BS in early childhood
Individualized studies track

If you see yourself in a different type of role within the early childhood field, look to this track for the most flexibility. Our individualized studies program prepares you to work with young children and families in settings where a teaching license is not required. Develop a course plan that blends early childhood classes with your other areas of interest. Examples include languages, healthcare, cultural studies, or performing arts.


Our curriculum will help you build a strong foundation in child development. Complete our general early childhood education coursework alongside the classes you and your advisor plan specifically for your interests in the individualized studies track.

Our pedagogical courses are grounded in the latest child development research. As a teaching student in the Institute of Child Development (ICD), the number one-ranked developmental psychology program in the nation, you’ll put groundbreaking discoveries in brain development into immediate practice with young children.

Student teaching experience

As an individualized studies student you have multiple options to choose from for your senior year student teaching experience. Many students choose to complete a semester-long experience in the Child Development Laboratory School (CDLS), a preschool located in the Como neighborhood close to the Twin Cities campus and one of the longest-running laboratory schools in the nation.

Others take a course and teaching practicum in Trauma-Informed Care to achieve a particular focus on more vulnerable populations. Still others work individually with early childhood staff and instructors to plan something more suited to their unique career interests and goals, such as a learning abroad experience or teaching in a language immersion school.

A student teacher reads to two preschoolers.

Learning abroad

Consider studying abroad as part of your early childhood major. As a learning abroad student, you’ll have the chance to immerse yourself in a different culture, advance your education, and gain the experience of a lifetime.

Students have many opportunities to choose from to fulfill general degree or major requirements, and our Individualized Track students have the most flexibility as you may design your supporting curriculum to specifically incorporate these classes!

Visit our learning abroad page to explore program options. We highlight three applicable programs in Brazil, France, and Scandinavia, but many additional options are available.


Upon graduation, you'll be prepared for a variety of careers in non-licensure settings or to pursue a graduate degree. Examples of these types of positions held by our early childhood graduates include:

  • preschool or child care director / administrator
  • guardian ad litem
  • public television programming and outreach manager
  • early childhood advocacy leader
  • community education coordinator
  • graduate student in occupational therapy, special education, international education, leadership, and parent and family education

Find out more about careers in early childhood.

Meet your advisor

Meghan Allen Eliason
I am so excited to work with our early educators who are preparing to do such important and meaningful work with young people and families. I am here to help guide our students through their degrees, which includes understanding program requirements and planning for post-college goals. Please don’t hesitate to contact me with questions!

Meghan Allen Eliason
Academic advisor
Schedule an appointment

Tuition and funding

Visit OneStop Student Services to learn more about tuition and financing.

Visit the College of Education and Human Development’s (CEHD) undergraduate costs, aid and scholarships page to find out about CEHD-specific opportunities.

Incoming first-year students who are interested in early childhood education are automatically considered for the Campbell Scholarship for Education. Visit the Office of Admissions scholarships page for more information on this and additional CEHD scholarships available to incoming first-year students.

How to apply

First-year student admissions

First-year student admissions are handled through the University Admissions Office. You're considered a first-year student if you graduated high school and are starting your first-year of college at the Univeristy of Minnesota.

Additional deadline information

Application checklist

Transfer admissions

If you're interested in transferring to CEHD, review their transfer admissions website.

You're considered a transfer student if you're a high school graduate who has registered or enrolled at a college, university, or any other school after graduating from high school. Current U of M students who are not in CEHD are also considered transfer students.

Declare your major

Are you a current CEHD student who is ready to declare your major? Follow these steps.

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.