Early Childhood Education, M.A.


Department of Literacy, Early, Bilingual, and Special Education

Master of Arts Degree Requirements in Early Childhood Education

Dr. Catherine Mathis, Interim Coordinator
Education Building, Room 242

The Master of Arts in Early Childhood Education offers specialized preparation for a wide variety of positions in educational settings with children from birth through the primary grades. The program is designed to meet individual needs of candidates with different experiential and educational backgrounds and varied career objectives.

Admission Requirements. In addition to the admission requirements listed in the Graduate Education Program section of this catalog, admission to the M.A. in Early Childhood Education program requires the following:

  1. Be qualified for ECE Master Teaching Permit (B.A./B.S. degree plus 12 units ECE or Child Development and 3 units supervised ECE fieldwork) or hold a valid teaching credential.
  2. Provide verification of advisement
  3. Statement of purpose
  4. Three letters of recommendation

Program Requirements. Under the direction of a graduate adviser, each student prepares and submits an individually designed program within the following framework:

1. Course Requirements (27 units)
LEE 171, LEE 232, LEE 233, LEE 235**, LEE 241, LEE 250, LEE 271, ERE 220*; Cl 285 or ERE 288

2. Culminating Experience (3 units)
Choose between: (a) 3 units of approved electives plus comprehensive exam [0 units]  or (b) LEE 298B or LEE 299

Description of the three culminating project options: 

  1. The Comprehensive Examination is a take-home, four question essay exam based on the program's course content aligned with the NAEYC standards. The Comprehensive Exam is released to approved candidates on a certain date, and students have 10 days to complete and submit their exam responses. Students receive the four exam questions with rubrics on the exam release date and choose three of the four questions. Students may use any resources to craft their responses. but are expected to do their own work and abide by the University Honor Code. Response essays must include credible, peer-reviewed research, theory. and evidence to support claims. with citations and references (APA 7th ed.). Response essays are expected to follow the grammar, format, and citation conventions set forth by the American Psychological Association (APA) Style Manual, 7th edition. Students have three opportunities to pass the Comprehensive Examination in any given semester. For each opportunity, students retake only the exam questions that they have not passed on previous attempts. If students are unable to pass all exam questions by the third attempt, they may petition the program to have another semester to try the Comp Exam again. If the second semester is granted, students will have three opportunities to pass that semester's Comp Exam.
  2. A project consists of a significant scholarly undertaking that is relevant to the field of Early Childhood Education. It must demonstrate originality, independent thinking, effective organization, and writing proficiency descriptive of graduate level work. The completed project includes a comprehensive literature review and a creative project component. A project is supervised by a faculty advisor.
  3. A thesis is a written product of the study of a specific or well-defined question or issue, which merits being investigated. It is a document resulting from original research and includes the following elements: statement of the problem, review of relevant theoretical and empirical literature, methodology, results and implications. The thesis format can take two forms, empirical or theoretical. For more information, consult the "Policies and Procedures Manual for 299/Thesis." Students become eligible to register for LEE 299: Thesis once the research topic has been formulated, a thesis committee has been established and a substantial amount of the initial writing has been completed. Students are encouraged to initiate this process at least one semester prior to enrolling in 299/Thesis.

Total (30 units) 

* ERE 153. Educational Statistics or an approved equivalent is a prerequisite for ERE 220. Research in Education
** Students meet the Graduate Writing Requirement by passing the writing component of LEE 235. Concept Development in Early Childhood Education. See graduate program coordinator for further information. 


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