M.Ed. - Early Childhood Education

Program Information

Admission Requirements

M.Ed. Application Form

Graduate Course Rotation

Graduate Student Handbook

Online Tuition Fees


  • All Early Childhood Coursework requires a lab component.
  • Students must purchase or have access to a GoPro HERO camera (or equivalent) to share videos that demonstrate their implementation of lab activities.
  • All students enrolling in the ECE options (initial and advanced) must complete a Federal Background Check as part of their application. Federal Background Check forms are located in the Teacher Education Services office.

Funding Opportunities:

Montana students enrolled in ECE programs who currently work in a qualifying early childhood program (licensed or registered child care, pre-school programs, Head Start or Tribal Head Start, or a Child Care Resources agency) for at least 15 hours per week are eligible for financial support administered through the Montana Early Childhood Project.

Students interested in applying for either of these Montana funding opportunities must have a current Practitioner Registry Certificate at the time of application. The Practitioner Registry process takes several weeks – you are encouraged to complete this step as early as possible to streamline your application for funding.

M.Ed. Early Childhood Education Option

The curriculum is designed to meet national and state early childhood education standards and will be delivered in an on-line format to create a readily accessible master’s degree option for current teachers and other human service professionals to prepare them for emerging needs in the workforce.

  • The Early Childhood Education M.Ed. is designed for professionals who do not have an educational background specifically in early childhood but are interested in or currently established in early childhood careers.
  • All courses require a lab component in a qualifying P-3 setting. Professionals currently working in the early childhood field (preschool – grade 3 settings) will be able to complete most of their lab work in their current settings.
  • This degree offers two tracks.
    • P-3 Early Childhood Education Endorsement
      • Professionals with an elementary education degree will be eligible for Montana’s new P-3 teaching endorsement. Transcripts will be reviewed and some candidates may be required to complete additional coursework to meet state standards such as completion of a supervised clinical experience in a K-3 setting.
      • For students seeking P-3 licensure, state standards require a supervised clinical experience in a qualifying Pre-K program such as a Head Start classroom or community-based preschool program as well as a supervised clinical experience in a K-3 public school setting. The Pre-K experience can be completed in the summer and faculty will assist with and approve these placements.
    • Early childhood career advancement
      • Graduates of any baccalaureate program can meet requirements for employment in community-based early childhood programs, existing Head Start and Early Head Start programs, and Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies. This degree option will also support graduates who seek a focus on working with young children and their families such as psychology, social work, sociology, anthropology, pre-medical sciences, and nursing.

Degree Plan - Early Childhood Education

Graduate Course Rotation

M.Ed. Advanced Early Childhood Education Option

Courses align with the social justice focus of the C&I program and provide students with advanced knowledge that will prepare them to effectively support diverse populations including promoting enhanced outcomes for at-risk children and their families. The program prepares early childhood professionals in becoming master teachers, curriculum specialists, administrators, professional development specialists, and policy advocates as well as preparing students to move into doctoral degree programs to help address the shortage of terminally qualified faculty in the early childhood field.

  • Developed to advance the preparation of leaders in the field of early childhood, this option is designed for early childhood professionals who have completed baccalaureate degrees in early childhood education as well as professionals with diverse undergraduate degrees who work in the early childhood field in roles that do not require the direct implementation or supervision of early childhood curriculum.
  • Requires Lab – Professionals currently working in the early childhood field (non-profits, Head Start, early childhood programs, etc.) can complete the majority of lab requirements in their current setting.

Degree Plan - Advanced Early Childhood Education

Graduate Course Rotation

Early Childhood Education Graduate Certificate Program

For those that already have a master's degree in education or an education related field, or those who are interested in the P-3 endorsement without pursuing a master's degree, we offer an early childhood endorsement certificate program at the graduate level. If you are interested in this track, please follow the Program of Study link - Program of Study. To apply, please follow the graduate certificate admission link - Admission. 

Contact Us

For Program Information:

Susan Harper-Whalen
Associate Dean
PJW College of Education and Human Sciences
Phone: 406-243.4332

For Admissions Information:

Lisa Firehammer
Support Specialist
Teacher Education Services
Phone: (406) 243-4841