Early Childhood Education

Early Childhood Education Master of Education (M.Ed.) Degree Only

About Early Childhood Education Master's Degree

Advance your teaching career on your schedule with this fully online graduate degree.

PennWest California's Early Childhood Education master's degree is a 100% online graduate program for certified teachers in elementary, special or early childhood education. In this program you will gain and apply in-depth knowledge of child development, families and best teaching practices in a variety of education settings.

This program is for individuals who wish to expand their career options by earning a master of education degree but do not wish to pursue early childhood education teaching certification. 

Discover PennWest California's time-tested approach to teacher education.

  • This professional graduate program is centered on research-based best practices in the field of early childhood education.
  • Our focus on experiential learning will prepare you to be a top classroom leader.
  • PennWest California has a 160-year reputation for producing top teachers in Pennsylvania and beyond.


Top Accreditation: This  degree program is approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. In addition, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) accredits PennWest California. CAEP promotes excellence in educator preparation through quality assurance and continuous improvement. See CAEP reporting measures of program impact and outcomes.


Hands-on Learning: As an early childhood education graduate student, you'll have the opportunity to complete an internship in an early childhood/preschool setting under the supervision of a sponsoring organization and the University. This internship, contingent upon approval by the program coordinator, is only required if you do not have previous early childhood education experience (i.e., formal work and/or teaching experience working with pre-K to grade 4 children)

Top 50 
PennWest California's online program in early childhood education is ranked 13th in the Top 50 Best Online Master's in Early Education Childhood programs 2015, presented by Superscholar.com.
PennWest California's online master's degree in education was ranked #26 in the nation in 2017 by GraduatePrograms.com.
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Degree Benefits

As an early childhood education master's degree student at PennWest California, you will benefit from:

  • The flexibility and ease of online courses that can be taken anywhere, any time.
  • Support from your peers in a cohort consisting of fellow students who follow the same class schedule.
  • Personal advising by telephone or email.
  • Job-placement support from PennWest California's Career and Professional Development Center.
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Graduate Outcomes

New career opportunities have evolved for teachers with a strong background in early childhood education. This degree will enable you to meet the specific needs of children, and work with parents and other adults to nurture children's physical, social, emotional and intellectual growth. Our alumni have gone on to jobs in:

  • Public and private schools' pre-K to grade 4 education programs.
  • Preschool programs.
  • Head Start and child care centers.
  • Parenting and family support programs.

Curriculum and Admission Requirements

From early childhood education curriculum and assessment to advanced psychology of learning, this comprehensive master's degree program will give you the knowledge and skills you need for a rewarding career in the education of young students. The program can be completed successfully in five semesters, including summers.



Course Credits
ECE 700  Early Childhood Curriculum and Assessment  3
ECE 702  Advanced Childhood Development 3
ECE 703  Literacy Development 3
ECE 704  Special Topics in Early Childhood Education 3
ECE 705  Science and Math in Early Childhood 3
ECE 707  Leadership and Management in Early Childhood Settings 3
EDE 701  Standards Aligned Curriculum, Instruction and Assessments 3
ESP 610  Special Ed Foundations Collab 3
PSY 712  Advanced Psychology of Learning 3
RES 800  Methods of Research 3
Total 30


Admission Requirements

Regular Admission Requirements

  • Regionally Accredited Bachelor's degree with a GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Official transcripts from a regionally accredited undergraduate institution
  • Copy of teaching certification OR a resume will be evaluated on the basis of prior studies and/or significant professional experience

Conditional Admission Requirements

  • Conditional Admission may be granted with the following modifications of the Regular Admissions Requirements:
    • Regionally accredited Bachelor’s degree with a GPA of a 2.8-2.99 will be conditionally admitted with the stipulation of earning a 3.0 GPA in the first term
    • Regionally accredited bachelor's degree with a GPA of 2.79 and below will be reviewed for a decision

Provisional Admission:
Applicants who have provided unofficial documentation of test scores, prerequisite courses, transcripts or lack of letter(s) of recommendation may be admitted provisionally.

This policy also applies to undergraduate students who apply for graduate admission pending bachelor degree completion. Upon receipt of all official documents, a student will be changed from Provisional Admission to either Regular Admission or Conditional Admission. Provisional Admission students may take classes for one term but will not be eligible for Federal Financial Aid.

How to Apply:

  • Complete the Graduate School Application
  • Submit the nonrefundable $35 Application Fee
  • Submit required documentation by mail or email:
    • Mail:

School of Graduate Studies and Research
PennWest California
Box 91
250 University Ave. 
California, PA 15419

For additional information:
Email: calugo@pennwest.edu
Phone: 1.866.595.6348

An education student at PennWest California.

Career at a Glance

Meet Ashley Baird Roth '10, '12. After obtaining both her bachelor's degree and master's degree from PennWest California's College of Education, she went on to become director of The Village Early Childhood Education Center in California, Pennsylvania, where she oversees nationally accredited childcare programs. Roth also shares her expertise as an adjunct professor in PennWest California's Childhood Education Department.

A PennWest California student helps a child with a project.

What do Program Alumni Have to Say?

"Principals and administrators compliment the PennWest California program when they see my lesson development and dedication to the profession firsthand." - Ashley Szala '15

An elementary education room at PennWest California.

Best Online Program

U.S. News and World Report has named PennWest California's graduate education programs among the "Best Online Programs" three years in a row, and counting ...

Childhood Education Faculty

Dr. Peter Cormas
Associate Professor


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Dr. Holly L. Diehl
Professor and Coordinator of Professional Development Schools Program


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Dr. Diane Fine
Associate Professor and Coordinator, Reading Specialist Program and Integrative STEM Education Program


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Dr. J. William Hug
Associate Professor; Science, Environment and STEM Teacher Education


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Dr. Rebecca Maddas
Associate Professor


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Please Note: All students who will be seeking licensure/certification outside of Pennsylvania should consult the State Authorization web page for more information.