MEd in early childhood education

Early childhood program mission statement

The Institute of Child Development’s early childhood education programs recognize that all children deserve equitable learning experiences so they can achieve their full potential. Our academic programs are rooted in the science of child development, which tells us that high-quality early childhood education occurs in the context of positive relationships among teachers, children, and their families. We are committed to training educators who build strong relationships, embrace diversity, value full inclusion, and work to eliminate structural inequities that limit children’s educational opportunities.

Earn a license to teach in early childhood (birth-3rd grade) classrooms in Minnesota. Build a strong foundation in child development theory, research, and developmentally appropriate methods that you can apply in the classroom.

After successfully completing program requirements, you’ll earn your MEd and be recommended for a license to teach in early childhood classrooms (birth-3rd grade) in Minnesota.

This program is for students pursuing their first Minnesota teaching license. There are no prerequisite courses required for admission.

If you're already licensed to teach elementary education in Minnesota, see our additional licensure program for information about how to add an early childhood education license.

Find what drives you: Join us

  • Student teach at the Child Development Laboratory School, an on-campus preschool and a living laboratory for early childhood curriculum development.
  • As a teacher licensure student at the University of Minnesota, you’ll be part of a program that’s well respected in Minnesota school districts. Our students are highly sought after by Minnesota school principals and superintendents.
  • Earn a master’s degree and prepare for potential career advancement opportunities like moving into school or district administration.

How to apply


Based in developmental theory, our curriculum provides you with the skills needed to meet each child where they are in their educational journey. To prepare you to teach children from birth to 3rd grade, coursework will include classes on early childhood education theory and methods, and elementary education methods.

Early childhood education

  • Foundations of early childhood education
  • Social and emotional learning
  • Cognitive and language learning
  • Creative and motor learning
  • Education of infants, toddlers, and preschool children with disabilities

Teaching methods

  • Reading instruction
  • Language arts instruction
  • Science instruction
  • Teaching English learners
  • Social studies instruction
  • Mathematics instruction

You’ll complete two student teaching experiences: one in an early childhood classroom and one in a lower elementary classroom (K-3). To earn your MEd, you’ll complete a capstone project on how to improve early childhood education teaching methods. Admission is available for fall and spring sessions.

Circle stat

job placement within one year

source: 2017 UMN Office of Teacher Education survey


Salary outlook

A teacher's salary depends on two factors: number of years teaching and level of education. A teacher with a master's degree is able to start at a higher salary. Minnesota teachers tend to make more than the national median wage.

Minnesota salary information: iseek careers, Minnesota's career, education, and job resource

National salary information: Bureau of Labor and Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook

Job outlook

Minnesota job outlook: iseek careers, Minnesota's career, education, and job resource

National job outlook: Bureau of Labor and Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook

Preparing students to be leaders in the classroom

A teacher listens to a preschool student while they participate in a small group discussion
The University of Minnesota Early Childhood Education Master's Program is setting up their student teachers for success! We've found U of M students have a deep understanding of developmentally appropriate practices that are aligned with standards. U of M students have a deeper understanding of developmental psychology and inquiry-based instruction, and demonstrate a strong understanding of strategies for active engagement.

Joel Knorr
Principal, Oak Point Elementary
Eden Prairie Schools

Tuition and funding

Tuition for our MEd program follows the Masters in Education and post-baccalaureate tuition rates for the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD). Full-time enrollment is 6 to 14 credits per semester.

Every year, students in the CEHD’s initial licensure/MEd programs receive more than $600,000 in scholarships. Learn more about financial support for future teachers.

Langguth Sisters Scholarship

The Langguth Sisters Scholarship is a one-time, one-semester scholarship of $3,500 that is awarded to an MEd in early childhood student for the final term of their program. Applications are accepted each fall semester.

Learn more (Google site - U of M login required)

We're driven to make a difference

Kayne Lussier
Through the ECE program, I was able to work with a wide range of educators from Infant Specialists to Elementary School Teachers. I learned how to transfer my study in child development into practicable pedagogy.

Kayne Lussier
M.Ed./initial licensure in early childhood education student