M.Ed. Early Childhood

credits 33 | cost/credit $340 | completion 2 years (5 to 6 semesters) | next start Jan. 10

Best Online Masters in Early Childhood EducationEarn your M.Ed. in Early Childhood online. You're building bright futures for the youngest students.  You have classroom experience with water tables, DIBELS, math manipulatives and hamsters. Now you're ready for more. With Northwestern College's online Masters in Early Childhood Education (preK-3rd grade), build on what you already know to become an even better teacher. Prepare for career opportunities as an early childhood administrator, specialist or consultant. 
(Ranked #4 Best Online Master's in Early Childhood Education by CollegeChoice.net and theBestColleges.org)

It's more than a lane change. And it's all online. 

100% online. 8-week courses. Go at your pace.

Earning a graduate degree doesn't have to cost you time away from your other responsibilities. Northwestern College's online Masters in Early Childhood Education allows you to log into class each week and complete your coursework, whenever it's most convenient for you.

Take one online 8-week class at a time, completing two classes each semester, and you'll finish your M.Ed. in 2 years or less and be eligible for financial aid. 


The TEACH Grant may be available to help pay for your master's if you teach or plan to become a teacher in a high-need field in a low-income area. For more information visit the TEACH Grant website.

Program Requirements


Core (18 credits):
EDU 555 - Trends and Issues in 21st Century Education
(3 credits) Teachers and schools must continually examine current practices in PreK-12 education in search of better solutions to increase student achievement and to thoroughly prepare children for the world in which they will live and work. In this course students will study current social, political and academic trends and issues affecting children, teachers and schools. Students will define their personal positions based on facts and experience, and will collaborate with others to advocate for solutions that improve education for PreK-12 grade students. Prerequisite: completed bachelor's degree in education.
EDU 560 - Curriculum and Assessment for Student Learning
3 credits) Through a process of discussion, reflection, reading, discovery and practice, this course will lead students to a more comprehensive understanding of how curriculum and assessment are interrelated. Students will delve into timely issues associated with curriculum and assessment affecting schools. Upon completion, students will be prepared to develop aligned curriculum and assessment that takes into consideration local, state and national standards, best practices and students' diverse needs. Prerequisite: completed bachelor's degree in education.
EDU 570 - Teaching and Learning with Technology
(3 credits) Technology integration in the K-12 setting can enhance learning, improve motivation and engagement, increase accessibility, individualize instruction, differentiate assessment and improve communication with parents and stakeholders. In this course students will broaden their understanding of the technology available to them in the PreK-12 classroom and improve their ability to leverage specific technology to improve teaching and learning. Prerequisite: completed bachelor's degree in education.
EDU 610 - Educational Research Methods and Design
(3 credits) This course will provide an overview of research methodology employed for studies in the field of education. Topics include basic research methodology, interpretation of findings, and application of research in educational settings. Students will develop their ability to critically evaluate educational research and to judiciously apply findings in their professional settings. By the conclusion of the course students will be able to identify a potential topic for future research and outline the basic methodology needed to conduct the study. Prerequisite: completed bachelor's degree in education.
EDU 635 - Master’s in Education Capstone
(3 credits) In this course students will apply the cumulative knowledge and skills learned in their master's program through an action research project. Research focus may be related to student learning, teacher effectiveness, school quality, school policy or other area by approval. The project will be proposed, approved, designed, and implemented prior to the student's graduation with a master's degree in education from Northwestern College. Students who do not have a finished capstone approved by the M.Ed. Director at the conclusion of EDU635 will repeat the course for credit. Prerequisite: completed bachelor's degree in education. Note: Graded on a pass/no pass basis.
Choose one
EDU 540 - Teaching Young Children with Diverse Needs (3 credits)
(3 credits) Students will learn to design curriculum, instruction and assessment specific to the needs of diverse children ages 0 through 8. Create safe and nurturing classroom environments that are developmentally appropriate and respect diversity. Collaborate with stakeholders to meet the needs of young children. Prerequisite: completed bachelor's degree in education.
EDU 565 - Instructional Strategies for Diverse Students and Settings (3 credits)
(3 credits) This course is intended for experienced teachers, and will focus on building off of prior knowledge and experience to improve student learning. Research-based instructional strategies will be studied, with particular emphasis on adapting and employing strategies to fit students' cognitive abilities, motivation, interest, cultural background and other unique characteristics in diverse settings. Students in this class will apply new instructional strategies in their practice to positively impact learning in the PreK-12 classroom. Prerequisite: completed bachelor's degree in education.

Requirements: Early Childhood Area of Emphasis (15 credits)

EDU 505 - Collaboration & Advocacy in the Early Childhood Community
(3 credits) Examine characteristics of the diverse cultures and structures prevalent in American families, and how those factors influence children's growth and development. This course emphasizes strategies to improve collaboration with families, schools and community partners to improve students' success outcomes. Prerequisite: completed bachelor's degree in education.
EDU 525 - Advanced Child Development
(3 credits) Intensive study of typical and atypical development of children from birth through age eight. This course will immerse you in research that will improve your ability to facilitate the cognitive, emotional, physical and social development of young children with diverse abilities and needs. Prerequisite: completed bachelor's degree in education.
EDU 530 - Leadership of Early Childhood Programs
(3 credits) Thorough examination of roles, responsibilities and characteristics of effective leaders of early childhood programs with a focus on personal growth in leadership and communication. Emphasis on identifying areas of strength and need in programs and staffing to create opportunities for improvement. Prerequisite: completed bachelor's degree in education.
EDU 535 - Strategies for Early Literacy Development
(3 credits) Examine widely accepted theories of language, reading and writing development in young children. Use research and assessment data to identify curricula and instructional strategies most suited to the diverse needs of young children. Examine research and develop strategies to leverage play in providing successful literacy instructional experiences. Prerequisite: completed bachelor's degree in education.
EDU 575 - Science and Math in Early Childhood: A STEM Approach
3 credits) Integrate science and math instruction throughout the early grades curriculum, with a focus on activating children's innate curiosity, modeling habits of the mind, and fostering students' belief in their ability to learn. Focus on curriculum, instruction and assessment that are developmentally appropriate for young children. Prerequisite: completed bachelor's degree in education.

Total Credits: 33 credit hours

Early Childhood M.Ed. + Endorsement

credits  40 | completion  just over 2 years (6 to 7 semesters)

Add an extra semester of courses and student teaching to earn your Birth Through Grade Three Inclusive Setting Endorsement (Formally Endorsement 100: Early Childhood Integrated Setting) while earning your M.Ed. Here's how.  

Brittany Bush

Better teaching, bigger impact

As a special education teacher, Brittany Busch wants her students to have the best. For her, that includes being the best. It’s why she’s earning her M.Ed. at Northwestern so she can expand her teaching toolbox with the most current knowledge in special education teaching and advocacy.

Brittany's story

Passion for Education

Rebecca is a K-12 literacy coach who loves the challenge of instructional coaching and learning new literacy strategies that support her students and other teachers. Through her M.Ed. program, she has gained not only educational resources, but a deepened passion for education.

Rebecca's story

Prepared for Leadership

Through his Master of Education program, Tyler became a leader in his district. In his roles as teacher and instructional coach, he’s using the skills and knowledge that he’s gained to help his entire district grow and improve.

Tyler's story

With an online M.Ed. + endorsement program, Brandie was able to earn the credential she needed along with a master’s degree. What she didn’t realize was just how impactful the program would be on her teaching and life.

Brandie's story