The Master’s Degree of Education (M.Ed.) is offered for individuals who already possess teacher licensure in an area other than ECSE and wish to improve their teaching skills. Both programs require two years of study. Graduates of the programs will be certified to teach young children with disabilities (birth through age five).
The Curry School of Education invites applications for its Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) program. The primary mission of this training program is to produce high-quality graduates to staff and lead educational programs that serve for infants, toddlers, and preschool children with mild to severe disabilities or developmental delays and their families.
This program prepares teachers with a Master’s degree in education in ECSE who can use research-based practices that improve outcomes for children birth to five and their families. The ECSE program meets Virginia’s licensure requirements for an ECSE teaching endorsement.
Prerequisites and Admission Requirements
The student desiring to pursue the Master of Education degree must submit an application to the Admissions Office of the Curry School of Education. The applicant to this degree program must:
1. hold a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university;
2. have a B average or better for the last two years of undergraduate study;
3. submit an application for admission and official transcripts of all previous undergraduate and graduate work;
4. submit an official report of the Graduate Record Examination Aptitude Test (scores must be less than five years old);
5. submit at least two letters of recommendation from professionals who can attest to their promise as a graduate student and professional educator;
6. submit a statement of professional goals;
7. meet any additional individual departmental or program area requirements.
Application Due Date
This innovative program consists of a sequence of courses and practica reflecting current training priorities for personnel serving young children and their families. These priorities include:
• Knowledge of child development and developmentally appropriate practice;
• Use of appropriate assessment and teaching strategies;
• Family-focused and culturally responsive services;
• Specialized skills to teach children with autism and low incidence disabilities; and
• Collaborative skills required to work with families and professionals.
The ECSE program includes practicum opportunities that allow for supervised application of course content. Practicum experiences occur simultaneously with coursework, so that students are continually applying knowledge gained in coursework and developing competencies through real-life experiences. Practicum placements may include early intervention programs for infants and toddlers, public school preschool programs (self-contained and inclusive early childhood special education classrooms) and community-based preschool programs (private preschool or child care).
The Early and Responsive learning Initiative (EARLI) grant provides tuition assistance to a portion of students enrolled in the ECSE program. This funding provides in-state tuition for both years of study for selected full-time PGMT/M.Ed. students and in-state tuition for the fifth year of study for selected BAMT students. Federal tuition support dollars are limited to US citizens. In order to receive funding, students must sign an agreement to teach children with disabilities (birth to age five) in an ECSE classroom in a public school setting in the United States. Two years of teaching are required as a payback for each year of funding received.
Typical Length of Study
Sample Jobs After Graduation
After graduation, the early childhood special educator may work directly with children aged birth through five or may work in a collaborative relationship with other professionals. Settings in which program graduates are often employed include early intervention programs, self-contained and inclusive special education preschool programs, public and private preschool programs, Head Start programs, and hospital education programs.