Early Childhood Education Studies MS in Education

Master of Science in Education

Engage with young children to make a difference

You can help make a big difference in children’s lives. A deeper understanding of their early development can give you the key to supporting their growth and well-being.

The online MS in Education, Early Childhood Education Studies from Capella University gives you an opportunity to improve your teaching skills.

Prepare for a professional role in early childhood education and encourage lifelong learning. Develop skills to understand how young children learn, what exceptional children need, and how family relationships play a role in childhood education.

This specialization does not lead to license, endorsement, or other professional credential. For more information, see the Licensure section for this program on Capella's website www.capella.edu. Teachers are advised to contact their school district to determine whether a program may qualify for salary advancement.

At a Glance

  • Online 
  • 8 Required courses
  • 3 Core courses
  • 5 Specialization courses
  • 2 Elective courses
  • 1 Capstone
  • 46 Total quarter credits
  • 12 Maximum transfer credits

Reduce your tuition by 30%

Enroll in an eligible program and apply for our Front Line Heroes Discount to save 30% on your master's degree.

Apply now »

Classes Start October 12th

Ready to get started? We’re ready for you. Chat with an enrollment counselor or apply now to take the first step on the journey toward your future.

$50 application fee (waived w/promo SUMMER).

MS—program highlights

Professionally aligned curriculum

Capella University’s MS in Early Childhood Education is recognized by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Focus on DAP

Grow your knowledge of developmentally appropriate practices, grounded in play-based learning that respects each child’s uniqueness.

Scholar-practitioner faculty

Learn the latest in theory and practice from experienced faculty who are actively engaged in the field of early childhood education.

Get the support you need for success

Our dedicated faculty and support teams guide and advise you through every step of your educational journey.

Enrollment counselors

These experts will set you up for success. They’ll help you find the right degree and program, and answer all your questions about Capella.


Advisors know the details of your program. Got questions about courses? Instructors? Resources? Advisors have answers.


Our courses are taught by distinguished faculty members who hold top credentials and have hands-on expertise in their fields. They know what you need to know today.

Writing support

Sharpen your writing skills with our free tutoring services and other resources.

Katherine (Kate) Green, PhD, School of Education

Kate Green, PhD, is currently core faculty with the early childhood program at Capella University. She has been at Capella since 2003 and helped to initiate and develop the ECE degrees. She has a PhD in Child Development from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, worked on a postdoc at Harvard University, obtained an MS in Educational Leadership from Troy State University, BS from Regents College of New York and AA degree in journalism from the Community College of the Air Force (seven years active duty).

Cost & learning format

Online education isn’t one-size-fits-all. We know you’re busy—you need a learning experience tailored to your life, not the other way around. Capella has learning and tuition formats to suit you, however you learn. 

A more structured learning format with an active peer community and faculty guidance. We’ll set the schedule, you meet the deadlines. 

  • Based on the quarter system; 1-3 courses per 10-week quarter
  • 1 semester credit = 1.5 quarter credits
  • Weekly assignments and courseroom discussions
  • Pay for what you take, price varies by courseload or term
$455 per credit, 46 total quarter credits, 12 max transfer credits

*This is only an estimate, using general program pricing, and it does not include fees (including application and resource kit fees).  Your price may be higher or lower depending on your specialization, transfer credits, and tuition discounts. If transfer credits are allowed in this offering, the prices above show what you would pay if you brought in the average number of transfer credits and the price if you brought in the maximum allowed transfer credits.  

Get the details

Speak with an enrollment counselor to get a personalized cost estimate for what you can expect to pay.

Accredited & recognized

Capella University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

Accreditation and recognitions provide the assurance we meet standards for quality of faculty, curriculum, learner services, and fiscal stability. See all of our accreditations and recognitions

Ways to save

At Capella, we believe your education is an investment in your future. It’s also an investment within your grasp. Your goals are achievable—there are more ways to save than you might think. 

Save 30% off your master's

Apply for our Front Line Heroes Discount to receive 30% off the cost of tuition.

Transfer credits

We can accept many transfer credits from regionally accredited schools.

Prior learning assessment

Earn credits by demonstrating your knowledge and/or industry certifications through our prior learning assessment process.

MS in Education sample courses

The MS in Education, Early Childhood Education Studies helps you develop the skills and knowledge to design, implement, and evaluate developmentally appropriate learning experiences for young children.

Show course with description
Action Research to Enhance Practice

In this course, learners explore action research in theory and practice as a form of inquiry and self-reflection to inform and improve their teaching. Learners examine relevant issues in their own educational setting and develop a plan to study and implement meaningful, practical, and researched-based answers. Learners design data collection, analysis, and reporting practices as part of their action research plan that will be implemented in the capstone course. This course requires access to an educational setting, students or learners, and/or classroom practitioners. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer or prior learning assessment. ED5306 and either ED5950 or ED5980 must be taken in sequence and during the learner’s final two quarters.

4 quarter credits
ED5410 *
The Early Childhood Learning Environment

This course covers the early childhood environment and its effects on growth and learning. Learners evaluate the physical environment, the role of the caregivers and teachers, and the interaction among children, and identify methods of increasing child engagement, effective communication, and learning. Learners explore ways to create supportive and nurturing learning environments and how to monitor, reflect, and adjust them to best meet the needs of young children. Learners also become familiar with the responsibilities associated with working in the early childhood learning field. This course requires access to educational settings, programs, and/or practitioners with a focus on children from birth to age eight. Prerequisite(s): ED5405. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer or prior learning assessment except by coursework from Minnesota schools with approved licensure programs.

4 quarter credits
ED5430 *
Children, Families, and Society

Learners in this course examine the importance of actively engaging families in the education and care of children. The course takes an ecological approach to children’s relationships with parents, caregivers, and the broader community. Learners study the characteristics, lifestyles, and contributions associated with various racial, cultural, and economic groups to gain an understanding of the impact of human behavior on children’s growth and development. This course requires access to educational settings, programs, and/or practitioners with a focus on children from birth to age eight. Prerequisite(s): ED5405. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer or prior learning assessment except by coursework from Minnesota schools with approved licensure programs.

4 quarter credits
Classroom Management Strategies

Learners in this course apply strategies for managing diverse and challenging student behaviors and develop the skills needed to create classroom environments that maximize the opportunity for each student to learn. This course emphasizes the roles, rights, and responsibilities of all stakeholders under The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and Section 504 legislation. This course requires access to a P–12 classroom and/or educational stakeholders in a P–12 school or district.

4 quarter credits

What you’ll learn

The right education can change everything. See how you can expand your knowledge and improve your capacity to help young children learn.

  • Understand student development to adapt your teaching methods to how children learn best.
  • Discover how promoting a positive, nurturing environment can foster development, learning, and self-esteem.
  • Craft appropriate curriculum to boost skill development, critical thinking, inquiry, and reflection.
  • Provide inclusive education that encourages individual students to reach their potential.
  • Empower young children’s relationships around and beyond the school setting.
  • Build your mastery early childhood content knowledge, its evolution, and its application.

MS in Education, Early Childhood Education Studies career insights

What Is Early Childhood Education?

ECE covers educational experiences from birth through age 8.

What Can You Do With an Early Childhood Education Degree?

Learn how a degree in Early Childhood Education may open doors to careers in and out of the classroom.

10 Must-Have Literacy Apps for Early Child Educators

Want to engage young children in learning? Here are 10 great apps for child literacy education.

MS in Education—professional paths

Your education can help you reach your goals, professionally and personally. Here are some of the jobs and employment settings to explore with an MS in Education, Early Childhood Education Studies.

Related job titles to explore*

  • Early childhood specialist
  • Early childhood curriculum designer
  • Preschool lead teacher
  • Preschool or childcare center director
  • Head start program director

Employment settings to explore

  • Public or private school
  • Childcare center
  • Individual or family services
  • Head start center
  • Government – federal, state, local

*These are examples intended to serve as a general guide. Some positions may prefer or even require previous experience, licensure, certifications, and/or other designations along with a degree. Because many factors determine what position an individual may attain, Capella cannot guarantee that a graduate will secure any specific job title, a promotion, salary increase, or other career outcome. We encourage you to research requirements for your job target and career goals.

Other programs to explore

Is this program close to what you need, but maybe not a perfect fit? The programs below might be interesting. Check them out to find one that suits your academic and professional goals.

Ready for the next step?

Learning online doesn't mean going it alone. Help is here. From faculty, coaches, advisors, and more. Plus a supportive community of students who are as passionate about their careers as you are about yours.