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MS - Early Childhood Unified

Early Childhood Unified Overview

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MS - Early Childhood Unified

The graduate program in Early Childhood Unified is designed to prepare:

  • teachers to work effectively with young children in early childhood settings that are inclusive and/or noninclusive
  • teachers working with young children in early childhood special education settings
  • teachers to meet the challenges of the present and the future

Current federal mandates and trends in public schools recognize the growing importance of early childhood special education services for children from birth through age eight and their families. Teachers with advanced training in their field will be in a favored position to usher in best practices for young children.

There is an emphasis on early intervention and serving families with infants with special needs. The Master of Science degree in Early Childhood Education may result in the Kansas License ECU Birth through age eight or the Kansas License ECU Birth to Kindergarten.


The program offers a master's of science degree in Early Childhood Unified. The candidate must have a degree in elementary education as an admission requirement for the Early Childhood Unified program for Birth through age eight license in Kansas. The Early Childhood Unified program for Kansas License Birth to Kindergarten does not require a degree in elementary education as an admission requirement, but does require a degree in a related field. Learn more about the licensure programs. For questions regarding the ECU program please contact Erin Tuttle at 620-341-5028 or via email at For questions regarding licensing procedures please contact ESU's Licensure Officer Andra Baldwin at 620-341-5412 or

Clinical Experiences

There are two Clinical Experiences in the Early Childhood Unified Graduate Program:

CD 841: Center-Based Clinical Experience
CD 861: Home Based Clinical Experience

Each Clinical Experience requires completion of 150 clock hours in an approved center-based program (CD 841) or home-based program (CD 861) over a period of at least five weeks.

Permission to Participate in the Clinical Experiences

Even though students are admitted to degree candidacy, enrollment in the two clinical experiences required in this program is not automatic. Permission from the instructor is required for enrollment in the two clinical experiences. Candidates will be evaluated on knowledge, skills and dispositions required for success in the two clinical experiences, CD 841 and CD 861. Students will be given a copy of the dispositions rating form after acceptance into the program. If a student does not meet expectations, he/she will not be allowed to enroll in the Clinical Experiences.

Graduation Requirements

In order to receive a master's degree in early childhood education, candidates must accomplish the following:

  1. Complete the program of study outlined below.
  2. A grade of B or better must be earned in all courses required by the Early Childhood Unified programs. This includes prerequisite courses, in order to move forward in the program.
  3. Maintain at least 3.00 overall grade point average.
  4. Demonstrate dispositions of professional/ethical standards throughout the program.
  5. Submit a final exam during the last term of enrollment, The final exam must meet
    expectations for graduate work (to be scored by Early Childhood Unified faculty and a passing score must be obtained). Directions for the final exam, rubrics, and due date will be distributed by the instructor in CD 861.


Admission Requirements

All candidates are admitted on a probationary status, pending successful completion of these admission requirements:

Step 1 - Graduate School Admissions

Step 2 - ECU Program Admissions Requirements:

Step 3 - Enroll in CD 730 (first Early Childhood Unified course in the sequence of the program). If taking a second course, contact the program coordinator for advice.

Admission points are assigned on each of the above elements. The stronger the performance, the greater the number of points assigned. Admission points are totaled and admission is determined by a department graduate committee.

Degree Candidacy

Candidacy is the formal approval for pursuit of a graduate degree after it is determined that all specified preliminary requirements have been met. Requirements for degree candidacy are as follows:

  1. The candidate must have met the admission requirements.
  2. The advisor must have filed the candidate’s degree plan with the Graduate School.
  3. The candidate must have completed at least six hours of course work on the graduate
  4. When all steps above are completed, the advisor will inform the Graduate School, and the candidate will be removed from probation.

How To Contact Us


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Department of Elementary Education / Early Childhood / Special Education
Emporia State University
1 Kellogg Circle
Campus Box 4036
Emporia, KS 66801


Department of
Elementary Education / Early Childhood / Special Education
(on the ESU main campus)
1701 Morse Road
Visser Hall, 2nd Floor
Main Office, Rm 241