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Early Childhood Studies

Master's Degree Program


Graduate opportunities

At the University of North Texas, the Master of Science degree in Early Childhood Studies prepares you for diverse roles in teaching, research, administration and the provision of services to young children and their families/communities.

You receive advanced knowledge for working in education, including theoretical and research-based perspectives on young children’s lives and learning in diverse settings.

Your classroom learning is enriched through seminars, internships, independent study and research. The UNT Child Development Laboratory, faculty collaboration with bilingual and diversity programs, and the Velma E. Schmidt Research Initiatives in Early Childhood Studies broaden prospects for related training and research.

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

Outstanding accolades and student support

The College of Education is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (1140 19th Street, Suite 400; Washington, D.C. 20036; telephone 202-223-0077). 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.

UNT provides a wide variety of services exclusively to graduate students. The Graduate Student Writing Support office can help you with writing, and the Center for Interdisciplinary Research offers assistance with statistical research.

The Toulouse Graduate School offers several professional development workshops, including a Thesis Boot Camp. Many of the workshops are available online for your convenience.

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’s development and learning. Graduate students and faculty members from across the university also conduct research on early childhood education issues.

The Velma E. Schmidt Research Initiatives are designed to advance early education research with a focus on culturally and linguistically diverse children and their families. The goal is to increase understanding about these children’s development and their early care and education experiences to inform the development of responsive policies and effective practices.

These research initiatives utilize an interdisciplinary perspective promoting collaborations across various departments and colleges. Some of the activities include:

  • Conducting research to improve the quality of early education practices with a focus on bilingual and culturally diverse children
  • Examining professional development approaches for teachers of diverse children
  • Evaluating early childhood programs and schools serving young bilingual and culturally diverse children and their families
  • Establishing national and international research consortia to address issues of bilingualism and cultural diversity in early education

These research initiatives involve graduate students in a range of scholarly activities. Contact Dr. Dina C. Castro, the Velma E. Schmidt Endowed Chair, for further information.

Attending UNT

Admission requirements

You’ll need to meet the graduate school’s admission requirements, which are outlined at the graduate school website. 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 as received. The admission deadlines are July 15 for fall, Nov.1 for spring and May 1 for summer. Materials should be emailed to Destinie Noles.

Degree requirements

Master of Science

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

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

Specific required courses and descriptions are available in the 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 the financial aid site.