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    Online Master of Science in Education in Early Childhood Education Policy

    Advance in a high-demand field.

    Due to recent workforce shifts during the global pandemic, early childhood educators have emerged as an essential resource, and there exists a dire need for early childhood education advocacy in the larger legislative and education policy arena. With the Early Childhood Education Policy program, students will learn the essential interdisciplinary insights necessary for successful cross-sector collaboration to address early childhood education system solutions. Through study in this program, students will become policy leaders ready to work with schools, non-profit organizations, governmental agencies, advocacy groups, and institutes of higher education to focus on inclusion and support for all children and families. The 30-credit program is designed for both professionals and recent college graduates who aspire to advance their careers through a focus on policy studies.

    Register for an Online Information Session

    Why UW-Whitewater Online?

    • 30 Credits 
    • Complete in as little as 15 months
    • Enroll full- or part-time
    • Fully asynchronous, online learning for maximum flexibility.
    • Ability to join scheduled live sessions, synchronously, if desired. Not required. 
    • Join a passionate, committed, caring group of early childhood enthusiasts building solutions toward inclusive, creative and equitable access and
      outcomes for all children.

    Creating Pathways

    For ECE policy leaders who represent the populations we serve. 


    Low cost yet high-quality educational opportunity.


    Experienced academics and leaders in ECE policy.

    Online Master of Science Education in Early Childhood Education Policy

    Kurt Rose, types away on his laptop for online class

    The MSE in Early Childhood Education Policy degree requirements have been designed for both professionals and recent college graduates who aspire to advance their careers through a focus on policy studies. Program learning outcomes span constructivist, ecological, behaviorist and critical understandings of learning.

    Building on this foundation, the MSE in Early Childhood Education Policy centers interdisciplinary knowledge and acknowledges historical, theoretical, political, and cultural influences in early childhood education. This program is 30 credits, and can be completed in as few as 15 months.

    Through the graduate coursework, students will interrogate the reciprocal impact of identity self-awareness within systems of privilege and oppression including course topics such as unequal childhoods, racial equity, and the history of equity in early childhood policy.

    Program Requirements


    Core Courses: 

    21 credits


    Issues, Perspectives and Directions: A Professional Seminar in Education

    3 credits

    EDFOUND 780

    Reading, Analyzing, and Evaluating Educational Research

    3 credits

    EDUINDP 789

    Capstone Seminar

    3 credits

    EARLYCHD 711

    Early Childhood Education and Care Policy: Theory, Analysis & Research

    3 credits

    EARLYCHD 713

    Trends in Curriculum for the Pre-School/Primary Child

    3 credits

    EARLYCHD 714

    Early Childhood Education and Care Today: Examining Practices

    3 credits

    CIFLD 793


    3 credits

    Early Childhood Education Policy Electives (choose three): 

    9 credits

    CIGENRL 710

    Current Topics in Curriculum and Instruction

    3 credits

    CIGENRL 696

    Special Studies

    3 credits

    CIGENRL 715

    Applied Theory to Practice for Curriculum and Instruction

    3 credits

    CIGENRL 796

    Special Studies

    3 credits

    EDFOUND 710

    Education in a Pluralistic Society

    3 credits

    SPECED 703

    Promoting Reform Through Collaborative Leadership

    3 credits

    SPECED 766

    Professional Collaborations: Families & Community Agencies

    3 credits

    Total Credits

    30 credits


    Claire Olsen, intently reading tablet, reviewing notes for online class

    To ensure a high quality graduate student group, all MSE in Early Childhood Education Policy students must have a bachelor's degree from a recognized institution and minimum GPA of 2.75 overall undergraduate GPA or 2.90 in last half of undergraduate degree or 3.0 in graduate level coursework. Prior to applying to the program, review the graduate admission requirements.

    If you do not meet the graduate admission criteria, please email us to determine if you could be admitted on a conditional basis. 

    International students must meet additional criteria and will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Contact us for information and assistance.

    In addition, candidates must include a 2-3 page written statement of goals outlining their reasons for selecting a program of study in Early Childhood Education Policy.

    Nicole Pierre, jotting down notes while reading at home

    Early Childhood Education Policy professionals with advanced credentials are in high demand. Just a few positions and organizations are listed below.


    • Analyst
    • Research Associate
    • Teacher Educator
    • Director
    • Counselor
    • Agency Liaison


    • Schools
    • State and National Associations (NAEYC)
    • Governmental agencies
    • Advocacy groups
    • 2 and 4 year Higher Education Institutions
    Tom Kind, reviewing online lectures on laptop

    Graduates of the program will impact the policy context in early childhood education through application of ten learning outcomes.  Application culminates in an in-depth study of a policy issue through an action research project explored during the practicum.  

    Practicum sites will include those serving diverse populations in both urban and rural settings and led by individuals representing the populations we wish to serve (e.g., tribal communities, ethnically, linguistically, and racially diverse, economically challenged).

    By the end of this program, students completing the degree will:

    1. Discuss the influence of social, political, historical, and economic conditions on early childhood educational practice and policy.
    2. Work as a change agent and advocate for children, families, and early childhood education professionals by leading and supporting policy efforts to move towards a targeted improvement or goal.
    3. Explore, analyze, and synthesize an understanding of the context of early childhood education in relation to identity politics and access to education for all children, families, and community members.
    4. Demonstrate an ability and commitment to engage in professional, collaborative relationships with children, families, administrators, policy leaders, legislators, and community members.
    5. Demonstrate an understanding of, and commitment to, the legal and ethical norms of early childhood education.
    6. Present evidence and communicate effectively in written, visual, oral, and online formats to achieve desired outcomes in the field of early childhood education and policy.
    7. Articulate a personal philosophy of early childhood education as it relates to policy systems and practice.
    8. Demonstrate the ability to design investigations that yield useful information related to early childhood education and policy.
    9. Identify a salient issue/problem, analyze current research, and apply it to practice in early childhood education and policy.
    10. Create and implement relevant plans for early childhood curriculum and pedagogy.
    Nicole Pierre, in front of a computer

    The Online MSE in Early Childhood Education Policy graduate program at UW-Whitewater is a superior value at $569 USD per credit for the 2023-24 academic year, whether you are a Wisconsin resident, an out-of-state student, or an international student.

    What creates this value?

    • Mentoring and advising from faculty in the College of Education and Professional Studies.
    • Nationally recognized faculty members.
    • Faculty complete specific training for online teaching.
    • High levels of student/faculty interaction are standard.
    • Helpdesk technical staff are dedicated to assisting master's students with online technology.
    • Veteran services.
    • Career services.
    • Study abroad.

    Course materials
    Graduate students can purchase textbooks and other instructional materials through the University Bookstore or elsewhere online. Students should verify what materials are needed with their instructor.

    Financial aid
    UW-Whitewater students may apply for financial aid in the form of grants, loans, scholarships, or employment. All of these make up a “Financial Aid Package” and may be offered singly or in various combinations. Since funds are limited, priority for aid is based on financial need and how promptly applications are filed. For more information, please reach out directly to the Financial Aid department.