Prepare young learners with the skills, confidence, and motivation they need to excel in school and beyond through our MS in Early Childhood Studies program.

There are few professions as rewarding as those that involve nurturing the developmental needs of children. Our master’s in early childhood development non-licensure degree program empowers you to deepen your understanding of child development and learning, expand your knowledge of effective programs and services, and enhance your ability to link issues of equity and inclusion to how students learn and grow.

You already have the desire to make a difference. With our master’s-level early childhood development degree, you can gain the knowledge and professional competencies that prepare you for leadership roles, in and out of the classroom.

Why earn your early childhood development degree from Walden?

  • Study with a respected institution. Our MS in Early Childhood Studies is in The Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership at Walden University, a National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE)–accredited institution. NCATE accreditation is a recognized standard of excellence in professional preK–12 education.
  • Learn from coursework developed to reflect professional guidelines set forth by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).
  • Improve your ability to work with children in diverse learning environments by critically examining trends, applying research to relevant problems, and making informed decisions.
  • Develop as a leader in the early childhood field through specialization options in management, public policy and advocacy, instructional strategies, and diversity.
  • Put your newfound knowledge to work in a final capstone course that allows you to integrate and apply learning to real-world situations, issues, or problems.

With our master’s in early childhood development, you can choose from four specializations to focus your learning in an area that matches your career goals. We also offer two learning models: course-based and competency-based:

Two Ways to Learn

In addition to the course-based M.S. in Early Childhood Studies, we offer a competency-based option. With Tempo Learning™ by Walden, you can earn your degree on your own schedule, at your own pace, building on your existing skills, knowledge, and experience. Learn more about the competency-based M.S. in Early Childhood Studies.


Preset course start and end dates help you manage your schedule over time. Knowing these dates makes it easier to plan ahead in completing your program.

The course-based approach exposes you to new material as well as reinforces and updates your knowledge in areas you’ve already mastered.

Your fellow students will be learning the same material at the same time, so if you find yourself struggling, you can connect with them for additional support.

Tempo Learning chart showing fixed costs to students.



Complete competencies at your own pace, based on your ability to demonstrate understanding of their content. At the beginning of each term, you will map out your learning goals in partnership with your Academic Coach.

You can use what you already know to accelerate your progress, potentially saving you time and money.

If you find materials challenging, you can slow down and spend additional time with them. You can also raise your hand to get support directly from our Faculty Subject Matter Experts.

Chart Showing Flexible Costs to Students.

Compare highlights of the Tempo Learning™ and course-based formats to decide which best suits your career goals and learning style.

What graduates are saying about our master’s in child development program:

“Walden laid the foundation that I have used during my professional career as an assistant center director. I have gained knowledge about the ways to effectively deal with children, and, more importantly, I have gained the confidence to be a leader in their education.”
—Erica Watson, MS in Early Childhood Studies Graduate

“There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t use something I learned at Walden.”
—Teri Peasley, MS in Early Childhood Studies Graduate

Find detailed information for this program, including possible occupations, completion rate, program costs, and median student loan debt.

  • NCATE Accreditation

    National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE)

    The Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), the standard of excellence in professional preK–12 education.

    Learn More

  • Considering a career in early childhood education?

    Early Childhood education career guide cover
    Download Walden’s Degree Guide for Early Childhood Careers (pdf).

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