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Master of Science in Early Childhood Education

Prepare for your Illinois Professional Educator License (PEL) with three embedded endorsements.

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MSECE OVERVIEW

Accelerate Your Career as a Fully Licensed Early Childhood Teacher

You’re ready to become a teacher. And you want to be ready for every child that walks into the classroom door. Join the first cohort in this inaugural degree program for the state of Illinois.

Being a teacher today means leading classrooms defined by a multiplicity of languages, abilities, and life experiences. More than 50 percent of your students will be children of color. To create a truly inclusive classroom, you need to know how to build on the strengths of every student and much more. You need to be attuned to individual family dynamics and have a comprehensive understanding of the systemic forces that stand in the way of learning and opportunity.

Basics

Add to the Scope of Your Teaching Opportunities

Start this Summer and earn your ECE degree, initial licensure and three endorsements in a hybrid program.

36 Credit Hours

Hybrid

Summer Start Date

Part-Time: 2 years

Full-Time: 1 year

Why Erikson

Earn Your Master of Early Childhood Education from Pioneers in the Field

Prepare to become a licensed teacher for young children.

 

 

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Flexible Study Options

Study part-time or full-time based on your needs.

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Licensure Pathway

The MSECE program leads to the initial Illinois Professional Educator License (PEL).

Embedded Endorsements

Our program integrates three endorsements in a single course of study: Early Childhood Education, English as a Second Language/ bilingual education, and Special Education.

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Faculty Experts

Collaborate with our nationally recognized faculty, build a respected network of field experts, and learn from the field’s leading voices.

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Real-World Field Experience

Put theory to practice in one of over 150 Chicagoland field placement opportunities while completing your student teaching requirements.

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Small, Personal Classes

Work closely with your professors and peers in small classes where personal relationships enrich your learning experiences

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Self-Reflective Supervision Seminars

Learn resilience and healthy professional practices from experienced practitioners.

Help Make a More Equitable Society

Teaching is challenging work, but the rewards are enormous–every effective teacher moves us that much closer to a more equitable society. That’s why the Erikson Institute has created the only program of its kind in Illinois: Master of Science in Early Childhood Education with three embedded endorsements (Early Childhood, English as a Second Language/ Bilingual, and Special Education).

The traditional method of “stacking” endorsements is costly, time-consuming, and falls far short of offering a holistic approach that every child needs. Our initial licensure program integrates three endorsements in a single course of study: Early Childhood Ed, ESL/ Bilingual Ed, and Special Ed.

Beyond traditional student supports, graduates of the program will have access to a 2-year professional learning community and earn professional development hours.

Gain Experience with Extraordinary ECE Student Teaching Placements

Put theory into practice.

Learning can never be confined to a classroom — nor should it. Student teaching experiences are critical component of your ECE degree work.

For placement, you will be working during the day at custom-selected locations that include multilingual and children with special needs. When you graduate, you’ll be ready to take your learning and lead in your career path.

10
Weeks Total
350
Hours of Student Teaching Experience

MSECE ENDORSEMENTS

Earn Three High-Demand Early Childhood Education Endorsements

Add to your credentials with these endorsements embedded directly in your program. Graduates of this program will be eligible to earn these endorsements from the Illinois State Board of Education based on the curriculum inclusive of the requirements and clinical hours. Students may need to pass additional tests from the state.

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Early Childhood Birth-2nd Grade Endorsement
After completing this program, you will be eligible to earn the Early Childhood Education Birth-Grade 2 endorsement

Special Education / LBS1 Endorsement

After completing this program, you will be eligible to earn the LBS1 endorsement and Early Childhood Special Education letter of approval.

Bilingual/ESL Endorsement

After completing this program, you will be eligible to earn the bilingual or bilingual/ESL endorsements.

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FINANCIAL SUPPORT, GRANT & SCHOLARSHIP OPTIONS

Look Into Erikson’s Robust Financial Support & Scholarship Options

With Erikson’s Educator Impact Grant students may be eligible for all tuition and fees.

Additionally, with dozens of scholarships and other financial aid opportunities, our team is here to help you make your graduate education more affordable.

Based on your unique professional goals, we can help you understand tuition and expenses, and identify possible financial support opportunities.

Financial Aid Options  Tuition and Fees

TALK TO A FINANCIAL ADVISOR 

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Apply Now for Priority Scholarship & Grant Considerations

Applications received by March 15th will receive primary consideration for scholarship and grant awards.

START MY APPLICATION

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Career Services

Join the ECE Program Family for Support at Every Step of Your Journey

At Erikson Institute, our Career Services team works with you every step of the way.

  • Career counseling and workshops
  • Annual job fair and networking events
  • Interview prep and resume reviews
  • Career placement program
  • Student and graduate resume book

With hundreds of partnerships and robust networks of alumni and field experts, the Career Services team is here to help you put your education into practice.

Meet our Career Specialists

Hear from Our Alum

Evan Tracy
MS Early Childhood Education 2013
“ I learned so much at Erikson about the holistic, interconnected nature of child development and early childhood education. A deep knowledge of best educational practices prepared me for my work in public schools. ”

Open New Doors with Your Erikson ECE Degree

Once you graduate, you’ll be able to put your degree to work right away. Here are a few of the role Erikson graduates take on after graduation.

Learn more about Career Services

  • Licensed early childhood teacher
  • Education coordinator
  • Child care center director
  • Executive director of early childhood program
  • Curriculum coordinator
  • Master teacher
  • Bilingual, ESL/ELL teacher
  • Early childhood special education teacher
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Erikson Professors are Leaders in the Field

Gain expert perspectives working closely with leaders in the field.

Erikson’s Early Childhood Education program faculty are nationally recognized. With specific research interests and decades of experience, each of our faculty enriches your academic experience, connecting you to new networks and the latest data.

Meet the Program Faculty

Explore a Few of Our MSECE Program Courses

See all MSECE courses

Inclusive and culturally sustaining early childhood education approaches, practices, and learning environments
This course critically examines early childhood (birth through age eight) approaches, practices, and learning environments from historical, sociocultural, and political perspectives while emphasizing the material, interpersonal, and environmental factors that extend knowledge and curriculum-making.
Reflecting on the foundations of US schooling: the exclusion and rights of children of color, immigrant children, multilingual children, and children with diverse abilities or dis/abilities
This course introduces students to the historical policies, practices, and structures of formal schooling in the United States, including the exclusion and rights of children of color, immigrant children, indigenous children, multilingual children, and children with diverse abilities or dis/abilities.
The cultural nature of human development and learning
This course provides an overview of child development from conception to age eight.

ECE Program FAQs

Find answers to the biggest questions students ask about the ECE program.

Grant eligibility is contingent upon admission, enrollment, and completion of a grant application. Grants are conditioned on recipients, post-graduation, serving underinvested communities for 4 years and participating in 2 years of a professional learning community; failure to meet these conditions will require, in most cases, repayment of tuition and fee amounts. Additional criteria may apply.

If you prefer not to apply to the Erikson Educator Impact Grant or are not awarded the grant, Erikson awards over $2 million in scholarships to students enrolled in our degree and certificate programs. Erikson also participates in the federal Direct Loan programs, and assuming you meet all eligibility requirements, you will have access to both Unsubsidized and Graduate PLUS loans to help finance your Erikson education.

Over 90% of our students work either part-time or full-time as they are pursuing their Erikson degree.

The other factor to consider as you think about your work schedule is whether you want to pursue your master’s degree program in one or two years. While there are always exceptions to this, most students who wish to work full time while enrolled at Erikson opt for the two-year program. Students who have more flexibility in their work schedule or want to complete their program in a shorter period of time while working part-time tend to enroll in the one-year program.

It’s important to note that you will be required to be available during business hours Monday through Friday during your student teaching for your student teaching placement, and you will have evening courses and methods seminars one to two nights per week. We encourage you to plan ahead and communicate as necessary with your employer in advance of your program.

It may be possible to complete your student teaching with your existing employer if you work with an agency that provides site-based early care and education to children under the age of eight. Student teaching requirements may differ based on your situation and could result in two different placements. Given that this is a program with three embedded endorsements in ECE, ESL/bilingual and special education at least one of the placements will need to have multilingual and children with special needs. Staff in our Field Education Office will work with you to find student teaching placements.

The staff in our Field Education and Career Services Office will work with you to prepare you for seeking positions while you’re enrolled at Erikson and upon graduating from the program. You’ll receive feedback on your resume and cover letters, and we also maintain a job board on our campus portal where employers list part-time and full-time positions for which they’re hiring.

The Career Services team also plans an annual social work, early education, and child development job fair for Erikson students and alumni. In concert with the job fair, you can submit your resume to be included in an annual Resume Book that we distribute to organizations and managers who are interested in hiring Erikson students and alumni.

Erikson students live in a wide range of neighborhoods in Chicago and in the suburbs. We do not offer campus housing. While we can’t make specific recommendations about where you should live, we encourage you to find a neighborhood that suits your style, taste, and budget. To help you in your housing search, we work closely with StudentSpace, a free apartment-finding service that specializes in helping graduate students find housing in Chicago.

Because of Erikson’s small size, you’ll have access to a wide range of both informal and formal student support services. These include:

  • The Field Education and Career Services team will help you identify and apply for your internship placement. Erikson has hundreds of pre-approved internship sites, so you don’t have to worry about finding a placement site on your own.
  • Advising about your financial aid options, including personal financial education, is coordinated through the Financial Aid Office.
  • Academic advising is facilitated through your faculty advisor and program director.
  • The Academic Success Center provides services to help you with the academic reading and writing expectations of your program. The Center also sponsors discussion groups for selected master’s program courses.
  • The Director of Disability Services provides advising and support for students with disabilities and students who need accommodations for their academic work.
  • WorkLifeMatters is a confidential student assistance program offered to all Erikson students through Guardian and Integrated Behavioral Health (IBH). You have unlimited access to consult with a professional counselor via telephone. Face-to-face counseling sessions are available, if needed, with an IBH network provider — and up to eight sessions are free of charge as part of WorkLifeMatters.
  • Validated parking at a reduced rate is provided to Erikson students in three nearby parking garages. You will also have access to deeply discounted public transportation through the CTA U-Pass program.