In Illinois and across the nation, emphasis on early childhood education continues to grow as studies indicate the crucial impact educational opportunities in the early years have on shaping future learning outcomes. The College of Education is committed to preparing early childhood education leaders and special education experts creating opportunities for learning in Chicago communities and beyond.
The MEd Early Childhood Education program focuses on educating professionals dedicated to working with young children and their families across a range of settings. The program provides opportunities for students to earn an Illinois Professional Educator License (PEL) with endorsements in Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Special Education, Illinois Gateways Level 5 Early Childhood Education credential, and/or an Illinois Early Intervention credential.
For more information, sign up for our email list below, review degree requirements, send a question to program advisor Ana Valenta at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the Office of Student Services at 312-996-4532. Or, begin the application process.
Students must complete a minimum of 32-36 hours with at least 9 hours at the 500 level. Courses numbered 596, 597, 598 or 599 do not meet this requirement. Students pursuing and Illinois PEL or other credentials must follow specified course sequences outlined in advising guides. An additional 12 hours of student teaching is required for students pursuing an Illinois Professional Educator License (PEL.
Early Childhood Development (7 – 8 hours)
Required: EPSY 426 Development, Health and Wellness: Conception to Age 8 (4)
Choose one of the following courses with consent of program advisor:
EPSY 429 Constructivist Approaches to Development: Piaget and Vygotsky (4)
ED 422 Advanced Developmental Psychology and Educational Processes (3)
EPSY 420 Social Development of Urban Children (4)
SPED 506 Characteristics and Assessment of Young Children with Disabilities (4)
EPSY/SPED 466 Language Development, Diversity, and Disabilities (3)
Early Childhood Methods and Practice (6 hours)
Required: EPSY 520 Introduction to Curriculum and Practice in Early Childhood Education (6) or equivalent as approved by program advisor.
Foundations of Education (3 - 4 hours)
Choose one of the following courses with consent of program advisor:
EPSY 449 Early Childhood/Early Childhood Special Education: Perspectives, Policies and History (4)
SPED 461 Political and Socio-Cultural Perspectives in Special Education (3)
ED 403 Policy Issues in the History of American Education (3)
CI 481 Foundations and Current Issues in Educating English Language Learners (4)
Education Electives (16-20 hours)
Students seeking licensure or credentialing have specific course requirements within this elective category. Students must have their courses approved by the program advisor.
Additional student teaching courses required for Illinois PEL with endorsements in ECE and ECSE (12 hours):
EPSY 523 Advanced Curriculum and Practice in Early Childhood Education (3)
EPSY 521 Early Childhood Student Teaching (9)
Advising guides provide required course sequences for student pursuing Illinois Professional Educator Licensure (PEL) and Illinois credential in Early Childhood Education and Early Intervention. Please meet your advisor to determine which guides to follow.
Advising guide for students pursuing an M.Ed in Early Childhood Education and an Illinois PEL (includes requirements for Illinois Gateways ECE credential and Early Intervention credential)
Advising guide for students pursuing an M.Ed in Early Childhood Education and an Illinois Gateways ECE credential only
Advising guide for students pursuing an M.Ed in Early Childhood Education and an Illinois Early Intervention credential only
Options and Outcomes
Students can earn the following:
Illinois Professional Educator License (PEL) with endorsements in Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Special Education. This PEL qualifies graduates to teach ALL children (with and without disabilities) birth through age 8 (second grade) in Illinois Public schools. Graduates who earn a PEL can take additional coursework to add a Bilingual and English as a Second Language (ESL) Endorsement
Illinois Gateways Level 5 Early Childhood Education credential. This credential is recognized by the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) Bureau of Child Care and Development. It meets Gold Circle of Quality staff qualification requirements in ExceleRate Illinois.
Illinois Early Intervention Developmental Therapist credential. This credential is awarded and recognized by the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) Bureau of Early Intervention. This credential qualifies graduates to provide and bill for early intervention services either independently or with an agency in Illinois. Graduates apply and are entitled to this credential through Provider Connections.
Graduates of this program work in a variety of teaching and leadership positions including:
- Teaching in public and private schools (grades prek- second)
- Working for community agencies and home-based programs
- Directing and administrating early childhood programs
- Developing policy and programs for young children
- Teaching in community colleges and universities
- Working as early intervention developmental specialists, curriculum coordinators and parent trainers
Application Deadlines - this program only admits new students for the fall semester
Fall Domestic Deadline: March 15
The International Deadline is February 15
- Applicants who are not currently registered graduate students at UIC must complete the UIC Graduate School application. Submit your application fee when completing the application.
- If you are a current graduate student at UIC and want to switch programs or degrees sought, add a second prorgam or change to another program after earning a graduate degree (eg., master to doctoral program) you should complete the Request for Change of Graduate Program instead of the application. Please read the Instructions for the Change of Graduate Program form if you are not sure which one to fill out.
- Complete the online College of Education application.
- The following documents should be uploaded online upon receiving email instructions after completing the UIC Graduate School application. View the Document Upload Guide for more information.
- Upload undergraduate transcripts for your last 60 hours of the undergraduate degree and all graduate transcripts.
- TOEFL or IELTS test scores for international applicants only
- Three letters of recommendation. These letters should address the applicant's academic qualifications, research ability/experience and ability to carry on advanced degree studies. Letters may be from current or former professors or supervisors. At least one letter should be from someone who can address your experience working with children.
- Complete a questionnaire and written statement (pdf) regarding experience with young children.
- For programs leading to Illinois licensure, passing scores on the Illinois Test of Academic Proficiency or a 22 or greater composite score on the ACT Plus Writing and a minimum of 19 in English/Writing (if taken within the last ten years prior to application) are required. Scores must be received by the application deadline.