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School of Education and Human Development University of Colorado Denver

School of Education and Human Development

Early Childhood Special Education Specialist License

Are you interested in working with a variety of young children (birth to eight), including children with disabilities? Are you interested in providing culturally-responsive, family-centered, developmentally effective early education in an inclusive setting? This program will prepare you with a solid background in assessment, teaching, intervention and collaboration to help you be successful in your career.

Your classes are available in two formats (on-campus and online). Your licensure course work will include fascinating topics such as child growth and development, approaches to young children's learning, curriculum and program development, family-centered practice, culturally-responsive teaching in multicultural and multilingual settings, medical and physiological aspects of developmental disabilities, social and cognitive development/disorders, screening and assessment of young children, and intervention strategies. For students seeking the MA in Early Childhood Education degree in addition to the ECSE license, other course content includes statistics, measurement and evaluation, and research as it applies to early childhood education.

The program is accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), Colorado Department of Education, Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

You will study with tremendous faculty who will connect you to the latest knowledge and practices emerging in Early Childhood Education/Early Childhood Special Education.

For additional information, contact a student advisor at or 303-315-6300.


The Early Childhood Education program is available in two format options: on-campus and online

The online option is a viable option for prospective students living outside the Denver Metro Area who wish to purse higher education in ECE and the Colorado ECSE Specialist license but have limited access to in-person advanced work in ECE. It is also an excellent option for those living within the Denver Metro Area who need the online format due to work or family obligations or those who prefer the flexible schedule and individual time management offered in the online format. All classes are fully online; however, online students are required to come to Denver for a three to five day summer seminar each June to meet students and faculty face-to-face and attend student advising sessions.​​

ECSE Specialists licensure program completion varies from six to seven semesters and 25 to 49 credits depending on the selected program option:

ECSE Specialist added endorsement only: 24 credit hours
Master's Degree in ECE +ECSE Specialist added endorsement: 39 credit hours
ECSE Specialist initial license only: 39 credit hours
Master's Degree in ECE +ECSE Specialist initial license: 48 credits

Field experiences are a part of each course and provide an opportunity for the student to gain knowledge, abilities, and dispositions while interacting with children, families, program staff, and community agencies.

Students completing the ECSE Specialist license complete 6 credit hours (510 clock hours) between infant/toddler, preschool, and primary levels practica. ECSE students may complete one of the three practica at their own work site.

Candidates must pass the state licensure PLACE test (#27 ECSE) and pass a practicum portfolio review before applying for licensure. Students completing the MA in ECE also complete comprehensive examination.


Most ECE program classes are offered only once per calendar year. Courses are equally distributed between summer, fall, and spring terms. Average size is 25 to 30 student per class with students taking 2 to 3 courses per semester.

Classes are listed in approximate order of when they will be taken by students. Students must complete a program plan with an advisor prior to registration for classes. This can be done once admitted through our group orientation sessions held each semester or by individual appointment with a faculty member.

Course List






The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) is the largest international professional organization dedicated to improving educational outcomes for individuals with exceptionalities, students with disabilities, and/or the gifted. CEC advocates for appropriate governmental policies, sets professional standards, provides continual professional development, advocates for newly and historically underserved individuals with exceptionalities, and helps professionals obtain conditions and resources necessary for effective professional practice. For more information on the Auraria Campus Student Council for Exceptional Children, visit


The professional roles our Early Childhood Special Education Specialist graduates assume include:
Lead teacher
Early interventionist
Service coordinator
Child Find team member
Special education consultant
Behavior specialist
Inclusion specialist

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