Frequently asked questions

Have some more questions about Erikson’s online master’s program? Contact us now, or look below for answers to frequently asked questions.


What background do I need to be admitted?

This program is best suited for those with experience teaching in early childhood classrooms as well as Head Start regional coordinators and early childhood program administrators who have taught before. Applicants should have three years of experience in this area and a bachelor’s degree.

See admission requirements »

How do I apply?

You can apply using our online application system. Before starting the application, download the instructions/supplemental materials packet. Applications, including supporting materials, are due no later than October 1 for the cohort starting the following January.

When will I find out if I’m accepted?

Admission decision letters will be mailed during the third week of November.

Can I apply to take individual courses online?

The online master of science program in early childhood education enrolls a cohort of students who take a carefully sequenced, required set of courses together. These courses are not currently offered individually. However, Erikson does offer courses from our infant studies program online which may be taken individually if space is available.

Degree program

What’s involved in earning an online degree at Erikson?

You’ll engage with instructors and classmates in several ways. Typically you’ll be assigned readings and respond to them through reflective journals and group discussions online. Instructors may use video and multimedia presentations to demonstrate concepts. You’ll write formal academic papers offline and submit them to your instructor. You’ll have intensive interaction with your instructors and seminar leader via e-mail and online discussions. All the tools and course content will be available through a simple, central interface called EriksonOnline.

How is this degree program different from the campus-based master’s?

Both programs focus on elevating the practice of early childhood teachers. The online master’s program is designed so that from Day One you are asked to reflect upon how your coursework applies to your daily experience in your job. Thus this program seeks candidates with a bit more experience, who are prepared to examine their own work. The online program goes beyond better teaching techniques to instill a broader understanding of what goes on in the classroom, preparing you to provide leadership in the early childhood environment. It’s suited not only for teachers but also for program administrators or coordinators.

How long does the program take to complete?

Two years. The cohort begins in January and completes the program two years later in December.

What kind of time commitment does the program involve?

This is a rigorous graduate program; you’ll have to work steadily to keep up with course assignments You can expect to spend 12 to 15 hours per week reading, writing, reflecting, discussing, and engaging in the online community of your cohort for each course. The advantage of online courses is that you can do the work at a time and place convenient for you—and you won’t spend time commuting to campus or sitting in a classroom.

Courses and participation

How many classes will I take at a time?

You’ll take two courses of either 15 or 10 weeks in the fall and spring terms, plus an integrative seminar. In the summer, you’ll take one 10- week course.

What is the integrative seminar?

This reflective seminar—a requirement of every Erikson degree adapted specifically for the online degree program—links the material you’re learning with issues you see at work. Running throughout the entire program, the seminar’s guided discussions help you get the most out of your course readings, explore your own responses, learn from others’ experience, and integrate new theories and insights into your daily professional experience. It gives you an interactive community of practice and tools to start improving your practice immediately.

What courses are available online?

This is a degree program comprised of courses carefully sequenced to build upon one another. Program courses are listed here. In addition to this program, we offer courses from our infant studies certificate program that may be taken online.

How much reading and writing is involved?

Quite a bit. This is an academically intense program with a multidisciplinary focus covering many perspectives, so there is a lot to read, absorb, and respond to. Both our campus and online students tell us that they are surprised by the amount of reading they face.

Are there any meetings or sessions I need to attend in person?

All course activities take place online, and for the most part you have great flexibility in doing the work at your own convenience. There may be times when you schedule a specific time to talk with your instructor or adviser via Skype, or meet online with your classmates to work on a group project. You may get to know your classmates so well you want to meet them face-to-face some day, but generally you will not be required to show up anywhere to complete course or degree requirements.

Are there due dates for completing assignments?

While you have a lot of latitude in when you do your coursework, the courses are not self-paced. Like any other course, instructors set due dates for your work. Information about assignments and due dates is provided in every course.

Can I take a break from classes and extend the program if necessary?

Because Erikson enrolls students in cohorts and schedules coursework in a sequence that builds on the knowledge covered previously, it’s usually not possible to take a break and return to the program. If circumstances arise where you think you need to, please consult your instructor or adviser.

Do distance-learning students follow the same curriculum as on-campus students?

Yes, pretty much. The online master’s program is built upon the same core courses in child development that are at the heart of all our master’s programs. Courses covering teaching methods use much the same content as campus-based classes but it’s combined and streamlined for online delivery and an emphasis on practice. Online infant studies courses are the same as offerings in our campus-based certificate programs. All courses are designed by the same teams of faculty members and taught by experienced Erikson faculty. The difference is in the style and methods of delivery.

Who will be teaching courses online?

You’ll learn from experienced Erikson faculty who are well known in their field and have specialized training and a personal commitment to teaching in the online environment.

Will I get to know my instructor and classmates?

Yes! At Erikson, we believe learning occurs in strong relationships so we work hard to build them. Online, those relationships are close because instructors are providing intensive, one-on-one personal feedback. Some online students say that their relationships with instructors and classmates are much closer than they expected, and that they communicate more frequently in an online class than in a traditional face-to-face classroom.

How will I interact with other students in the program?

You’ll meet, collaborate, and bond with your classmates through through weekly discussions and group activities as well as informal chat rooms. Our cohort model means you’ll be studying with a small group of students who have much in common with you. You can use social networking tools like Facebook to connect to classmates and the larger Erikson community of students and alumni.

How do I receive and hand in assignments?

Assignments will be posted in EriksonOnline; you submit assigned papers and materials by uploading them through the same system.

How am I graded?

You’re evaluated based on formal academic papers, observation and reflection papers, and participation in online discussions and your contributions to the online learning community. Faculty members will post questions for reflection; you’ll read and respond to these and your classmates’ posts. Exams are rare, but some instructors may use them.

Where do I get course materials? Do I have to buy books?

Course syllabi are made available through EriksonOnline two weeks before the start of each term. Required and recommended text books for all courses are listed in the syllabus, and a complete text book list is also made available through the Library’s page on My.Erikson for each term. Many readings are provided in PDF format or through online links.

Costs and financial aid

How much does the program cost?

Tuition is the same as for the campus-based degree programs. See our tuition and fees page for more information. Tuition increases annually, so you can expect to pay somewhat more in the second year of the program.

Is financial aid available?

Yes. Eligible students can apply for low-interest federal student loans to cover the cost of tuition, fees, books and supplies, living expenses and personal expenses. Click here to read detailed information about federal student loan programs.

Are there extra costs associated with online courses?

No. More information on tuition and fees is available here.

What if I need financial help to get required software or hardware?

If you need additional financial aid to cover expenses related to enrolling in the program, you can submit a request to the Financial Aid Office and we can adjust your loan eligibility accordingly.

Student services and resources

What resources and help are available for online students?

Support starts before your classes do. We provide an orientation to EriksonOnline and plenty of tutorials, so you’re comfortable in the learning environment. Technical support will be available by phone and e-mail, and when you call you’ll talk to a human who knows the system well. Student services staff will answer all your questions about academic and administrative matters: admission, registration, tuition payments, financial aid and more. You’ll also have access to career support.

Are library resources available?

Yes, you can access the rich online resources of Erikson’s Edward Neisser Library from anywhere.

Technical requirements and support

What kind of computer equipment do I need?

You’ll need a Mac or PC with a current version of a web browser and a high-speed connection to the Internet. See details on operating system and software requirements available here.

How do I get a login username and password to participate in courses?

You’ll receive instructions on when, where, and how to log in, when you are admitted.

Can I use my own e-mail address?

You must use an e-mail assigned to you at the time of program and check it regularly. This provides consistency and minimizes problems with lost or misdirected mail, full mailboxes, spam blockers, oversized attachments, and service outages.

What will I need to be able to do online to take courses?

Basically you need to be able to log onto a site, send and receive e-mails, open PDFs, upload and download files, and type in responses on discussion boards. A more specific list of skills can be found here. Most of your assignments and interaction in the program are written; you may wish to take advantage of our writing program to boost those skills.
Writing program details »

What if I have technical problems and miss a due date for a class assignment?

Just as in any other class, explain this to your instructor immediately, by phone if necessary. Your instructor will assess the circumstances and advise you.