For a master’s degree in Infancy & Early Childhood Special Education

Infancy & Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) prepares students to work with young children with disabilities and their families. The master's degree program is based on the following core beliefs: (1) families make a unique contribution to the family-professional partnership and are an integral member of the team; (2) children are active participants in their own learning; and (3) children, families and professionals benefit from the diverse knowledge that team members share with each other. Coursework and field experiences are designed to facilitate each student's professional growth, and self-reflection is a major component in this training program.

Masters in Education (Ed.M.)

  • Students may focus in either Infancy (Birth to Three Years Old) or Early Childhood Special Education (Three to Six Years Old), or both Infancy and Early Childhood Special Education (Birth to Six Years Old).
  • A master's degree with a focus in Infancy (Birth to Three Years Old) prepares students to work as early interventionists with infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families. Early interventionists work in a variety of settings, including agencies, hospitals, and families' homes. Entry into this program does not require a professional teaching license or a teaching certificate.
  • A master's degree with a focus in Early Childhood Special Education (Three to Six Years Old) prepares students to work with preschool-aged children with disabilities and their families. Early Childhood Special Educators work primarily in public school settings, although other options are available. Prerequisite: Illinois Professional Educator License with an Early Childhood Education (ECE) Endorsement. Note: This option contains the coursework and field work necessary to apply for an Illinois Primary Content Endorsement in English as a Second Language (ESL).
  • Advisors can assist students in planning a dual program of regular Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Special Education in which students take Early Childhood Education coursework to obtain an Illinois Professional Educator License with an Early Childhood Education (ECE) Endorsement, while also completing master's coursework in Early Childhood Special Education. Note: Students must have passed the Illinois Test of Academic Proficiency in order to participate in this dual program.

Masters of Science (M.S.)

  • This option combines a thesis requirement with the master’s of education program requirements. This option is planned in collaboration with the student’s advisor.