Master of Arts (M.a.)

Early Childhood Special Education

Online 30 major credits * 2 years

Affordable Tuition


*if using financial aid

How to Pay

Program Highlights & Benefits

Classes meet online or one night a week, same night for the entire program

2 year or less completion time, including holiday breaks

One course completed every 8 weeks

Transfer credits considered

Program Overview

This program is designed for educators who desire to teach early childhood students with disabilities from birth to age eight with the necessary skills and knowledge to become an early childhood special education teacher.

Program Objectives

  • Designed for educators with an early childhood certificate/endorsement or the LBS1 (pre-kindergarten to age 21) endorsement
  • Build and strengthen a theoretical understanding of the foundations of early childhood special education
  • Examine issues relevant to the early intervention, least restrictive environment, appropriate educational settings, language development, and special education law and policy
  • Develop and utilize appropriate assessments and teaching strategies for young children with disabilities
  • Collaborate with all stakeholders, including parents, community, family members, and other institutions to support young children with disabilities
  • Conduct research to answer questions related to early childhood special education practices and successfully meet the needs of all learners
  • Must have a valid professional educator license and meet other requirements

Areas of Study

SPED 6500Family and Community Relationships in Early Childhood Special*3
SPED 6510Language Development in Early Childhood Special Education*
SPED 6520Special Education Assessment for Early Childhood Educators*
SPED 6530Special Education Methods for Early Childhood Educators*
SPED 6650Characteristics of the Young Exceptional Learner
ECE 6320Child Development and Ethics in Early Childhood Education
EDI 6010Differentiation and Learning Theory3
SPED 6540Early Intervention Methods and Transitional Planning3
RES 6600Research in Education3
SPED 6892Early Childhood Special Education Practicum3
 Total Credit Hours:30
Masters Capstone Experience

A master’s capstone is required for all Master of Arts candidates. This culminating project highlights the candidate’s mastery of content throughout their studies. Capstones traditionally demonstrate overall growth and specific understandings of the professional standards. The capstone serves as a performance-based evaluation and promotes reflective practice. It also demonstrates the professional’s proficiency in integrating technology and the ability to interpret theory into practice.

NOTE: This is only an introduction of the program. You are responsible to review the Graduate Catalog for program details.

Some of the classes required for this degree program apply toward the Illinois endorsements in Special Education. These classes are marked with an asterisk (*) next to a course title in the curriculum listing.