Teacher reading book to class

Program Coordinator:
Professor Mary Ellen McGuire-Schwartz

The M.Ed. in early childhood education has as its mission to promote children's optimal development and learning. With focus on children from birth to age eight, students in this program learn how children grow and develop and use that knowledge to create learning environments and experiences that benefit children for life. Students explore curriculum development, infant-toddler development, program administration, early literacy and early intervention. Upon completion of this program, they have not only gained a deeper understanding of learning as a developmental process, they are prepared for leadership positions in the field of early childhood education.


Early Childhood Education (ECE) Graduate Program

Register on-line at www.ric.edu. For further information, please contact Dr. McGuire-Schwartz at Mmcguire@ric.edu.

Program Details

Admission Requirements

Admission to the Feinstein School of Education and Human Development master's-level programs is determined by the quality of the total application. Applicants must submit the materials listed below to the associate dean of graduate studies as a measure of their potential for success in graduate-level studies. The teaching certification requirement may be waived under special circumstances and with special considerations.

  1. A completed application form accompanied by a fifty-dollar nonrefundable application fee.
  2. Official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate records.
  3. A minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 on a 4.00 scale in all undergraduate course work. Applicants with undergraduate GPAs less than 3.00 may be admitted to degree candidacy upon submission of other evidence of academic potential.
  4. A teaching certificate (for all school-related programs, except school psychology).
  5. An official report of scores on the Graduate Record Examination or the Miller Analogies Test, except C.G.S. candidates and C.A.G.S. in mental health counseling candidates.
  6. Three Candidate Reference Forms accompanied by three Letters of Recommendation.
  7. A Professional Goals Essay.
  8. A Performance-Based Evaluation.
  9. Teacher certification in elementary education, early childhood education, or an appropriate field. (The teaching certification requirement may be waived under special circumstances and with special considerations.)
  10. An interview may be required.

Course Information

Click below for information on course requirements and course descriptions.

Course Requirements

Course Descriptions

Requirements for Early Childhood Education Certification

The following courses are approved early childhood courses in the M.Ed. program:

  • ECED 505 (fulfills the area of Child Growth and Development)
  • ECED 502 (fulfills the area of Curriculum and Methods in Early Childhood Education)
  • ECED 509 (fulfills the area of Reading Readiness and Developmental Reading)
  • ECED 503 (fulfills the area of Health and Nutrition for the Young Child)
  • ECED 512 (fulfills the area of Child, Family, and Community Relationships)

Applicants who have not completed an approved program can be certified by transcript analysis by presenting evidence of six semester hours of student teaching (see Note below) in the early childhood grades and not less than twenty-four semester hours of coursework to include work in each of the following areas: Child Growth and Development, Curriculum and Methods in Early Childhood Education, Reading Readiness and Developmental Reading, Health and Nutrition for the Young Child; Child, Family, and Community Relationships; and Identification of and Service to Special Needs Children.

Note: The student teaching requirement may be waived for an applicant who has had two or more documented years of successful teaching experience in an approved early childhood setting. Certified teachers who have had two or more years of teaching experience and who seek early childhood certification may fulfill the student teaching requirement by completing a one-year supervised internship at the early childhood level. After completing the necessary coursework for the early childhood certificate and arranging through the local community for a one-year internship, the superintendent of schools may request the issuance of a one-year professional certificate. The Rhode Island Department of Education must approve the internship in advance and the supervisor must have at least three years of teaching experience. Upon successful completion of the internship, the individual will be issued a five-year professional certificate.

Credential Review Pathway

The Credential Review Pathway is one of the pathways for individuals seeking to:

  • Re-issue their Expert Residency Preliminary Certificate
  • Add another certification or
  • Renew a certificate that is more than five years expired.

If you can document the following prerequisites, you are qualified for the RIC Credential Review Pathway:

RIC CRP allows prospective and current educators with a bachelor's degree, academic excellence (minimum GPA of 3.0) and “extensive teaching experience” in the desired certification area to achieve certification by working with Rhode Island College's Feinstein School of Education and Human Development. “Extensive teaching experience” is a full semester of supervised student teaching in the desired certification area (if you are a recent graduate) or 270+ days of full-time desired professional teaching or 270+ days of full-time daily or long-term substitute teaching in the desired certification area. Work experience as a teacher assistant does not count. You need to be fully in charge of the class.

To determine whether RIC CRP is the best pathway for you to achieve the desired certification, click on this hyperlink to a Google Form (Survey) called RIC CRP Potential Application Overview​.

We will email our recommendation of the best pathway shortly after receiving your survey response – within a week. If you are recommended for RIC CRP as a pathway to certification, we will send you a URL to the online application (different from the RIC CRP Potential Application Overview). The process of assessing the completed online application with documentation can take up to 14 weeks after we receive the online application and $150 application fee.

RIC CRP receives online applications with documentation throughout the year. The process of assessing the application with documentation can take up to 14 weeks after the date the application is fully completed and the $150 fee has been received.

Faculty RIC CRP assessors are not expected to assess applications during the summer (May 15 through late August). Applications submitted between April 15 through June 3 will not be assessed until Sept. 8. If you are applying for the re-issuance of an expert residency preliminary certificate (emergency certificate) and are required by RIDE to submit a CRP Status Form and Plan of Study as evidence of enrollment, we advise that you submit your CRP application materials and $150 fee no later than Feb. 6 to prepare for the Aug. 31 deadline. The Status Form and Plan of Study should be assessed by May 15.

For more information, email Associate Professor Christine Kunkel at ckunkel@ric.edu.​​​​​