At the University of North Texas, the Master of Science (M.S.) degree in Early Childhood Education prepares students for diverse roles in teaching, research, and the administration of services for young children and their families/ communities. Through an Accelerated Online Program (AOP) format, you can continue working while earning your M.S. degree. AOP courses are offered in accelerated, eight-week sessions with five start dates per year. You can complete the program within a calendar year or spread coursework over two years.

Graduate opportunities

The M.S. in Early Childhood Education is a 30-credit-hour degree program that is 100-percent online through UNT's Accelerated Online Programs. Our courses involve the study of children through sociological and post-developmental models to situate them within their complex sociocultural communities.

Our program is designed to teach you how to better respond to increasingly diverse populations through inclusive and culturally responsive curriculum. Throughout this program, you will learn to critically examine the nature of early childhood classrooms, centers and schools in order to re-examine what it means to teach and care for young children. This knowledge translates into skills that you can apply across research, policy and practice settings, preparing you to become an advocate for children.

The quality of our program is enhanced by faculty members' critically engaged work within early childhood research, initiatives, and organizations at local, national and international levels. Our faculty members have written, co-authored and edited books, book chapters and articles in top-refereed journals.

They have published in top-ranked research and practitioner journals such as:

  • Children's Geographies
  • Early Childhood Research Quarterly
  • Equity and Excellence in Education
  • Harvard Educational Review
  • Journal of Early Childhood Literacy
  • Urban Review
  • Young Children
  • Zero to Three

As part of a Tier One research university, the graduate faculty also present their work at national and international professional meetings and conferences.

The College of Education is accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (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 also is 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 helps students with course papers, a thesis or a dissertation, and the Toulouse Graduate School® offers several professional development workshops, including job market preparation, résumé writing and managing work-life balance. Many workshops are available online for students' convenience.

Centers and clinics

The Child Development Laboratory is an accredited preschool program for children ages 3 to 5 years old. It also serves as a model, an observation site and a training center for undergraduate and graduate students in fields related to children's development and learning. Graduate students and faculty members from across the university also use the lab to conduct research on early childhood educational 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, early care and education experiences. The researchers use an interdisciplinary perspective to promote cross-departmental and college collaborations. Activities include:

  • Evaluations of early childhood programs serving bilingual and culturally diverse children and families
  • Professional development approaches for teachers of diverse children
  • Research to improve the quality of early education practices with a focus on bilingual and culturally diverse children
  • Participation in national and international research associations to address issues of bilingualism and cultural diversity in early education

Attending UNT

Admission requirements

Applicants will need to meet the graduate school's admission requirements, outlined at the graduate school website. In addition to an application to the graduate school, applicants also must submit the following materials to the program area for review:

  • A three- to four-page, double-spaced personal statement describing professional goals and research interests
  • A current résumé or curriculum vitae
  • Three letters of recommendation on letterhead from individuals who can speak to the applicant's ability to engage in graduate coursework

Materials should be emailed to the program at Admission deadlines are July 15 for fall, November 1 for spring and May 1 for summer.

Degree requirements

Master of Science

Upon acceptance to the program, you are assigned an advisor to establish a degree plan, and coursework can begin during any of the eight-week sessions. The following courses can be offered as part of the 30-hour program:

  • Advanced studies in early childhood education
  • Assessment in early childhood education
  • Children, families and communities
  • Children's play and critical inquiry
  • Classroom research and inquiry
  • Constructions of guidance in early childhood classrooms
  • Curriculum theory in early childhood studies
  • Educational statistics
  • Leadership and supervision of programs
  • Making the literacy connection: language to reading
  • Research strategies in early childhood education
  • Schooling in a multicultural society

Please find more information about courses, costs and faculty at our website. Specific required courses and descriptions are available in our catalog, as well as in the program information materials received upon admission.

Financial assistance

Students may qualify for competitive scholarships and grants. Additional information is available at the graduate school website and the financial aid website.


Graduate Faculty and Research Areas

Dina Castro, Professor and Velma E. Schmidt Endowed Chair; Ph.D., University of North Carolina. Early childhood education for dual-language learners; cultural diversity and equity; bilingual development; developmental and academic assessment; teacher professional development.

Ranita Cheruvu, Clinical Assistant Professor; Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University. Culturally relevant and culturally sustaining early childhood education; teacher education; preparation and retention of teachers of color; early childhood critical literacy.

Carol Hagen, Principal Lecturer and Director of the Child Development Laboratory; Ed.D., University of North Texas. Early childhood education; curriculum; diverse families.

April Larremore, Instructor; Ph.D., University of North Texas. Elementary education; early childhood education; early childhood literacies; social justice education and practice; curriculum development and instructional practice; assessment; gender; teacher professional development.

Janelle Mathis, Professor; Ph.D., University of Arizona. Children's and adolescent literature; multimodal literacies; critical content analysis in qualitative research; sociocultural theory and issues in literacy; teacher education.

Tran Nguyen Templeton, Assistant Professor; Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University. Critical childhood studies; curriculum theory; early childhood literacies; qualitative methods; participatory visual research; play and critical curriculum design.