Early Childhood Development and Education MS

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College : Education and Human Performance Degree :MS
Department : Child, Family and Community Sciences Option : Thesis, Nonthesis
Program Websites : http://education.ucf.edu/ecde/


The Master of Science program in Early Childhood Development and Education (ECDE) is designed to meet the needs of professionals who want to work with young children and their families. The ECDE program delivers relevant, rigorous course work and related academic experiences.


The Early Childhood Development and Education MS program requires a minimum of 36 credit hours beyond the bachelor’s degree, including 6 credit hours of core courses, 18 credit hours of specialization courses, 6 credit hours of electives, and 6 credit hours of a capstone experience in the form of a thesis or nonthesis/practicum option.
Total Credit Hours Required:
36 Credit Hours Minimum beyond the Bachelor's Degree

Students should initially and periodically meet with an academic adviser to plan their program of electives in relation to their desired career goals, develop a program of study and timeline for their course work completion, and plan for the capstone culminating experience.

The MS does not lead to initial teacher preparation through the state-approved program route. Students interested in certification may contact the Florida Bureau of Teacher Certification Florida Department of Education directly at www.fldoe.org/edcert/.

Required Courses—24 Credit Hours

Core—6 Credit Hours

  • EDF 6481 Fundamentals of Graduate Research in Education (3 credit hours; prerequisite for EDF 6401)
  • EDF 6401 Statistics for Educational Data (3 credit hours) 

Specialization—18 Credit Hours

  • EEC 5205 Programs and Trends in Early Childhood Education (3 credit hours)
  • EEC 6269 Play Development, Intervention, and Assessment (3 credit hours)
  • EEC 6405 Home-School-Community Interaction in Early Childhood Education (3 credit hours)
  • EEC 6406 Guiding and Facilitating Social Competence (3 credit hours)
  • EEC 6606 Global Issues in Early Childhood (3 credit hours)
  • EEX 6222 Observation and Assessment of Young Children (3 credit hours)

Elective Courses—6 Credit Hours

  • EEC 6216 Communicative Arts in Early Childhood Education (3 credit hours)
  • EEX 6017 Typical and Atypical Applied Child Development (3 credit hours) (Required if no undergraduate course in child development)
  • EEX 5702 Planning Curriculum for Pre-Kindergarten Children with Disabilities (3 credit hours)
  • EEX 5750 Communication with Parents and Agencies (3 credit hours)
  • MHS 6403 Techniques of Play Therapy and Expressive Arts (3 credit hours)
  • MHS 6421 Foundations of Play Therapy and Play Process (3 credit hours)
  • SOW 6726 Social Work Practice with Children from Birth to Age Five and Their Families (3 credit hours)
  • Other courses of interest with consent of faculty

Thesis Option—6 Credit Hours

  • EEC 6971 Thesis (6 credit hours)

Nonthesis Option—6 Credit Hours

  • EEC 6947 Practicum (6 credit hours) OR 6 credit hours of approved electives with a written comprehensive examination  

Independent Learning

A thesis, practicum, or a written comprehensive examination is required as the culminating experience for the program.

Application Requirements

For information on general UCF graduate admissions requirements that apply to all prospective students, please visit the Admissions section of the Graduate Catalog. Applicants must apply online. All requested materials must be submitted by the established deadline.

In addition to the general UCF graduate application requirements, applicants to this program must provide:

  • One official transcript (in a sealed envelope) from each college/university attended.
  • Three letters of recommendation from academic sources.
  • Professional resumé.
  • Essay detailing career goals.  
  • An interview (in person, by internet, or by phone) scheduled by the Early Childhood Graduate faculty.
  • A guided 1-page written essay during the interview. 
  • Applicants applying to this program who have attended a college/university outside the United States must provide a course-by-course credential evaluation with GPA calculation. Credential evaluations are accepted from World Education Services (WES) or Josef Silny and Associates, Inc. only.

Admission materials will be scored on a rubric to quantify decision criteria.

Students who do not meet published admission requirements may be admitted provisionally and will be interviewed by a faculty program committee whose recommendations will be forwarded to the master’s admission and retention committee in accordance with College of Education and Human Performance code for final admission action. Other admission factors that may be used in selecting students for provisional admission to the program are previous teaching experience or work (i.e., social service agencies) with infants and young children, pre-kindergarten or primary age children and their families.

Application Deadlines

Early Childhood Development and Education MS *Fall Priority Fall Spring Summer
Domestic Applicants Jan 15Jul 15



International Applicants Jan 15Jan 15



International Transfer Applicants Jan 15Mar 1



*Applicants who plan to enroll full time in a degree program and who wish to be considered for university fellowships or assistantships should apply by the Fall Priority date.


Graduate students may receive financial assistance through fellowships, assistantships, tuition support, or loans. For more information, see the College of Graduate Studies Funding website, which describes the types of financial assistance available at UCF and provides general guidance in planning your graduate finances. The Financial Information section of the Graduate Catalog is another key resource.


Fellowships are awarded based on academic merit to highly qualified students. They are paid to students through the Office of Student Financial Assistance, based on instructions provided by the College of Graduate Studies. Fellowships are given to support a student’s graduate study and do not have a work obligation. For more information, see UCF Graduate Fellowships, which includes descriptions of university fellowships and what you should do to be considered for a fellowship.