Online Master's in Early Childhood Education Degree Program

If working with young children, families, and communities during a critically important stage of development is a passion of yours, the University of Colorado Denver’s online Master of Arts in Early Childhood Education (ECE) — with the option of an Early Childhood Special Education license or a specialist endorsement can take you to the next level, no matter where you are now. We prepare highly skilled professionals who are leaders and advocates known for embracing the whole child in inclusive, culturally and linguistically diverse settings.

Our highly ranked, flexible hybrid and online ECE program of study features personalized support and reaches you where you are — throughout Colorado and around the world — with admission every semester. 

A degree from the University of Colorado is a world-class education.

Program at a Glance

Degree Program:

Master of Arts in Early Childhood Education

Offered By:

School of Education and Human Development


Cost Per Credit:


Cost Per Credit:


Credit Hours:


Program Details

The online MA in Early Childhood Education program of study includes a variety of options: Personalized Professional Master’s Degree, master’s degree plus initial licensure, or a master’s degree plus added endorsement.

CU Denver’s School of Education & Human Development faculty members emphasize inclusive, family-centered practices, culturally sustaining teaching and a curriculum that is inspired by the potential of all children and families. The online program is taught by well-known faculty who prioritize excellent instruction, a solid commitment to full inclusion in the classroom and innovation.

The School of Education & Human Development is regularly ranked as a top graduate school and “best online” experiences by U.S. News & World Report. Your “high-tech and high-touch” experience in this program includes: 24/7 technical support, faculty video-coaching and conferencing/advising, and small group learning in both real-time as well as on your own time.

Our graduates are known for thriving in inclusive, culturally and linguistically diverse ECE settings. We prepare highly competent teachers, leaders and advocates with the knowledge and skills to identify strengths to support all children and their families. You will be taught by the same incredible faculty who teach in our on-campus, face-to-face classrooms. Together, our faculty form a unique partnership that will fuel your professional goals.

You will learn about administration, diversity and inclusion, pedagogy, teaching and learning, and leadership possibilities within this field. We prioritize innovative and evidence-based practices with real-world applications. Your studies will prepare you for the many possibilities within the early childhood education field now and in the future.

CU Denver is committed to increasing the number of highly qualified and well-compensated early professionals in the field. We offer ECE scholarships and vast learning and development opportunities to support early childhood teachers and leaders. Our graduates work in a number of settings, including as lead teachers, center directors, mentor teachers, educational coordinators, early childhood special educators, early childhood professional development coordinators and coaches, resource and referral staff members, home visitors, and community college instructors. Our commitment to early childhood professionals compels us to participate in efforts to elevate the profession, and to help you seek out scholarships and partnerships for academic support and job placement. The scholarships include the Early Childhood Education Scholarship Fund (up to $10K awarded to two recipients per academic year) and the William Goodwin Scholarship (up to $500 awarded per semester). We have additional scholarships that are open to all students, regardless of major. Whether you live in the Denver metropolitan area or outside of Denver, you will take your coursework entirely online, with practical experiences in your concurrent work with young children.

Paloma V a student in the Early Childhood Education program.

As a working professional, the Early Childhood Education master's program at CU has given me the opportunity to take my educational goals to the highest level and to be part of an amazing professional community. The instructors here are very knowledgeable and passionate about their work and prepare the students for real-life challenges in the field of Early Childhood Education.

– Paloma V. | Early Childhood Education, alum

Tuition and Fees

Investing in your future is a big decision. However, becoming a fully online student at CU Denver is a high-quality and affordable option for learners of all types. Tuition and fees are based largely on the degree program you enroll in.

Tuition is determined based on which CU Denver program is chosen, undergraduate or graduate level, and finally your resident status. Visit our tuition and financial aid page for more information.

Financial aid and scholarships are available for those who qualify.


The vast majority of our students are professionals who are working full-time in an early childhood education setting. Because of this, most of our students are taking their courses part-time. Depending on your plan of study, your required credit hours will range from 30 to 42. This degree can typically be completed in two to three years. You will need to take our recommended courses, pass performance-based assessments, participate in fieldwork and complete a practicum and/or capstone to meet graduation requirements. 


Students may apply to this program in any semester. We encourage you to apply at least four months prior to the start of the semester for which you are seeking admission, or as early as possible. We provide rolling decisions and will communicate admissions decisions within two weeks of the submission of a complete application.

Learn more about the admissions process by filling out the form above or contacting our Enrollment Team today.

Andrea Laser, Early Childhood Education student at CU Denver

Our online ECE MA program has the unique benefit of connecting people and building relationships across settings. We develop online communities that welcome and include students from across geographic locations, diverse experiences, and multiple sectors. Having the privilege to build these relationships and collaborate together only benefits the children and families who we support.

– Andrea Laser | Clinical Assistant Professor, Early Childhood Education


As part of this program, you will complete all required courses, performance-based assessments, fieldwork, practicum, and/or capstone. Program plans range from 30 to 42 credit hours. Students can complete the program in two to three years maximum.

Below are sample courses from program plans. This is not a complete list, and your coursework will be determined by your specific plan of study. Specific plans of study include options for a Personalized Professional Master’s Degree, a master’s degree plus initial licensure, or a master’s degree plus added endorsement. Completion of licensure options meet the requirements of an Approved Early Childhood Special Education Specialist Program through the Colorado Department of Education. Advisement around your specific plan of study begins at admission.

Example Courses
ECED 5010 — Curriculum in Early Childhood Education
Review of principles of early childhood curriculum and program development. Linkages are made between theoretical bases of development and curriculum planning. Curriculum areas considered include language and literacy, mathematics, motor, social-emotional, science, social studies, and aesthetic development.

ECED 5080 — Language and Literacy in Young Children
Overview of language and literacy development through age five, language components, and pertinent research relating to language and literacy acquisition. Emphasis is placed on language only disorders commonly demonstrated by young children with disabilities.