BEd, Early Childhood/Early Childhood SPED

Typical Length 2 years

Delivery Hybrid






Stipends Available

This 3-for-1 program allows candidates to earn their bachelor’s degree along with two teaching licenses at the early childhood level. This cohorted program is offered statewide and is a series of coursework taken as the final two years of the bachelor’s degree in education. This emphasis prepares teachers for young children with and without disabilities in preschool through 3rd grade (PK-3) general, inclusive, or special education settings.

Ihilani Marcello of Maui shares her experience as a distance student in the program!

Who should consider this program

People who:

  • Want to teach preschool to 3rd grade general education settings, and/or
  • Want to teach preschool to 3rd grade special education settings, and/or
  • Want to teach in early childhood private preschool programs, and/or
  • Want to teach in Head Start programs or other community programs
Career & Licensure Information

Upon program completion, qualified candidates will be recommended for initial teacher licensure in BOTH early early childhood (PK-3) and special education (PK-3). Program graduates are prepared to teach in a range of settings including private preschools, Headstart programs, Hawaii Department of Education preschool classes, and other community settings.

  • Preschool to 3rd grade general education teacher, and/or
  • Preschool to 3rd grade special education teacher, and/or
  • Early childhood private preschool teacher, and/or
  • Head Start teacher or other community program teacher

Once completing an initial teacher licensure program, graduates are eligible to apply for a state license through the Hawai‘i Teacher Standards Board, which will allow the licensee to teach in public and charter schools in the State of Hawai‘i.

Hawai‘i also participates in the NASDTEC Interstate Agreement which facilitates the mobility of educators among states that are members of NASDTEC. UHM recommends you contact the office of certification in any state to which you may be relocating to get the most current information. See NASDTEC website for more information.

Admission Requirements

Eligibility Requirements

  • 2.75 GPA or higher
  • Complete 55 credits prior to beginning the program. The 55 credits can be from UHM and/or approved transfer credits from another institution.
  • Complete UHM General Education Core Requirements prior to the start of program. Applicants who have completed an articulated Associates of Arts (AA) degree from a UH Community College are considered to have met the UHM General Education Core Requirements with possible exceptions (see an academic advisor).
  • Complete Licensure Track Prerequisite Courses
    • MATH 111
    • MATH 112 (FS)
    • MUS 253, THEA 470, DNCE 490 or any other DA course
    • HWST 107 (DH)
    • HDFS 230 or PSY 240 (DS)
    • In addition to the prerequisite course above, SPED 304, ITE 318, ITE 417, ITE 425, and ITE 360B are also required. It is recommended that you complete these courses prior to beginning the program, however, this program has been designed to accommodate candidates to take these courses during the program if needed. Refer below, under coursework, for more information.
  • Complete 40 hours of paid or voluntary group leadership field experience with K-6th grade students. The experience cannot have occurred more than 5 years prior to acceptance into the program.

Work with your Office of Student Academic Services (OSAS) Academic Advisor to schedule the above Elementary Education Emphasis courses. Some of these courses may be offered in the summer. Set up an appointment with an academic advisor

Application Requirements

  • Interview with the program
  • Write a personal statement
  • Provide Three (3) Professional References

International students are unable to pursue our online or hybrid programs due to visa requirements, including for those who wish to pursue online courses from their home country. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Application Deadlines
Fall Only, Even Years (2022, 2024, 2026 etc) February 1 March 1

Late applications are not accepted. To receive updates, notifications, and reminders regarding admissions, please complete the “Request More Info” form.

How to Apply

STATEWIDE PROGRAM (online/hybrid)

Available on all islands. Cohorted program. Courses are primarily online with online class sessions held in the early evenings, typically 4:30pm-7:00pm on weekdays. In addition, there are two face-to-face Saturday class meetings each Fall/Spring semester. Neighbor island candidates travel to Oahu and some financial support is provided to assist with travel costs associated with face-to-face program requirements.

This is a blended program, meaning blended coursework is co-taught as one class by both early childhood & early childhood special education faculty.

Tuition & Funding

Approximately $471 per credit (RESIDENT)


DOE STIPENDS (36 credits, approximately $17,000): May be available to candidates who agree to teach SPED in a Hawaii DOE school for a minimum of 3 years after program completion. Contingent upon yearly renewal of funds, funding would be offered to all admitted program candidates and is provided each semester directly to the students while enrolled.

TEACH GRANT: Up to $8,000 may be available to candidates who intend to teach special education full-time at a Title I school. Candidates must qualify for financial aid and have a GPA of 3.25 or above to be eligible.

SCHOLARSHIPS: Refer to College of Education Scholarships


Prerequisite Courses* (15 credits): SPED 304, ITE 417, ITE 318, ITE 425, and ITE 360B. It is recommended that you complete these courses prior to beginning the program, however, this program has been designed to accommodate candidates to take these courses during the program if needed. Prerequisite courses are indicated using an *asterisk in the course sequence provided below.

Blended program: Some coursework is co-taught as one class by both early childhood & early childhood special education faculty. Blended co-taught courses are highlighted together in green boxes in the course sequence below.

UHM Focus Requirements: requirements are built into the program through coursework and fieldwork requirements:

  • Contemporary Ethical Issues (E)
  • Oral Communication (O)
  • Writing Intensive (W; 5 courses)

FALL I (10-16 credits)

Coursework Fieldwork
ITE 318* (3cr)
Child Development from Prenatal Through Age Eight
ITE/SPED 315 (W) (4cr)
Field Experience, Blended Early Childhood
SPED 304* (3cr)
Foundations of Inclusive Schooling
ITE 415 (3cr)
Observation & Assessment in Early Childhood Education
SPED 485C (3cr)
Classroom Management

SPRING I (16 credits)

Coursework Fieldwork
ITE 313B (W) (3cr)
Literature & Literacy I
SPED 421B (3cr)
Strategies for Reading Difficulties
ITE/SPED 315 (W) (4cr)
Field Experience, Blended Early Childhood
ITE 321 (3cr)
Social Studies & Science in Early Childhood Education
SPED 461C (3cr)
Mild/Moderate Disabilities

SUMMER I (3-9 credits)

ITE 326 (3cr)
Visual Arts
ITE 360B (W)* (3cr)
Introduction to Multicultural Education
ITE 417* (3cr)
Foundations of Early Childhood Education Ages 3-8

FALL II (16 credits)

Coursework Fieldwork
ITE 416 (3cr)
Teaching & Learning for Diverse Young Children
SPED 332 (W) (3cr)
Young Children with Communication Needs
ITE/SPED 315 (W) (4cr)
Field Experience, Blended Early Childhood
ITE 320 (3cr)
Instruction & Assessment Methods for Multilingual Learners
ITE 324B (3cr)
Mathematics I, Elementary

SPRING II (13 credits)

Coursework Fieldwork
SPED 480C (3cr)
Technology for Children with Disabilities
ITE/SPED 390B (6cr)
Student Teaching
ITE/SPED 391B (4cr)
Seminar for Student Teaching
Full-time, Monday-Friday teaching experience in school settings

SUMMER II (6-9 credits)

ITE 425B* (3cr)
Working with Families
SPED 462C (W) (3cr)
Severe Disabilities/Autism
SPED 487 (O) (3cr)
Students at Risk

Please refer to the course catalog, Institute for Teacher Education (ITE) and Special Education (SPED), for more detailed course titles and descriptions.

A part-time course sequence option is available, which would extend the program shown above to three years instead of two. Please contact for information and advising.

Field Placements

Fieldwork Requirements

In addition to general coursework, each Fall/Spring semester candidates will enroll in field experience, where candidates are placed in local schools during the day to learn from a mentor teacher. The first three semesters of the program are part-time field experiences, typically requiring two or three days in the classroom, whereas the final Spring semester is a full-time (Monday-Friday) student teaching experience in both general education and special education early childhood placements.

Types of Field Placements

Traditional placements are assigned by the cohort coordinator for candidates to observe and practice in a classroom with a licensed special education or general education early childhood teacher.

In-place placements are for those already working in school settings and employed by the DOE or early childhood programs.  All candidates who are considering using their paid position to fulfill field requirements must first obtain departmental approval, which are completed on a case-by-case basis.

Advising & Faculty

Program Info & Inquiries

Please complete the “Request More Info” form and our recruitment specialist will be happy to answer additional questions, provide more detailed information, and assist with the application process once admissions open.

Photo of Janet Kim

Janet Kim

Special Education Recruitment Specialist