Early Childhood Special Education teaching licensure and MEd

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Early childhood special education
teaching licensure and MEd

kids play outside New Hope Learning Center
Associate professor LeAnne Johnson and her students are simplifying the way early educators collect and analyze data to help kids with and without emotional and behavioral challenges succeed in school. Read more.

Help young children with developmental delays and disabilities succeed

In the early childhood special education (ECSE) program, you'll prepare to teach young children, birth through age six, with a variety of developmental delays and disabilities. This program leads to obtaining an ECSE license as either an initial teaching license or an additional license added to another teaching license to expand the age range and/or types of students a teacher is licensed to teach. You'll leave the program with the skills to: identify the need for early intervention; provide research-based services to children and their families in their home, school, and community settings; and, ultimately, help children and families successfully transition to kindergarten.


Graduates of the ECSE licensure program:

  • Teach in preschool classrooms
  • Provide in-home service to children and their families
  • Collaborate with general education classroom teachers, related service providers, and evaluation team members
  • Deliver high quality, effective services to to children from birth through age six with a wide variety of needs (e.g., developmental delays, physical or health impairments, autism) and from a variety of cultural, linguistic and socio-economic backgrounds


  • All classes are offered in the evening to allow students to maintain full time employment while completing course requirements.
  • Over one third of the required courses are offered in a fully online format.
  • Most other courses are taught in person on the Minneapolis campus.
  • 75% of the common content required classes are offered in summer, which is convenient for students already working in schools.

*Denotes fully online class.
**Denotes courses offered in summer.

The ECSE licensure program with a MEd in special education requires the completion of about 42.5 credits. For completion of a MEd only without licensure, 30 credits are required, with opportunities to select courses suited to your interests. Your total number of required credits may vary based on previous educational experience or areas of licensure.

Required ECSE licensure courses (36 credits)

  • CI 5645 – Methods for Teaching English Learners (3 credits)
  • MTHE 5355 – Mathematics for Diverse Learners (3 credits)
  • EPSY 5609 – Infants and Toddlers with Delays/Disabilities: Family-Centered Approaches to Early Intervention (3 credits)*
  • EPSY 5613 – Foundations of Special Education (3 credits)
  • EPSY 5614 – Assessment and Due Process in Special Education (3 credits)
  • EPSY 5616 – Classroom Management and Behavior Analytic Problem Solving (3 credits)*
  • EPSY 5618 – Specialized Interventions for Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities in Reading and Written Language (3 credits)*
  • EPSY 5625 – Education of Infants, Toddlers, and Preschool Children with Disabilities: Introduction (2 credits)*
  • EPSY 5631 – Module 1: Introduction to Augmentative and Alternative Communication (1 credits)*, **
  • EPSY 5681 – Education of Preschool Children with Disabilities: Methods and Materials (3 credits)*
  • EPSY 5705 – Practicum in ECSE / Elementary settings (1 credits) Taken three times.
  • EPSY 5761 – Student Teaching in Early Childhood Special Education for Children Aged Three to Five Years (3 credits)
  • EPSY 5762 – Student Teaching in Early Childhood Special Education for Children Aged Birth to Three Years (3 credits)

Required for initial licensure and MEd

  • EPSY 5699 – Experimental Teaching Seminar (2 credits)


Required for additional licensure and MEd or MEd only

  • EPSY 5991 – MEd Paper/Project Independent Study (2 credits)

Common content courses (7.5 credits)

These courses are required for all College of Education and Human Development initial teaching licensures and degrees.

  • OLPD 5005 – School and Society (2 credits)
  • OLPD 5009 – Human Relations (1 credit)**
  • CI 5307 – Technology (1.5 credits)**
  • EPSY 5001 – Learning Cognition and Assessment (3 credits)**

Add an autism spectrum disorder certificate

As a student in the ECSE program, you have the option to add an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) certificate to your licensure and/or degree. The specialized training you’ll receive related to assessment and treatment practices for children with ASD will lead to a certificate in ASD. With your ECSE license and ASD certificate in hand, you’ll be equipped to facilitate early identification and intervention for toddlers and preschoolers with ASD. These skills will make you a valuable addition to any ECSE program.

Download a sample plan of the ECSE course schedule with an option to add an ASD certificate.


Visit the College of Education and Human Development's Finance and Funding page for information on tuition.


Scholarships, fellowships and awards

Special education scholarships, fellowships, and awards

College of Education and Human Development awards

TEACH Grants

TEACH Grants are part of a federal program to provide financial support to students who will teach in a high need area at a low-income school for at least four years. Application information is available from Onestop on their grants and waivers page.

Financial aid

Visit OneStop Student Services for more information on available financial aid.

Financial aid

Visit OneStop Student Services for more information on available financial aid.

Katie Follett headshot
The early childhood special education (ECSE) program and the professors and faculty that I worked with during my time in the program provided me with not only essential knowledge and research-based materials, but also with opportunities, connections and classroom experiences that made it possible for me to feel confident in my career and my ability to provide services to children and their families.

Katie Follett
Alumna, ECSE teacher
Osseo Area Schools


Brenna Rudolph headshot

Brenna RudolphECSE coordinator, lecturer

  • Data-based decision making
  • Naturalistic routines-based intervention
  • Special education teacher preparation
  • Personalized professional development
LeAnne Johnson headshot

LeAnne JohnsonSpecial education program coordinator
leannej@umn.edu | Lab

  • Motivating and engaging adults in the adoption and implementation of interventions that improve the quality and quantity of learning opportunities available to young children with challenging behavior
  • Closing the research to practice gap and speeding the adoption of new innovations into practice by improving professional development systems
  • Enhancing data driven, precision oriented, problem solving through new tools for monitoring children’s development and response to intervention
  • Evaluating the effectiveness of interventions addressing the social and communication needs of young children with Autism and emotional/behavioral disorders


Program contact

Laura Paczkowski

Academic advisor


University contacts

Disability Services