College of Education and Human Development

Institute of Child Development

Early care and education MEd (non-licensure)

The Early Care and Education MEd provides students with a robust preparation for work as leaders in the field of early childhood education. This degree is an excellent program for students who are interested in a solid foundation of developmental science and individualized learning options free from the requirements of the Minnesota state teaching license. The program combines coursework in cutting-edge child development research with opportunities to engage in supervised applied work with young children.

Admission is available for fall and spring semester.

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.

About this program

Program highlights

  • Gain experience at the Child Development Laboratory School, an on-campus preschool and a living laboratory for early childhood curriculum development. For those students who already have teaching experience, work with your advisor to craft a meaningful capstone project based around your career goals and interests.
  • Earn a master’s degree and prepare for potential career advancement opportunities or moving into a leadership role.
  • Work with young children and families where a teaching license is not required, such as community programs or in early childhood policy and advocacy positions.

This program is recommended for:

  • International students who are interested in learning about early care and education in the United States
  • Teachers in the field who want to pursue a master’s degree
  • Emerging leaders in the private and non-profit early care and education field
  • Anyone interested in working with young children and their families in a variety of settings where a teaching license is not required


The Early Care and Education MEd provides students with a strong foundation in child development theory and research and developmentally appropriate methodology for facilitating the development of children within the early childhood years (birth to age 8). Applied experiences are available in a variety of settings to create a strong experiential base in which to apply the principles and methods learned in University courses. Emphasis is placed on topics such as:

  • Working with diverse learners and understanding individual learning needs
  • Using a variety of instructional, research-based strategies
  • Providing inclusive programming for children with and without special needs
  • Collaborating with families and creating positive early childhood communities

Learn More About Curriculum

Meet your advisor

We’re here to answer any questions you have about the program.

Quote from Ann Ruhl Carlson

I am so excited about the opportunities for professional growth and learning available to our future students following this degree path! I am passionate about the critical work being done in the early childhood field, and want to help students design a course of study that allows them to reach their goals. If you have questions about the program, please contact me.

How to apply

    Admissions requirements and deadline

    We accept applications for our MEd in early care and education program each year. If admitted, you can choose to start the program in the fall or spring.


    September 15: Final deadline for spring applications
    December 15: Priority deadline for fall applications to be considered for financial assistance
    February 15: Final deadline for fall applications


    There are no prerequisite courses required to apply to this program. Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree, with a minimum GPA of 2.80. 

    Test scores

    You don't have to take any tests to apply to this program (except TOEFL scores for international students). We do not require the GRE. We also do not require any state licensing exams prior to admission (known as MTLEs in Minnesota).

    Information for international students
    • English language test scores: For students whose first language is not English, the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is required. The only exception is for non-native English speakers who completed the entirety of their undergraduate degree (four years) in an English-speaking country within the last five years. You’ll need to enter your self-reported TOEFL scores in the online application and send your official electronic TOEFL scores to the University of Minnesota (institution code 6874). View the U of M’s TOEFL score guidelines and expectations. Please note that the M.Ed. in Early Care and Education Program has a preferred TOEFL speak score of 23 or higher.

    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.

    There are also scholarships dedicated for students enrolled in this program. 

    Additional resources

    Application instructions

    Before you begin

    Before you begin the online application, gather the following materials:

    • Unofficial transcripts: You must submit an unofficial transcript or academic record for each institution you’ve attended. International students must submit an English translation of their transcript.
    • Personal statement:  Provide a personal statement based on the following prompt, Early Care and Education personal statement prompt
    • Resume or CV: In your resume, highlight your work with children, classroom experience, diversity experience, and other experiences relevant to teaching and/or working with young children. Leave the employment section of the application blank.
    • Two letters of recommendation: Identify and get contact information for two people who will serve as your recommenders. Recommenders should be professionals (e.g., administrators, instructors, or colleagues) who can speak to your experience working with children/youth or your commitment to educational equity.
    • Application Fee: $75 ($95 for international applicants). Must be paid online with credit card.

    Optional materials

    • Diversity statement: If you wish to be considered for the Provost’s Professional Diversity Fellowship, please write a diversity statement on how your background, experiences, and achievements will contribute to the University's goal of promoting excellence through diversity. Learn more about the Provost’s Professional Diversity Fellowship.

    Submit all materials through the University’s online application system. Please don't submit materials via mail. We cannot review your application until you've submitted all the materials listed below.

    Your admissions decision will be emailed to you once your application has been reviewed, and all transcripts and credentials are authenticated by the Graduate School. Applicants are typically notified of admissions decisions four to six weeks after the application deadline for their selected term of entry. Incomplete applications cannot be reviewed.

    Quote from Megan Troje

    As the Graduate Program Coordinator in the Institute of Child Development, it is my role to help align your academic and career goals. Please don't hesitate to reach out to me with any questions!