Early childhood educator with a student.

Online Master’s in Early Childhood Studies


Learn to shape positive learning experiences for young children with our online master’s in early childhood education program.
Learn to shape positive learning experiences for young children with our online master’s in early childhood education program.

Ready to Get Started?

Fill out the form and we will contact you to provide information about furthering your education.

Please use our International Form if you live outside of the U.S.

  • Current 01 Step 1: About You
  • 02 Step 2: Contact Information
Early childhood educator with a student.

Online Master’s in Early Childhood Studies

Ready to Get Started?

Fill out the form and we will contact you to provide information about furthering your education.

Please use our International Form if you live outside of the U.S.

  • Current 01 Step 1: About You
  • 02 Step 2: Contact Information

Why Choose Walden?

LEARN FROM AN ECS EXPERT

Walden University is proud to be recognized as the No. 2 granter of early childhood education master’s degrees.1

EXPLORE CUTTING-EDGE TOPICS

Examine the role of play in healthy development and the impact of trauma and mental health issues on children and families.

FIND YOUR VOICE

Our master’s in early childhood education program facilitates your development as a leader and advocate in the early childhood field.

MASTER CURRENT BEST PRACTICES

Our program is aligned with professional guidelines from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

Program Details

Curriculum

Degree Completion Requirements

  • 30 semester credits
    • Foundation course (3 sem. cr.)
    • Core courses (24 sem. cr.)
    • Capstone course (3 sem. cr.)

View the COMPLETE CURRICULUM PLAN.

Time to completion will vary by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. For a personalized estimate of the number of your transfer credits that Walden would accept, call an Enrollment Specialist at 1-866-492-5336.

Admission Requirements

Program Admission Considerations: A bachelor's degree or higher.

General Admission Requirements: Completed online application and transcripts. Please note that the materials you are required to submit may vary depending on the academic program to which you apply. More information for international applicants.

Tempo Learning®

Tempo Learning® is an alternative way to earn your Walden degree. It’s different from our standard course-based learning because you can work at a pace that makes sense for you, and progress once you’ve shown you understand a subject. With Tempo Learning®, you have the flexibility of online learning, plus the ability to personalize and control the length, cost, and pacing of your program.

Video about the MS in Early Childhood Studies

Tuition and Fees

Curriculum Component Requirements Cost amount
Tuition 30 semester credit hours $635 per semester hour $19,050
Program Fee Per semester $230 $1,150
      $20,200**
BELIEVE & ACHIEVE SCHOLARSHIP

YOUR TUITION
-$3,810

$16,390*

*Represents course-based learning format, no specialization, minimum time to completion, and Believe and Achieve Scholarship. Your actual total program time and costs may vary.

**Tuition reflects the minimum time to completion. Time to completion varies by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. Tuition and time to complete may be reduced if transfer credits are accepted, or if you receive grants, scholarships or other tuition reductions. Walden may accept up to 12 transfer credits. For a personalized estimate of the number of your transfer credits that Walden would accept, call an Enrollment Specialist at 844-767-3853.

Tuition and fees are subject to change. Books and materials are not included and may cost between $1,000 and $1,400.

 

Curriculum Component Requirements Cost amount
Tuition 36 semester credit hours $635 per semester hour $22,860
Program Fee Per semester $230 $1,380
      $24,240**
BELIEVE & ACHIEVE SCHOLARSHIP

YOUR TUITION
-$3,810

$20,430*

*Represents course-based learning format, specialization, minimum time to completion, and Believe & Achieve Scholarship. Your actual total program time and costs may vary. Believe & Achieve Scholarship savings based on current tuition. See Scholarship Details for more information.

**Tuition reflects the minimum time to completion. Time to completion varies by student, depending on individual progress and credits transferred, if applicable. Tuition and time to complete may be reduced if transfer credits are accepted, or if you receive grants, scholarships or other tuition reductions. Walden may accept up to 12 transfer credits. For a personalized estimate of the number of your transfer credits that Walden would accept, call an Enrollment Specialist at 844-767-3853.

Tuition and fees are subject to change. Books and materials are not included and may cost between $1,000 and $1,400.

With Tempo Learning, you may be able to complete your MS in Early Childhood Studies degree in 11 months for under $11,000.*

Your actual total program time and costs may vary. Tuition and fees are subject to change. See Tuition and Fees section and Scholarship Details for more information.

Program Outcomes

Master the Mechanics of Teaching and Learning

In Walden’s master’s in early childhood education program, you’ll explore how children’s brains develop and how early experiences affect learning and social emotional development. Gain strategies to advocate for the infusion of play and creativity into early childhood teaching and learning. Apply your skills to case studies and virtual experiences in varied areas of expertise, from infants and toddlers to children in grades P–3.

What’s the Career Impact of Earning an Early Childhood Master’s Degree?

America needs more qualified professionals to prepare children with the skills and confidence they need to succeed in school—and in life. According to job market data gathered by Burning Glass Technologies, demand for early childhood studies practitioners grew 144% from 2010 to 2018.2 The Bureau of Labor Statistics forecasts that employment for preschool and childcare center directors will rise at a rate of 7% through 2028.3

What Can I Do With an MS in Early Childhood Studies?

With a master’s degree, you can start a new chapter in your career—or build on your prior experience to become a leader and innovator in the early childhood field. Career options range from postsecondary teaching and advocacy roles to administrative and leadership positions within early childhood learning environments. Potential occupations include:

  • Child and family advocate
  • Public policy coordinator
  • Child development instructor
  • Professional development facilitator
  • Lecturer in early childhood studies
  • Childcare administrator
  • Assistant director of a childcare center
  • Director of a childcare center
  • Owner of a childcare center
  • Preschool director
  • Program administrator for early childhood programs

Career options may require additional experience, training, or other factors beyond the successful completion of this early childhood studies master’s degree program.

Resources

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FAQ About Walden’s Online MS in Early Childhood Studies

What is early childhood education?

While early childhood education continues to be of high importance to parents, policymakers, and the public, many incorrectly identify this critical period as birth through preschool or kindergarten. Although the brain develops the majority of its neurons between birth and 3 years old, early childhood education is defined as the period of birth through 8 years old, correlating with the second- or third-grade level.

What will you learn in an early childhood studies program?

Online or on campus, the right degree program can empower you with a deepened understanding of child development and learning, equipping you with the knowledge and professional competencies to help prepare you for roles in and out of the classroom.

A master’s in early childhood studies program can also help you link the importance of early childhood education to issues of equity and inclusion, helping students learn and grow in a variety of environments. You’ll examine trends, apply cutting-edge research to the field’s most pressing issues, and become a skillful collaborator with families, colleagues, and agencies.

What can you do with a master’s degree in early childhood education?

The career options are numerous for someone with an MS in Early Childhood Education. If you’re interested in working in the childcare field, you could become a childcare administrator or the assistant director, director, or owner of a childcare center. You could work as a preschool director or a program administrator for early childhood programs. You might also pursue a career as a child development instructor or an early childhood studies lecturer. Or you could work on child and educational policies as a child and family advocate or a public policy coordinator.

Is a master’s degree in early childhood education worth it?

If you’re interested in increasing your understanding of child development and effective learning practices, earning an MS in Early Childhood Education is worth it. In the degree program, you’ll gain a comprehensive understanding of how play, creativity, and core early childhood learning subjects intertwine to foster children’s inquisitiveness, nurture their unique interests, and cultivate a genuine enthusiasm for learning. With a master’s in early childhood education, you’ll have a degree that can enable you to thrive in an advocacy, leadership, or teaching role in an educational setting or an early childhood-focused organization.

What is the outlook for master’s in early childhood education graduates?

The career outlook for those with a master’s degree in early childhood education shows growth in the coming years. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of preschool and childcare directors will grow by 7% through 20281.

1Source: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/education-training-and-library/preschool-teachers.htm; national long-term projections may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions and do not guarantee actual job growth.

What are some typical jobs for someone who has earned an MS in Early Childhood Studies?

From public policy to professional development, the jobs for someone with an MS in Childhood Studies are as diverse as individuals and their reasons for pursuing an early childhood education degree. Below is a sample of potential career options:

  • Child and family advocate
  • Public policy coordinator
  • Child development instructor
  • Professional development facilitator
  • Lecturer in early childhood studies
  • Childcare administrator
  • Owner, director, or assistant director of a childcare center
  • Director or assistant director of a childcare program
  • Preschool director
  • Program administrator for early childhood programs

Career options may require additional experience, training, or other factors beyond the successful completion of a degree program.

I am interested in child development. Is earning an MS in Early Childhood Studies a good choice?

Yes. When you enroll in an MS in Early Childhood Studies program, you will learn how children’s brains develop throughout childhood, including which early experiences promote or impede development. You will also gain an understanding of the many influences on child development, including brain architecture, mental health, toxic stress, trauma, and resilience.

What is the difference between a degree in early childhood studies and early childhood education?

Walden’s MS in Early Childhood Studies is a non-licensure degree program that is designed for existing licensed teachers or those in education who do not wish to teach in the classroom but are focusing their career on the importance of early learning. Many early childhood studies degree-holders work as advocates or take on leadership roles in early learning environments. Early childhood education degrees, on the other hand, are generally designed for first-time educators who wish to teach in the classroom and need a program that leads to licensure.

1Source: National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) IPEDS database. Collected using Burning Glass Technologies. Retrieved February 2020, using CIP code 13.1210 (Early Childhood Education and Teaching), 13.1207 (Montessori Teacher Education), and 13.1209 (Kindergarten/Preschool Education and Teaching). Includes 2017–18 provisional data.