The Early Childhood Education program is available in two format options: on-campus and online. The online option is limited to Colorado residents living 60 or more miles from Denver. Our online program objective is to provide an opportunity for higher education in ECE and the Colorado ECSE Specialist license for prospective students outside the Denver metro area who have limited access to advanced academic work in ECE. The online format follows a cohort model - a new group of online students is admitted every other January and takes all classes together in the same sequence.
Students living in the Denver metropolitan area are eligible to partake of the on-campus option. If a prospective student has highly unusual circumstances that prevent them from being able to attend late afternoon or weekend classes on-campus, an exemption may be made for the online eligibility requirements. On-campus students are admitted each semester.
ECSE Specialists licensure program completion varies from six to seven semesters and 24 to 48 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 in the ECSE program complete 290 clock hours of fieldwork in conjunction with courses.
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.
The Early Childhood Special Education licensure program is designed for professionals who are particularly interested in learning specialized skills for working with young children with special needs and their families in the age range birth through 8 years of age. Experience with young children with special needs is an important prerequisite to the ECSE licensure program. These field experiences can be in early intervention, preschool, or K-2 settings, and must include working directly with young children with special needs and their families. Field experiences help prospective teachers understand the challenges and become more comfortable with working with young children with special needs. Prior to acceptance in the ECSE licensure program, prospective applicants must provide evidence documenting at least one year of this field experience. This can include employment, practicum experiences from other programs, or volunteer experiences. The experience must include working with young children at-risk for or with special needs (e.g., Head Start classrooms, early intervention providers, inclusive preschools, etc.). In addition to this previous experience, it is required that ECSE licensure students continue to work in an inclusive early childhood program (as paid professional or regular volunteer) for the duration of the ECSE program at CU Denver.
Prospective applicants who meet the requirements for admittance into the Master’s degree in ECE but do not have the required field experiences for ECSE can begin as part of the MA-only track and then apply for transfer to the ECSE licensure program once one year of relevant field experiences has been documented.