Intended Audience

  • ● Individuals who have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university

  • ● Individuals who seek initial licensure with an endorsement in Early Childhood Education (Birth to Grade 2)

Degree Earned

  • ● Master of Arts (M.A.) in Early Childhood Education

Certificates Earned

  • ● Illinois Professional Educator License (PEL)

  • ● Early Childhood Endorsement, Birth to Grade 2

  • ● Early Childhood Special Education Approval Endorsement, Birth to Grade 2

  • ● Illinois Gateways Credentials

    • o Early Childhood, levels 1-6

    • o Infant Toddler, levels 1-3


Courses for this program are offered in the evenings and are online synchronous (at a scheduled time). Prerequisite courses must be completed prior to starting the program; however, up to three prerequisite courses may be taken during the candidate’s first year in the program, pending approval by the advisor and coordinator. Equivalent courses can be transferred in for the prerequisites, pending review by the advisor and coordinator. Prerequisite courses are offered in the evenings and are either face-to-face or online; this varies for each course. Click the following links to view and download the program overview and coursework.

Course Listing

Prerequisite Courses (5 courses) *or equivalent

  • ● EDUC 2310: Foundations of Education (3)

  • ● EDUC 2330: Educational Psychology I - Child Growth and Development (3)

  • ● SPED 6101: Survey of Students with Exceptionalities (3)

  • ● EDCP 6101: Introduction to Educational Technology (3)

  • ● ENGL 2131: Children’s Literature (3)

Professional Education Coursework (15 courses, 40 hours)

  • ● EDEC 6099: Developmentally Appropriate Practices in Early Childhood Education (4)

  • ● EDEC 6550: Family, Community, and Culture (3)

  • ● EDEC 6551: Field Experience 1 - Infants, Toddlers, and Families (1)

  • ● EDEC 6560: Curriculum, Literacy, & Exceptional Learners in Preprimary Grades (3)

  • ● EDEC 6561: Field Experience 2 - Preprimary (1)

  • ● EDEC 6570: Literacy in Early Childhood Education (3)

  • ● EDEC 6571: Field Experience 3 - Literacy in Primary Grades (1)

  • ● EDEC 6580: Math, Science, and Social Studies in Early Childhood Education (3)

  • ● EDEC 6581: Field Experience 4 - Math, Science, and Social Studies in Primary Grades (1)

  • ● EDUC 7410: Classroom Management (1)

  • ● EDUC 7440: Educational Psychology II - Learning, Assessment, & Classroom Management (3)

  • ● EDEC 7570: Assessment & Differentiated Instruction in Early Childhood (3)

  • ● EDEC 8810: Research and Issues in Education I (3)

  • ● EDEC 8999: Student Teaching in Early Childhood Education (9)

*Field experiences must be taken at the same time as their corresponding methods course (co-requisite)

Total Hours for the Program: 40

Field Experiences

Field experiences are integrated into program coursework to give students the opportunity to gain valuable training and professional connections. Candidates will complete more than 200 hours of diversified clinical experiences throughout the program prior to student teaching.

Our MA program offers opportunities for job-embedded field experiences; this means that candidates may continue to work in their childcare center for some of the field experience courses.

  • ● Placement for field experiences can be job-embedded if it fits grade levels

  • ● Placement for student teaching can be job-embedded if it is in preschool (4-5 years); no infant or toddler classrooms

More Info

Candidates engage with children and families in a variety of diverse settings from birth to 2nd grade in clinical field experiences and observations prior to student teaching. These experiences include observing, engaging, and teaching lessons with infants/toddlers, preschool, kindergarten, and primary classrooms in multiple settings across the region.

Support is provided and scaffolded throughout the program for field experiences prior to student teaching. Instructors and qualified mentor teachers in the field guide students to build their confidence and gradually increase their responsibilities as a classroom teacher.

Partner districts are selected for their commitment to a team approach in creating an inclusive culture focused on responsiveness to the educational needs of racially, culturally, linguistically, and economically diverse students.These placements are made to such districts as New Lenox, Harvey, Homewood, Tinley Park, Chicago, Kankakee, Oak Lawn, and Dolton.

Some field experience placements are already set up, which make it easier because:

  • ● Candidates do not have to find their own placement that is approved

  • ● Candidates are together to support each other

  • ● The schools/teachers are familiar with our program, guidelines, and requirements

Candidates may be able to find their own placements for some field experiences; however, the following guidelines must be met:

  • ● Field experiences must occur at the designated course grade level

  • ● School/center sites must be high quality, licensed, and be approved by university supervisor (or on the approved list)

  • ● Sites must be located in a safe neighborhood within a 20-mile radius of the GSU campus

  • ● Candidates, directors/principals, and mentor teachers must follow our field experience guidelines

  • ● Candidates are responsible for getting an MOU agreement with their center/school

  • ● Placement site and day/time must be finalized and approved by the university supervisor and the school prior to the start of the second week of the semester

Student teaching placement is based upon candidate selection across Chicagoland districts. Candidates work with quality mentor teachers who serve as models, offer opportunities to teach and practice skills, and provide guidance and feedback. Student teaching for this program is 8 hours per day, 5 days per week for 15 weeks. Candidates also participate in strategically planned monthly seminars that include topics such as equity and diversity, best practices, gender expression, and navigating the interview process.

Study Plan

Semester 1 (fall)

EDEC 6099

Developmentally Appropriate Practices in ECE



EDEC 6550

Family, Community, & Culture



EDEC 6551

Field Experience 1: Infants, Toddlers, and Families


FE Hours: 35+

Semester 2 (spring)

EDEC 6560

Curriculum, Literacy, & Exceptional Learners in Preprimary Grades



EDEC 6561

Field Experience 2: Preprimary Grades


FE Hours: 35+

EDEC 8810

Research and Issues in Education I



EDUC 7410

Classroom Management



Semester 3 (summer)

EDUC 7440

Educational Psychology II


FE Hours: 15

EDEC 7570

Assessment & Differentiated Instruction in ECE



Semester 4 (fall)

EDEC 6570

Literacy in Early Childhood



EDEC 6571

Field Experience 3: Literacy in Primary Grades


FE Hours: 40

EDEC 6580

Math, Science, Social Studies in ECE



EDEC 6581

Field Experience 4: Math, Science, Social Studies in Primary Grades


FE Hours: 40

Semester 5 (spring)

EDEC 8999

Student Teaching in Early Childhood Education


FE Hours: 600

Program Schedule

To view and download the MA in ECE program schedule, click here.

Program Requirements

Program Admission

Candidates must meet all requirements for entry into graduate school and the Early Childhood Education program.

List of Admission Requirements

  • 1) Requirements:

    • a. University graduate school requirements (visit Graduate Admissions)

    • b. A cumulative GPA of 2.75 or higher (2.0-2.74 GPA may be accepted with conditions)

  • 2) To apply, candidates must submit the following:

    • a. Application to GSU graduate school

    • b. Current resume

    • c. Official transcripts showing:

      • i. A valid bachelor’s degree from an accredited college/university

      • ii. A cumulative G.P.A. of 2.75 or higher in all undergraduate work attempted and a grade of "B-" or better in current graduate coursework (GPA of 2.0-2.74 may be accepted with conditions)

      • iii. Completion of and a grade of “B-” or better in all prerequisite coursework (EDUC2310, EDUC2330, ENGL2131, EDCP2101/6101, SPED2100/6101) -or evidence of currently taking the courses or intention to take them at GSU

For more information regarding the requirements for admission to this program, visit the GSU Graduate Admissions webpage.

For questions or help with admissions and application process, set up a virtual appointment to speak with someone or email the Graduate Admissions Office,

Degree Requirements

Candidates must meet all university requirements for a master’s degree. Candidates must also:

List of Degree Requirements

  • ● Attain a GPA of 3.0 or better in all Professional Education coursework, earning a grade of ‘B-’ or better in all courses

  • ● Complete all coursework at Governors State University within five calendar years

  • ● Be in good standing with the university and program

  • ● Earn satisfactory scores on assessments of professional dispositions and exhibit expected dispositions

  • ● Maintain satisfactory candidate progress as defined in the Early Childhood Education Program Handbook

  • ● Successfully complete all key assessments and field placements, including student teaching

Licensure Requirements – ISBE

In order to obtain a teaching license, candidates are responsible for completing all program requirements listed, as well as submitting all documentation to ISBE. Candidates must:

List of Licensure Requirements

For more information about licensure, visit the GSU webpage Licensure of Teachers and Other School Professionals.

Additional Endorsements: candidates can add the ESL Endorsement (PreK-12th grade) on their teaching license by completing the 6 courses:

  • ● BBED 4501 Teaching English as a Second Language (3)

  • ● BBED 4520 Foundations of Bilingual and ESL Education (3)

  • ● BBED 4525 Assessment of Language of Minority Students (3)

  • ● BBED 4530 Methods and Materials for Teaching in Bilingual Programs (3)

  • ● BBED 4538 Cross Cultural Education (3)

  • ● BBED 4977 Reading Strategies in the Bilingual and ESL Classroom (3)

Certification Requirements – Illinois Gateways to Opportunity

Candidations can earn Illinois Gateways Credentials: Early Childhood Education and Infant Toddler. Candidates must be a member of Gateways and submit an application at the beginning of the program and after graduation. Candiadtes must register for a free account with Illinois Gateways.

Program Advisor

From admission to graduation, your academic advisor is your partner towards success. Our academic advisor is here to answer any questions you have and help you navigate the requirements needed for the program. Once you are admitted, make sure you reach out to your advisor for guidance throughout your program.

Carla Johnson

Carla Johnson
Graduate Advisor
G Building 378

<b>How to Apply</b>

How to Apply

If you are ready to take the next step, you can create an account and apply here. For information and help with admissions, visit the admissions webpage.

<b>Cost and Financial Aid</b>

Cost and Financial Aid

Our tuition estimator helps you calculate your cost of attendance. Our Financial Aid Office is dedicated to helping you find ways to fund your education.



At GSU, many scholarships are available and can make your education even more affordable!

<b>Program Catalog</b>

Program Catalog

You can find the complete guide to graduation requirements for your degree, as well as descriptions for each course, in our program catalog.

<b>Program Faculty</b>

Program Faculty

Our favorable faculty-student ratios ensure lots of individual attention from our dedicated faculty members.

<b>All Academic Programs</b>

All Academic Programs

We offer many options for undergraduate degrees and minors, and even several 5-year programs that lead to completion of a Masters degree as well!

<b>Student Organizations</b>

Student Organizations

Student Clubs and Organizations at Governors State University enrich your educational experience, allowing you to gain and hone skills applicable to the classroom and life beyond. Click here to find more resources in the Jaguar Student Success Guide.

<b>On-campus Residence</b>

On-campus Residence

Prairie Place, our on-campus housing, provides many options to accommodate the needs of our diverse student population.

<b>Campus Location</b>

Campus Location

If you have been wondering, "Where is Governors State University?" Learn more about our campus, and get directions to come visit us or take a virtual tour!