Early Childhood Special Education Master's in Education

Degree Overview

The Early Childhood Special Education Master's in Education (M Ed) Program is an online graduate program that provides students with the necessary experiences and information to work with young children, both typically developing and those with disabilities, and their families in a variety of settings, including both home and school. The program is offered through Mizzou Online.

Admission Requirements

Admission requirements will be based upon the following criteria.  Complete admission requirements for the Master's program.

  • A completed baccalaureate degree with a GPA of 3.0 or better (on a 4.0 scale).
  • GRE scores taken within the last five years. For GRE scores taken on or after August 1, 2011, they should reflect a preferred combined score of 291 or better on the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections and Analytical Writing score of 3.5 or better. For GRE scores taken prior to August 1, 2011, they should reflect a preferred combined score of 900 or better on the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections.
  • A minimum of two letters of recommendation.
  • Statement of purpose clearly indicating that the proposed Masters degree is appropriate to the applicant's professional aspirations.
  • For students whose native language is not English, a score of 600 (paper based), 250 (computer based), or 100 (internet based) or better on the TOEFL taken within the past two years. 
  • Students may be required to complete an interview with special education faculty.
  • Students must complete all graduate school and program application materials by the deadline posted each term.

All requirements implicit in the above statement must be completed before consideration of an applicant for admission. The department cannot assure admission to all applicants who meet minimum standards specified for the degree program. Resource constraints do not permit the admission of all qualified applicants.

Degree Requirements

Degree details

This online program in early childhood special education is a 33-hour degree program, including 21 hours of course work specific to young children.

Early Childhood Special Education focus courses

The focus course work allows teachers and those working with young children to increase their knowledge and skills on how to effectively work with children with disabilities ages birth to 8. Courses cover:

  • working with diverse groups of children and families
  • implementing appropriate assessment methods
  • creating inclusive classrooms
  • promoting and enhancing language and early literacy development
  • examining curriculum approaches based on current research.
  • implementing research-based intervention strategies
  • functional assessments of problem behavior and positive behavioral supports

Core course work

The core course work in this program includes study in learning theory, instructional technology, instructional leadership, instructional strategies, and research. Some of the core course work is provided by the Early Childhood Special Education courses.

Terminal or comprehensive project

Master of education candidates must complete a terminal project or summative experience at the end of the degree program. The department in which the candidate's major emphasis resides will determine the format of that experience (e.g. comprehensive exam, project, paper, presentation, portfolio or capstone experience). The candidate must be enrolled at the University during the semester in which a master's project is presented or completed.

Students may start the program as either post-baccalaureate (formerly non-degree- seeking) or degree-seeking.

How to Apply

Prospective students are encouraged to read the Admission Criteria and the Masters Student Handbook for additional information about admission and degree requirements.

Apply Yourself Online

1)  Graduate School Application:

  • ­ Applicants who have never been enrolled at the University of Missouri must submit their Application for Graduate Admission.  Please use the on-line application system, Apply Yourself Online.
  • Applicants who are currently enrolled at the University must submit a Change form to this office.
  • If you have been enrolled at UMC as a graduate student before but have not been enrolled in the last year, submit a Request to Re-Enroll to the Special Education Department, 303 Townsend, Columbia, MO  65211.
  • UMC students who have taken only on-line courses should use the Apply Yourself system.

2) Official Transcripts: Official transcripts of all previous college work at institutions other than UMC should be sent directly to Graduate School Admissions, 210 Jesse Hall, Columbia, MO 65211.

3) Personal Data Sheet: The Personal Data Sheet includes pertinent biographical information and professional experience.

4) A Statement of Purpose (usually around 500 words) in which you summarize your professional goals, including career objectives, research interests, your motivation for graduate work and other pertinent information.

5) Letters of Recommendation: You must submit at least two letters of recommendation which attest to your professional competence, academic preparation, and potential for graduate work. Ideally, one letter should be from a college or university professor who can discuss your academic abilities, and one should be from an administrator or colleague who can authoritatively describe your professional experience and potential. Letters may be sent to the Special Education Department or they may be submitted electronically through the Apply Yourself system.

6) Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores*: All students are required to have on file scores of the GRE. Applications will not be considered without these scores.

7) Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores*: Students whose native language is not English must submit scores on a TOEFL administered within the last two years. Under certain conditions, this requirement may be waived. Please see more information below under Master Program Admissions Criteria.

Please feel free to submit any other materials that you feel would give a clearer picture of your qualifications.

If you have question or if you would like a paper application packet, contact the Special Education Department at umccoesped@missouri.edu.

Fees and Financial Aid

Find more information on related fees and financial aid opportunities.