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Master of Arts in Education
Option in Early Childhood Education

The Master of Arts degree in Education with an option in Early Childhood Education offers specialized preparation for a wide variety of positions in educational settings with children from birth through the primary grades. The program is designed to meet the needs of candidates with different professional and educational backgrounds and varied career objectives.


NAEYC AccreditationFresno State's MA in Education, Early Childhood Education program is the ONLY nationally accredited Early Childhood Education MA program in the state of California recognized by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

Program Overview

The Master of Arts in Education, Early Childhood Education program is a 30-unit program with two specialized pathway options: Teacher Leader or Program Leader. The Teacher Leader specialization is primarily for those in TK-3 settings. The Program Leader specialization is for professionals in various settings.

Because of the Joyce M. Huggins Early Education Center, an early education, research, and training center, housed in the Education Building, our students have unique opportunities to work with children and families as well as other academic disciplines across the university.

Early Childhood Education Specialist Credential

The Early Childhood Education Specialist Credential Program offers advanced preparation to those who already hold a valid California elementary credential. It is an embedded program and is completely aligned with the Master's Program. Master’s candidates in the ECE Teacher Leader Specialization may use their coursework to fulfill requirements for the ECE Specialist Credential. Although it is embedded in the Master’s Program, it can also be completed separately. 

In addition to a valid California teaching credential, the ECE Specialist Credential requires at least two years of teaching at two different levels of early childhood education. For candidates wishing to fulfill the fieldwork requirements for the Specialist Credential while they are in the program, program faculty can provide assistance.


All of our courses are offered in the evening to allow professionals to commute to campus. This series of courses builds on students' understanding of how children learn and how to provide advocacy for young children and their families.

The program requirements include 30 units of required coursework.

LEE 171 Trends & Issues in Early Childhood Education 3 units
LEE 232 Literacy in Early Childhood Education 3 units
LEE 233 Curriculum & Assessment in Early Childhood Education 3 units
LEE 235 Concept Development in Early Childhood Education 3 units
LEE 241 Fieldwork in Early Childhood Education 3 units
LEE 250 Leadership in Early Childhood Education 3 units
LEE 271 Diversity & Inclusion in Early Childhood Education 3 units
CI 285 Seminar in Advanced Educational Psychology 3 units
ERE 220 Research in Education 3 units
Project OR Comprehensive Examination + Elective 3 units
TOTAL 30 units

Visit the catalog for course descriptions. 

Career Opportunities

Our graduates work in a variety of settings; from being a professor here at Fresno State to working as an ECE coach for Fresno Unified to working at a non-profit organization. Earning your Master's degree in Early Childhood Education opens many doors to your future.

Early Childhood Education Career Pathways
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Preschool and Childcare Center Directors

Hear from our students and graduates about how this degree has impacted their career.