MA in Education, Early Childhood Education

Become a transformative, leader, advocate, trainer or supervisor. With a Masters in Early Childhood Education, students will strengthen their existing skills while engaging in critical curricular experiences in this innovative program.

Become a Voice for Our Youngest Learners

Investment is increasing to improve early education programs and systems providing services to the under-five population. This positive growth creates a need for leaders who are prepared academically and can leverage learning to meet the needs of young children, families, staff members, and key stakeholders. In this MAE, you'll learn the necessary skills, from conducting quality program analysis to implementing collaborative strategies that will prepare you to impact local agencies while leading change in early childhood education programs. This MAE program also provides the academic rigor to boost your career while contributing to local communities.

  • 100% Online
    Our online coursework is designed for adult learners, allowing the flexibility you need.
  • Focused on the Individual
    Faculty connect with students individually, teaching skills and relevant knowledge directly applicable to real-world issues, problems, and applications.
  • NAEYC Aligned
    Our program is aligned with the standards outlined by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), aimed at excellence in care, education, leadership, and practices.
  • Increasing Investment
    Positions students to become equity-minded advocates and transformative leaders, influencing the direction of funding for early childhood education in the national Build Back Better Act along with various California and global initiatives.
  • Developing Tomorrow’s ECE Leaders
    This program produces thought leaders informed through the lens of diversity, equity, belonging, and inclusive leadership practices, preparing them to adapt to diverse audiences and environments locally and globally.

Next Session

Fall I (Aug 26, 2024)

Estimated Tuition

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Legacy of Learning UMass Global — 65-year academic legacy of educating adult students; 15 years pioneering online education.

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Save money and time by transferring credits, applying for up to $20k in scholarships/grants, and through possible employer discounts.

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UMass Global perennially ranks among the best universities for online graduate education programs by U.S. News & World Report


University of Massachusetts Global is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC)

California Commission on Teaching Credentialing

University of Massachusetts Global's School of Education is accredited by the California Commission on Teaching Credentialing.

Imagine Your Future In Education: Leadership in Early Childhood Education

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    Ruby G

    One word that comes to mind in thinking about my educational journey at UMass Global is 'self reflective'. No matter what course I took, self-reflection was always included as an aspect of each course. I was provided opportunities to consistently reflect on myself, my values, my beliefs, my education, my practices and the field of early childhood education as a whole.

    Ruby G.
    MAE, Leadership in Early Childhood Education, PBIS Support Specialist, Stanislaus County Office of Education

    I did this for my son and the mothers of children with special needs. Someone who could truly understand them needed to sit on the other end at those IEP meetings; UMass Global made it possible.

    Andrea M.
    MA in Education, Leadership in Early Childhood Education

    Admission Requirements

    Applicants for this program must complete the formal application process with all required documents, which include:

    • Completed application
    • 2.75 grade point average (GPA)
    • Official transcripts from all regionally accredited institutions where baccalaureate and/or post-baccalaureate coursework was completed or attempted
    • Hold one of the following certifications: California Child Development Associate Teacher Permit or higher, Single Subject Credential Home Economics, Child Development Associate Credential or a comparable credential
    California Residency

    This program is only available to California residents.

    Graduate Level Exams

    For information about exam/test score requirements, please reference the University of Massachusetts Global Catalog


    Master of Arts in Education Program Curriculum

    • EDUU 600 Research and Evaluation Methods 3
      EDUU 605 Democracy, Education and Social Change 3
      EDUU 606 Seminar in Learning Theory 3
      EDUU 607 Seminar in Comparative Education 3
      EDUU 608 Seminar in the Social Foundations of Education 3
      EDUU 609 Seminar in Curriculum Studies 3
      Core Courses Subtotal 18

    • Code Course Name Credits
      Emphasis Required Courses


      EDUU 640  Foundations of Leadership in Early Childhood Settings


      EDUU 641  Public Policy and Fiscal Planning for Early Childhood Leaders


      EDUU 642  Leadership and Human Resources in Early Childhood Settings


      EDUU 643  Leading Change in Early Childhood Programs: Capstone


      Total Credits


    Meet Our Faculty

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Learn more about the UMass Global MAE in Early Childhood Education.

    MA Education in Early Childhood Education

    What is early childhood education?

    Early childhood education (ECE) refers to the formal and informal early learning programs, care, and practices that support young children's development from birth to age eight. ECE is a critical period in a children’s development as the brain experiences rapid growth enabling the acquisition of foundational skills, attitudes, and knowledge that will shape their lifelong learning, health, and well-being.

    Early childhood education encompasses a range of settings, including nurseries, preschools, kindergartens, and early elementary grades. It can be offered as a full-day, part-day, home-based program, or co-op setting. ECE programs aim to support children's cognitive, social, emotional, and physical growth.

    What can you do with an early childhood education degree?

    An early childhood education degree can prepare you for various careers working with young children in different capacities. One of the most common paths is becoming a preschool teacher in a typical program serving birth to five-year-olds. You could also pursue a career as an elementary or special education teacher. Other potential job opportunities include becoming a family childcare provider, a child development specialist, a curriculum developer, an adjunct instructor, a program director, a regional manager, a parent educator, or an educational consultant. With an early childhood education degree, you will have the skills, knowledge, and disposition to work with young children in diverse settings, helping them learn and grow during their formative years.

    How long does it take to become a qualified ECE teacher?

    The length of time it takes to become a qualified early childhood education teacher can vary depending on several factors, such as the level of education required for the position, the program's structure and format, and the individual's prior education and experience. Depending on the program's design and intensity, a certificate or diploma can take a few months to a year to complete. Assuming full-time enrollment, an associate degree program typically takes two years to complete. A bachelor’s degree program typically takes four years to complete. A graduate degree program, such as a master’s, can take up to two years, and a doctoral program can take one to four years or more to complete, depending on the program’s structure and intensity.

    What is the highest degree in early childhood education?

    The highest degree in early childhood education is typically a doctoral degree, such as a Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) or a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Early Childhood Education. These programs are designed for individuals who wish to pursue research, teaching, or administrative positions in early childhood education.

    What is the difference between a Master of Arts in Education and a Master of Arts in Teaching?

    A Master of Arts in Education (MAE) degree and a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree are both graduate-level educational programs but have different focuses and goals.

    A Master of Arts in Education degree typically focuses on advancing a teacher's knowledge of educational theory, research, and policy. The program is designed to give teachers a deeper understanding of the broader context of education, including topics such as educational psychology, curriculum development, assessment, and educational leadership. Graduates of MAE programs may go on to pursue careers in education administration, curriculum development, policymaking, or research, as well as teaching positions.

    A Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) degree is designed to provide students with advanced teaching skills and strategies. The program is often geared toward individuals with bachelor's degrees in a field other than education and who want to become licensed teachers. MAT programs typically focus on practical teaching skills and may cover classroom management, instructional design, assessment, and differentiated instruction.

    Want More Information About Getting a Master’s in Education?

    Explore professional pathways that span education to business with our Master’s in Education degree options.

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