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Early Childhood Studies

Master's Degree Program


Graduate opportunities

At the University of North Texas, our master’s program in Early Childhood Studies prepares you for diverse roles in teaching, research, administration, activism and the provision of services to young children and their families/communities.

The program provides opportunities for formal course work, seminars, internships, independent study and research. The UNT Child Development Laboratory, faculty collaboration with bilingual and diversity programs, and the Velma E. Schmidt Critical Research Initiatives in Early Childhood Studies broaden prospects for related training and research.

The Master of Science degree offers advanced knowledge for working in education, including critical theoretical and research based perspectives on young children’s lives and learning in diverse settings.

Our program’s quality is enhanced by faculty members’ affiliations with professional organizations and their participation on organizational, editorial and other boards. Collectively, faculty members have written, cowritten and edited numerous books, book chapters and articles in refereed journals and have presented several hundred refereed papers at national, regional and state professional meetings and conferences.

The College of Education is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (2010 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Suite 500; Washington, D.C. 20036; telephone 202-466-7496). This accreditation means the college meets or exceeds strict academic standards for excellence in education. The college is also one of the state’s top producers of teachers, administrators, counselors and other school professionals.

Centers and clinics

The Child Development Laboratory is an accredited preschool program for children ages 3 to 5. It also serves as a model, an observation site and a training center for undergraduate and graduate students in fields related to young children. Graduate students and faculty members from across the university also conduct research on early childhood issues.

The Velma E. Schmidt Research Initiatives are designed to conduct critical research, collaborate with other critical social scientists and disseminate research that facilitates increased social justice and equity for children. The purpose of these initiatives is to study the unintended/unanticipated effects of public discourses and policies on the life opportunities and educational/ learning conditions of younger populations. Critical inquiry, evaluation projects and collaborations work toward:

  • Development of/support for critical qualitative research methods that reveal oppressive childhood policies and practices
  • Examination of the local/global effects of globalization on young children
  • Inquiry into conditions of oppression and privilege
  • Support for cultural and linguistic diversity
  • Support for equity and increased opportunity for all young children

The critical initiatives involve graduate students in a range of scholarly activities. Contact Gaile S. Cannella, Professor and Velma E. Schmidt Endowed Chair, for further information.

Attending UNT

Admission requirements

You will need to meet the Toulouse Graduate School’s® admission requirements. These requirements include current GRE or GMAT scores. You must also submit the following to the program area for review:

  • Letter of application describing professional goals and research interests
  • Current résumé
  • Three letters of recommendation

Admission materials for the master’s program are reviewed three times each year. The admission deadlines are May 15 for fall, Oct. 15 for spring and March 15 for summer. Materials should be sent to Destinie Noles.

Degree requirements

Master of Science

The M.S. has a 36-semester-hour thesis option or a 39-semester-hour non-thesis option. Students are required to select a major advisor to establish a degree plan and approve all practicum/internship experiences. Thesis students establish a committee to oversee the research process. Non-thesis students complete a formal examination at the end of their course work.

Thesis option
  • 18 semester hours of early childhood studies core courses
  • 6 semester hours of research courses
  • 6 semester hours of a master’s thesis course
  • 6 semester hours of electives (3 semester hours must be chosen from early childhood studies courses)
Non-thesis option
  • 18 semester hours of early childhood studies core courses
  • 6 semester hours of research courses
  • 3 semester hours of an early childhood studies course
  • 12 semester hours in a related area (chosen in consultation with your committee)

Specific required courses and descriptions are available in the university catalog and in the program information materials received upon admission.

Financial assistance

You may qualify for competitive scholarships and grants, and teaching and research assistantships to help you pursue your education. Additional information is available at the Graduate School website and Financial Aid site.