A Master's Degree or Endorsement Focused on Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE)
This program is designed to prepare you as an early childhood special educator to meet the unique educational needs of children with and without disabilities from birth to age 8. You can take this as a master's degree or an endorsement-only program:
- Special Education Master of Arts – Early Childhood Special Education Concentration – this degree includes the endorsement preparation.
- Early Childhood Special Education Endorsement (Ages 0-8 yrs) – this is the endorsement-only option.
You will develop a range of specialized skills for work in classrooms and community-based settings with children who are at-risk and their families. The program focuses on promoting families as partners, collaborative and cross-disciplinary service approaches, recommended intervention practices, and appropriate practices for work with children and their families across the range of abilities and cultural experiences.
Towards the end of the program you will gain extensive experience working with three age groups (infant/toddlers, preschool and K-3), which will allow you to apply the knowledge you have attained.
You do not need to be a licensed teacher to take this program. You can earn eligibility for your teaching license and endorsement via this program. If you are already a licensed teacher, you will add this endorsement area to your existing license.
In addition to the skills and knowledge this program will add to your educational practices, successful completion of this program can make you eligible for the following licensures and/or endorsements:
- Colorado Department of Education (CDE) Early Childhood Special Education Generalist License/Endorsement
- CDE Early Childhood Special Education Specialist Endorsement
- Colorado Department of Human Services Child Care Director’s License
If you plan to work outside of Colorado, please check with your licensing/credentialing agencies to ensure that this program will make you eligible for equivalent credentials in your area.
A History of Excellence
The School of Special Education at the University of Northern Colorado has a long history of excellence in the preparation of special education teachers. The school is fully accredited by the Colorado Department of Higher Education and the Higher Learning Commission.
- Endorsement-only: 33
- Master's with endorsement: 36
Time to Completion:
Delivery Options & Start Terms:
- Denver + Online: Start any term
- Online: Start any term
Flexible Delivery Options for Current and Future Educators
The Extended Campus deliveries are intended for working professionals. Choose between our online program and a hybrid program where coursework is delivered partially face-to-face and partially online.
Towards the end of the program you will take practicum courses to gain experience working with three age groups (infant/toddlers, preschool and K-3). These practicum courses each require 150 hours in the field, and they fulfill licensing and program requirements.
Coursework (33-36 Credit Hours)
Master's degree students will take one more course (a three credit hour research course) than endorsement-only students.
For full program requirement details, see the official program listings in the UNC Graduate Catalog:
- Special Education Master of Arts: Early Childhood Special Education Concentration – 36 credit hours
- Early Childhood Special Education Endorsement (Ages 0-8 yrs) – 33 credit hours
- Learn more about the Special Education Faculty.
- Special Education: Deaf & Hard of Hearing (Master's)
- Special Education: Generalist (Master's or Endorsement)
- Special Education: Gifted Education (Master's, Endorsement or Certificate)
- Special Education – Intervention Specialist: Academic Coaching & Leadership (Master's)
- Special Education: Visual Impairment (Master's)