEd only without licensure, 30 credits are required, with opportunities to select courses suited to your interests.

      See a sample plan of an ECSE course schedule

      Note: This plan is an example only. You'll work with your advisor to develop a course schedule specific to your needs.

      • CI 5645 – Methods for Teaching English Learners (3 credits)
      • MTHE 5355 – Mathematics for Diverse Learners (3 credits)
      • EPSY 5609 – Infants and Toddlers with Delays/Disabilities: Family-Centered Approaches to Early Intervention (3 credits)
      • EPSY 5613 – Foundations of Special Education (3 credits)
      • EPSY 5614 – Assessment and Due Process in Special Education (3 credits)
      • EPSY 5616 – Classroom Management and Behavior Analytic Problem Solving (3 credits)
      • EPSY 5618 – Specialized Interventions for Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities in Reading and Written Language (3 credits)
      • EPSY 5625 – Education of Infants, Toddlers, and Preschool Children with Disabilities: Introduction (2 credits)
      • EPSY 5631 – Module 1: Introduction to Augmentative and Alternative Communication (1 credits)
      • EPSY 5681 – Education of Preschool Children with Disabilities: Methods and Materials (3 credits)
      • EPSY 5704 – Field Experience in a Special Education Classroom #1 (1 credit)
      • EPSY 5705 – Field Experience in a Special Education Classroom #2 (1 credit)
      • EPSY 5706 - Field Experience in a Special Education Classroom #3 (1 credit)
      • EPSY 5761 – Student Teaching in Early Childhood Special Education for Children Aged Three to Five Years (3 credits)
      • EPSY 5762 – Student Teaching in Early Childhood Special Education for Children Aged Birth to Three Years (3 credits)

      Required for initial licensure and MEd

      EPSY 5699: Experimental Teaching Seminar (2 cr)


      Required for additional licensure and MEd or MEd only

      EPSY 5991 – MEd Paper/Project Independent Study (2 credits)

      • OLPD 5005 – School and Society ( 2 credits)
      • OLPD 5009 – Human Relations (1 cr)
      • CI 5307 – Technology (2 credits)
      • EPSY 5001 – Learning Cognition and Assessment (3 credits)

      As a student in the ECSE program, you have the option to add an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) certificate to your licensure and/or degree. The specialized training you’ll receive related to assessment and treatment practices for children with ASD will lead to a certificate in ASD. With your ECSE license and ASD certificate in hand, you’ll be equipped to facilitate early identification and intervention for toddlers and preschoolers with ASD. These skills will make you a valuable addition to any ECSE program.

      See a sample plan of the ECSE course schedule with an option to add an ASD certificate.

      Faculty and staff

      Brenna Rudolph

      ECSE coordinator, lecturer

      Charissa O'Neill

      Special education field placement coordinator


      Laura Paczkowski

      Academic advisor