Child Study & Early Education M.Ed.

The child study and early education master’s program gives students a broad overview of the educational and developmental needs of young children and their families in early childhood education settings. The program emphasizes the study of the child individually and in groups, and with close attention to cultural context, in order to develop accurate assessments and effective programming. Students may focus specifically on early childhood education (infancy to eight years), family services, public policies for children and families, or interdisciplinary work in childhood studies.

Students come to the master program with experience in early childhood in diverse educational settings and many come with substantial international experience as well. This diversity allows students to enhance their understanding of early education and care in a broad range of contexts and settings. Masters students often go on to work in non-profits, early intervention, educational consultation, as well as returning to classrooms as teachers.

Pathway to Early Childhood PreK-2nd Grade Professional License

The M.Ed in Child Study and Early Education also offers an opportunity for teachers who currently hold an initial teaching license with at least 3 years of teaching experiences in PreK-2nd grades to receive a professional teaching license.


This program leads to a professional teacher licensure in Massachusetts. Because of reciprocity agreements between states, you may be able to transfer your license to another state. However, the College of Education at UMass Amherst makes no guarantees that this program meets teacher licensure requirements in any state other than Massachusetts. If you are seeking licensure in another state, you should contact Seon Yeong Yu,, (413) 545-0010 for more information about how to determine whether this program will be appropriate for you. Access to your state’s licensing agency is available on the Teacher Licensure Agency Directory.

Note: The education specialist degree (Ed.S) is an option for students who would like to pursue an advanced degree beyond a masters, without the dissertation component of the doctorate.

Teacher pointing to overhead projector screen

Course of Study: M.Ed. in Child Study & Early Education

Within the framework for University Graduate School regulations, and with the advice and approval of an academic advisor, Master’s students plan programs of study that include a minimum of 33 credits beyond the baccalaureate degree. Students are required to take courses in the following domains: (1) Child Development, (2) Early Childhood Research and Practices, and (3) Teaching ALL Children. Other courses also can be taken as electives with the advice and approval by their academic advisor.

Candidates who pursue a professional license are required to take at least one course from each of these three areas in the program of study below. They will also be able to discuss with their advisor in order to select courses to fill any gaps in their Subject Matter Knowledge.


Child Development 
Requirements met by completing course such as:

Course Description Credits
EDUC 795G Anthropology of Childhood (required) 3
EDUC 594M Child & Adolescent Development 3
EDUC 673 Advanced Child Development * 3
EDUC 687 Language Development and Literacy 3
EDUC 714 Learning and Thinking in Childhood * 3
  Or other courses recommended by advisor  

Early Childhood Research and Practices
Requirements met by completing course such as:

Course Description Credits
EDUC 697R Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood Education (required) 3
HUMDEV 773 Research and Theory in Early Childhood (required) 3
EDUC 608 Classroom Management for Early Childhood and Elementary Classroom * 3
EDUC 615AK Inclusive Classroom-Application * 3

Teaching ALL Children
Requirements met by completing courses such as:

Course Description Credits
EDUC 792P Seminar on Literacy (required) 3
EDUC 561 Science Education in the Elementary School * 3
EDUC 611 Testing, Assessment and Evaluation in Bilingual & ESL Education * 3
EDUC 668 Learning Disabilities in Children and Youth * 3
EDUC 677 Foundations of Bilingual, ESL & Multicultural Education * 3
EDUC 690 How Children Learn Math * 3
EDUC 693K S-Designing Digital Media in Teaching and Learning * 3
  Or other courses recommended by advisor  

Note: * = classes recommended for students who pursue a professional license in early childhood


Applications to the Child Study and Early Education master's program can be submitted through the Graduate School. 

Application Timeline

The application deadline for fall admission is January 2. Applicants typically receive admissions decisions in early March. 


  • A bachelor's degree in any field
  • Previous experience working with children, can be a practicum experience

Required Materials 

  • Two letters of reference
  • Personal statement
  • Resume/CV
  • Transcripts
  • Online application
  • GRE is not required


For questions about the program, contact the program advisor: Seon Yeong Yu.

Concentration Coordinator: Dr. Ysaaca Axelrod