MEd, Early Childhood Education

Typical Length 30 months

Delivery Hybrid, Summer Hybrid

Nationally Accredited




Add a Field

The MEd – Early Childhood Education is a statewide, interdisciplinary graduate program designed to address the statewide need for Birth – 8 years leadership. This interdisciplinary degree is a collaboration between Curriculum Studies, Special Education, and Human Development & Family Studies.

This program provides format delivery and licensure-related track options to support a range of candidate needs. Program candidates can select one option from each category.

Two format options:

  1. Summer Intensive – Cohorted, face-to-face 1 month intensive sessions for 3 summers on Oahu + monthly on-line seminars throughout the year
  2. Evening/Weekend (Online/Hybrid)– Cohorted, on-line / hybrid coursework accessible across all islands + monthly on-line seminars throughout the year (CURRENTLY NOT ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS)

Three track options:

  1. Non-license M.Ed.- Early Childhood Education
  2. Initial license (Generalist PreK-K or PreK-3) (CURRENTLY NOT ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS)
  3. Add-a-Field license (Generalist PreK-K or PreK-3)

The Masters in Early Childhood Education prepares graduates for various teaching and leadership positions in programs that support the development, learning and well-being of children together with their families and communities.

Who should consider this program
  • Experienced professionals (3 years experience preferred) in diverse early childhood programs and roles
  • Already have a bachelor or master’s degree
  • Early childhood educators on any island in Hawaiʻi
  • Pacific Basin or United States mainland early childhood educators interested in place and culture based approaches to ECE
  • Desire to develop ECE leadership capacity (teaching, policy and advocacy, administration, instructional, research)
  • Interested in becoming licensed in early childhood education
  • Licensed in another field/grade and would like to add a field in generalist ECE to their current license
Common careers

The Masters in Early Childhood Education for prepares graduates for various teaching and leadership positions in programs that support the development, learning and well-being of children together with their families and communities.

Graduates of the program hold positions as:

  • Master Teacher (ECE III)
  • Program Administrators
  • Instructional Leaders (Program Specialists, Resource Teachers, Professional Development Providers, Coaches, Assessment Coordinators)
  • Early Childhood System Leaders (Positions in Advocacy or Policy)
  • Higher Education Faculty
  • Members of Research Teams
Field Requirements (Initial License Track Only) (CURRENTLY NOT ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS)

Candidates are required to participate in a supervised field in an early childhood setting each Fall and Spring semester of the program.

Types of Field Placements

Traditional placements are unpaid placements and are assigned by the field coordinator for candidates to observe and practice in a classroom with an early childhood education Lead Teacher.

In-place placements are for those already working in an early childhood education setting.  This field-based program is designed to accommodate those who may already be working in school settings across all islands of Hawaii, typically as an educational assistant, assistant teacher or teacher.  All candidates who are considering using their position to fulfill field requirements must first obtain departmental approval. Settings must be able to support students in  demonstrating  Professional Standards and Competencies for Early Childhood Educators (2020) at an ECE III level and INTASC Teacher Performance Standards.

Questions about license tracks? Go to FAQs on License

Track Information

This program can be completed in full/part-time formats. Both formats are cohorted and provide a specific sequence for license requirements. The following track options are available:

  •  Non-Licensure Track
  • “Add-a-Field” license in PK-K or PK-3

Non-Licensure Track

  • For individuals planning to ONLY be employed as teachers outside of public schools
  • For individuals not teaching/living in Hawaiʻi
  • For individuals seeking non-teaching roles (policy & advocacy, administration, research)


Add-a-Field Licensure Track

  • For individuals that want to add an  ECE  license to another field license (e.g. elementary, special education)
  • For individuals seeking SATEP recommendation in ECE.
  • Elective courses and capstones are pre-selected.
Admission Requirements

Eligibility Requirements

  • Bachelor’s Degree or higher from an accredited institution
  • GPA: An Undergraduate Cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.
  • Prerequisites: Students must have at least 9 credits of foundational coursework in child and family studies/early childhood education to form the base for initial license expectations.

Application Requirements

  • A transcript from each post-secondary institution attended
  • A written statement of objectives
  • A current resume or CV.
  • Three (3) professional letters of recommendation
  • Interview (In-Person or Online)

Applicants who are not native English speakers may need to take the TOEFL or IELTS (Academic) tests. For more information view the Graduate Division website.

Application Deadlines

Summer Intensive

Starting Semester early Admission General Admission
Summer Admission Only Every 3rd Summer (2024, 2027) October 31* December 31

*Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis after the Early Admission deadline. Review will continue until a cohort fills. We recommend that you apply by October 31 if you require financial assistance.


Starting Semester Early Admission General Admission
Contact Program** TBD TBD

**Contact Program at before applying. This track will start only if there are enough students to form a cohort.

We are currently not admitting international students residing outside of the US into our hybrid or online programs due to legal and tax implications. For more information, please contact Graduate Division at

How to Apply
Tuition & Financial Assistance

The MEd Early Childhood Education is offered through Outreach College.

  • All participants (Hawaii resident, Non-resident, and International) in this program pay the Hawaii-resident per-credit course rate and fees for all Summer Intensive and On-Line Cohorted Classes
  • Non-resident fees apply for face-to-face courses taken in Fall/Spring semesters.

For the most current information on for estimated costs:

Financial Assistance may also be found at:

Financial Aid (FAFSA)Available for this program


Summer Intensive Format
  • Full time in Summer (Mid-June and Mid-July) in Intensive all day (8:30 am – 4:30 pm) Summer sessions on the Mānoa campus. (6-9 credits)
  • Balance of credits taken either online, as a hybrid, or on-ground, based on track and capstone selection. Plan individualized in consultation with the Program Advisor.
  • Evening On-line seminars every 3-4 weeks during the Spring and Fall semester
  • Cohorted program
  • Take between 3-7 credits a semester.
  • Courses are offered on a repeating cycle every 3 years
  • Combination of:
    • On-line –  synchronous evening sessions (4:30-7:30 or 5:30-8:30 pm) and/or asynchronous instruction
    • Hybrid – synchronous evening sessions (5:30-8:30 pm) and on-ground one Saturday a month (9:00-3:30 pm)
    • Summer Intensive Hybrid (with the MEd ECE Summer Program)
  • Evening on-line seminars once every 3-4 weeks during the Spring and Fall semester
  • Capstone and courses individualized in consultation with the cohort coordinator and advisor.
Pre-requisite Coursework
  • Candidates will need to demonstrate basic foundational knowledge of child development/early childhood education regardless of format or track selected.
  • Candidates will need to show previous course work or will be required to enroll and pass all of the following courses:
    • A child development class (3 credits)
    • A developmentally appropriate practices class (3 credits)
    • A family and community engagement class (3 credits)
  • Students who have not come through an ECE license undergraduate program, but who are hoping to earn license are advised to enroll in coursework that will address initial license expectations.
  • Candidates may request permission from the Program Advisor to take pre-requisite course during the same enrollment period as core or elective Masters courses.

The MEd – Early Childhood Education track is a 30 credit graduate program (12 additional credits required for initial license)

All students take the following 6 core courses (18-credits):

    • EDCS 667B: Curriculum Leadership (3)
    • HDFS 491: Advanced Topics –Child Development for Vulnerable Populations (3)
    • EDCS 632: Qualitative Research Methods (3) or approved alternative research methods course
    • HDFS 454: Family Public Policy (3)
    • SPED 631: Early Intervention for Special Populations (3)
    • EDCS 618: Early Childhood Education: Advanced Topics – Professionalism and Ethics (3)

The remaining 9 credits of coursework and capstone (Plan A/Plan B) depend on the track chosen by the student. Courses should be chosen in consultation with your advisor. Minimum of 3 specialization courses (9-credits) – required and/or recommended coursework and directed study in specialization track.

Additional coursework is required for students pursuing initial license or completing a Plan A capstone.

Advising & Faculty

Our faculty and staff will provide you with guidance and resources to support your success from beginning to end. You will receive a dedicated faculty advisor to partner with you on your journey.

Program Coordinator
Photo of Robyn Chun

Robyn Chun

Assistant Specialist

(808) 956-0337