Your browser does not support JavaScript! or JavaScript is currently disabled.

Early Childhood Education Specialization Master of Science in Education

School of Education

Help the next generation of students succeed

As an educator, the impact of your work can truly last a lifetime. That’s why our online Master’s in Early Childhood Education program is designed around national standards to show you how to start an education off on the right foot. You’ll expand on your current expertise to better understand different learning styles of children, the role family relationships play in learning, and the developmental needs of all students up to the age of eight. All of which can help you create the curriculum and environment kids need, and deserve.

At a Glance

  • 100% online
  • 6 core courses
  • 4 specialization courses
  • 1 practicum

Classes Start August 5th

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)

What you’ll learn

Understand student development

With a deeper understanding of development stages, you can adapt your teaching methods to how children learn best. 

Promote positivity

Discover how to create nurturing environments that foster learning and build positive self-esteem.

Create curricula that works

Craft developmentally appropriate curriculum to boost skill development, critical thinking, curiosity, and reflection.

Reach all students

Build comprehensive lesson plans based on equal and inclusive education to reach a variety of learning styles. 

Make age-appropriate evaluations

Apply standards-based assessment practices to evaluate curriculum and improve student outcomes. 

Gain insight from the past

Learn the history, trends, and evolution of childhood education and how they are reflected and applied in schools today. 

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. 

Our original learning format offers extra structure for those who want it. 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.

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. 

Reduce your tuition with $3K

Enroll in your master's degree, apply for the $3K scholarship, and meet eligibility requirements.

Transfer credits

We can accept many transfer credits from regionally accredited schools.


There are a variety of need-based federal grants available to help pay for tuition and costs.

Recognized by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), our master’s degree specialization in early childhood education focuses on helping you design, implement, and evaluate developmentally appropriate learning experiences for young children.

As an advanced teaching program, our Master of Science in Education with an Early Childhood Education Specialization is approved by the Minnesota Board of Teaching. This approval can help teachers in Minnesota and many other states add early childhood to their license or certificate.

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

MS in Early Childhood Education sample courses

The curriculum for our online master’s in early childhood education program focuses on strategies for classroom and family management, and eliminating achievement gaps. You will also explore special education and supervisory skills through your courses.

Show course with description
Infant and Child Development

This course addresses the developmental stages of children from the prenatal period to age eight years. Learners examine how children develop physically, emotionally, socially, and intellectually; and evaluate the influences family, society, and culture have on infant, toddler, and K–grade three child development. Learners also assess children’s evolving needs and apply theory and research to recommend appropriate responses to those needs. Cannot be fulfilled by transfer or prior learning assessment except by coursework from Minnesota schools with approved licensure programs.

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
ED5420 *
Exceptional Children in the Early Childhood Setting

In this course, learners gain the skills and knowledge needed to meet the needs of young learners in an inclusive environment. The course deals specifically with emotionally, mentally, and physically challenged children, including those who receive special education services in the P–12 system. Learners develop authentic curriculum and learning assessment strategies that are meaningful and understandable to children with various needs. This course requires access to educational settings, programs, and/or practitioners with a focus on children from birth to age eight. Prerequisite(s): ED5405.

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

Prepare for licensure

Our program features rigorous online coursework plus added support outside the courseroom to help you begin work immediately toward that next step in your career.

Dedicated Support

Our licensure team supports you through the license application process, and is here for you even beyond graduation. 

Faculty & support

You’re never going it alone at Capella. Our dedicated faculty and support teams are waiting to guide, help, 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.

Writing support

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

Early Childhood Education career insights

Choosing the Right K–12 Master’s in Education for You

There are many degree specializations in K-12 education. So which master’s degree is a match for you?

Early Childhood Education professional paths

Here are just some of the career options you could explore with our online master's in early childhood education program.

Related job titles to explore*

  • Family Education center director
  • Education coordinator
  • Pre K–3 elementary teacher
  • Preschool lead teacher
  • Early childhood services director
  • Adjunct or part-time instructor

Related employment settings to explore

  • Daycare center
  • Head start center
  • Summer enrichment programs
  • Preschool or nursery school
  • Elementary public or private school
  • Land-based or online college or university

*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.