Early Childhood Education B.A.

Undergraduates at UMass Amherst may major in education with a concentration on early childhood education, leading to initial licensure and/or Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care Lead Teacher Credentials. Early childhood education students engage in a rigorous academic program as well as a carefully sequenced series of field experiences in diverse educational settings. They apply to the major once they have completed their prerequisites, generally in the spring of their sophomore year. While education is their primary major, they also complete a secondary major in the liberal arts, social sciences, or sciences. Graduates have been very successful in securing teaching positions in public and private schools in Massachusetts as well in as other states. 

Teacher reading book to young children

Course of Study

The major is 44 credits, 11-12 of which are field-based in schools. Students complete field experiences in a variety of settings and grade levels. Throughout their course of study, students also use the UMass-Tk20 online course management and e-portfolio system to keep an organized record of their pre-practicum and practicum work. 

Level 1 Core Courses (Junior Year)

Course Description Credits
EDUC 393M Introduction to Early Childhood 3
EDUC 282A  Pre-Practicum in ECE (taken concurrently with EDUC 393M) 1
EDUC 325 Introduction to Special Education 3
EDUC 461 Principles and Methods of Teaching Reading and the Language Arts 3
EDUC 482E School-Based Field Experience (taken concurrently with EDUC 461) 2
EDUC 463  Principles and Methods of Mathematics PreK-6th 3
EDUC 370 Writing for Education Majors (offered spring semester only) 3
EDUC 503 Sheltered English Immersion 3
  Total over both semesters 21

Junior Year Elective (choose one) 

Course Description Credits
EDUC 497D Creative Arts and Activities for Young Children 3
EDUC 351 Social Foundations of Education 3
EDUC 378 Survey of Children's Literature 3
EDUC 462 Teaching Science in the Elementary School 3
HUMDEV 300 Human Development in Infancy 3
EDUC 501  Classroom Assessment 3

Students seeking licensure in Early Childhood Education (PreK-2, students with and without disabilities) must pass the Early Childhood and Foundations of Reading MTEL prior to the spring semester of their senior year.

Level 2 Clinical Courses and Field Experiences (Senior Year)

Course Description Credits
Fall Semester    
EDUC 455 Early Childhood Planning and Assessment 3
EDUC 598A ECE Practicum I: PreK-K (taken concurrently with EDUC 491D) 3
EDUC 491D Seminar Early Childhood Education (taken concurrently with EDUC 598A) 1
  Total 7
Spring Semester    
EDUC 301 Young Children in Families and Schools 3
*EDUC 500Y OR EDUC 598B Student Teaching ECE Prek-2nd OR ECE B-5y Practicum 6
EDUC 491D  Seminar in Early Childhood Education (taken concurrently with either EDUC 500Y OR EDUC 598B 1
EDUC 494EI The Professional Early Childhood Teacher (Integrative Experience) 3
  Total 13

*Students seeking MA DESE ECE licensure may not register for EDUC 500Y until they have passed the Early Childhood and Foundations of Reading MTEL. Students seeking DEEC Lead Teacher Certification (Infant/Toddler or Preschool) should enroll in EDUC 598B.

Academic Advising

Students apply to the program in the spring of their sophomore year and admitted in their junior year. Prior to admission, students who plan to apply receive advising from the Education Advising Center (Furcolo Hall). Once accepted, an Early Childhood Education faculty member will serve as the academic advisor. Students will also continue to seek advising from their other major advisor.


Early childhood education concentration students complete a primary major in Education with a concentration in Early Childhood Education and a secondary major of their choice

Application Process 

The Application for Early Childhood Education is now closed. The deadline to apply is January 20, 2020.  (Juniors will require an additional year to complete the program.)

Undergraduate Admissions Timeline:

Application due: January 20th 

Applicant Interviews: Week of February 15th 

Notify Applicants about Acceptance: Week of March 1st

Commitment to the Program: By March 13th 


  •  MATH 113, MATH 114, HUMDEV 270
  •  A passing score on the Communication and Literacy Skills portion of the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure (MTEL)
  •  A minimum GPA of 3.0

Required Materials 

Criteria for admission include cumulative GPA, completion of prerequisites and strength of the personal statement. Students interested in the Education major should seek advising through the Education Advising Center (education@umass.edu or 413-545-2231) in their freshman year.

Contact Information

Please contact the Education Advising Center (education@umass.edu or 413-545-2231) for more information on the Education major.