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Early Childhood Education, MA

Offered in: CHICAGO

This program is designed for students who wish to earn an early childhood teaching certificate to work with children from birth through grade three. The requirements for the Illinois Type 04 early childhood teaching certificate are integrated with the program. With the addition of an elective, students are also eligible for the Early Childhood Special Education approval. The program is ideal for students who do not have an undergraduate major in education, but who aspire to transform schools and classrooms in pursuit of social justice.


Admission to the program requires a BA degree in any academic area with a grade point average of 2.7 on a 4.0 scale and at least 120 semester hours of undergraduate courses from an accredited college or university. A passing score on the Test of Academic Proficiency also is required for continued enrollment in the program.


To be awarded the MA in early childhood education, students must successfully complete a 42 semester hour program of study, and all requirements for the Type 04 teaching certificate. A total of 39 semester hours of education courses are required for the Type 04 certificate; students may earn the certificate prior to completing the MA degree. To earn the Type 04 teaching certificate, students must complete an approved student teaching experience having two placements, a minimum of 120 clock hours of pre-student teaching field and service learning experiences, all general education requirements, an approved academic concentration, and any additional course work or tests needed to satisfy accreditation, State of Illinois, and/or Roosevelt University requirements. All graduate students must maintain a 3.0 GPA in their graduate courses, and no grade below C is acceptable for certification or the MA degree (C- grades are unacceptable).

At the time of admission, an advisor reviews transcripts and evaluates all course work completed at other colleges or universities. Advising plans are developed and any deficiencies related to certification requirements are noted. If additional course work is needed, the student’s advisor will indicate the course work needed on an advising plan. Students must confer with their assigned advisors before enrolling in the program and during each advising period to ensure that all requirements are being successfully completed.

Program of Study

The following professional education courses are required to earn certification and complete the MA in early childhood education:


Professional Education

  ECHD 405 Assessment in Early Childhood .....3
  ECHD 409 Child, Family and Community .....3
  ECHD 411 History and Philosophy of ECE .....3
  ECHD 433 Science, Math and Social Concepts in ECE .....3
  ECHD 434 Language Development .....3
  ECHD 437 Literacy in ECE .....6
  ECHD 438 Early Childhood Curriculum .....3
  ECHD 474 Student Teaching Seminar: Early Childhood Education .....9
  EDUC 407 Topics and Issues in Human Development .....3
  EDUC 480 Inquiry in the Classroom .....3
  SPED 419 Exceptional Children and Youth .....3

Recommended Electives

  ECHD 482 Early Childhood Special Education Methods .....3
  EDUC 485 Technology in the Classroom .....3

Field and Clinical Experiences

SPED 419, and ECHD 433, 437, and 438 all require 25 hours of field experience in a preprimary or primary grade. ECHD 409 requires 20 hours of service learning. ECHD 482 requires 20 hours of field experience, and is a recommended elective in the program. Students who successfully complete ECHD 482 will earn an early childhood special education approval on their Type 04 certificate.

Placement in two student teaching sites is planned with consideration of professional standards and each student’s needs and interests. These primary and pre-primary placements are open only to students who have successfully completed the appropriate general education, academic concentration, and professional education courses, the required Illinois Basic Skills and early childhood content tests, and other College of Education and admission to student teaching requirements. Placements in sites with diverse student populations are required. Students must make formal application two semesters prior to the semester in which they plan to do their student teaching. Applicants are expected to be in good physical health and academic standing, and must provide evidence of competency with regard to professional dispositions, including the passage of a criminal background check. Procedures for Student Performance Reviews, available on the COE website, will be followed if students are rejected for clinical placement at least 3 times due to concerns about academic or interview performance.

In order to qualify for Roosevelt University's recommendation for the early childhood teaching certificate, all requirements in effect at the time of application must be met, including general education work. Students whose bachelor’s degree program does not satisfy RU general education requirements may complete this work concurrently with the master’s degree requirements. Students should consult with their assigned advisor to determine which courses may be accepted in fulfillment of the requirements. The Illinois State Board of Education requires satisfactory scores on the ICTS Basic Skills Test or Test of Academic Proficiency, the Assessment of Professional Teaching (APT) test, and the Early Childhood Content Test before issuing a certificate.

General education required for certification in early childhood:

  • Communication skills: (6 credit hours)
  • Mathematics (Math 105 or equivalent) - (3 credit hours)
  • Science: one biological science and one physical science (one must be a lab course) - (6/7 credit hours)
  • Humanities: (9 credit hours)
  • Social sciences: (students must take at least one course in US history or American government) - (9 credit hours)
  • Non-Western /3rd World: humanities or Social science course covering Asia, Africa, Central / South America, or Native American; may also be counted as humanities or Social science hours - (3 credit hours)
  • An academic concentration in an approved discipline, including a minimum of nine semester hours of upper division course work, with a minimum GPA of 3.0, and no grade below C (18 credit hours)