Young child and teacher in the Campus Children's School

Over the last decade, the demand for Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) teachers has increased by more than 100%. The number of graduates in ECSE preparation programs is much too low to satisfy this need, while the need is projected to continue into the future. Now is the perfect time to follow your passion for teaching children with special needs.

Is UVM's Special Education Graduate Program right for you?

Our nationally accredited ECSE Graduate Program is designed to meet the needs of both new professionals who are considering a career with young children with disabilities and their families, as well as in-place Early Childhood professionals who are seeking an advanced degree.

Successful candidates complete their program with a M.Ed. in Early Childhood Special Education, professional teaching licensure in the state of Vermont, and an endorsement in ECSE birth to age six.

Core Competencies

Through your work in our program, you will learn to:

  • Promote children’s learning and development within natural environments and/or inclusive settings;
  • Recognize and respect the diversity of family structures, preferences, and participation levels;
  • Offer instructional practices that are guided by and sensitive to the family and child, supported by meaningful assessment information, and linked to developmentally and/or individually appropriate curricula;
  • Foster collaborative relationships with family members, peers of the same discipline, and individuals across disciplines.
  • Access evidence-based practices and apply them to practice to support the optimal development of young children and their families.

Community-Based Learning

UVM prides itself on providing Early Childhood Special Education candidates with authentic community-based learning.

Families of children with disabilities and local professionals have a strong presence in our classes and our students are welcomed into their field experiences by professionals dedicated to sharing their expertise with UVM scholars. Field-based experiences are designed to enable candidates to put theory into practice within supportive, high-quality environments that value both diversity and inclusion.

Evidence-Based Practice

Scholars leave our program with the skills needed to access research-based evidence and to judge its value in order to serve children and families with diverse needs.

As a student, you will have the opportunity to engage in research projects with faculty on a range of topics, such as the inclusion of young children with disabilities in the least restrictive environment and special education services for children who are English language learners.

Cultural, Linguistic and Economic Diversity

You will participate in field experiences and projects designed to increase cultural competence. Our faculty are intentional about ensuring field experience in schools that serve Burlington’s diverse community. You will get hands-on experience serving families and children who are: experiencing disability, English language learners, refugees, and/or living with poverty. Given the diverse community characteristics of Burlington, UVM is in the ideal setting for preparing teachers who are committed to inclusion and social justice.

Your Schedule and Part-Time Study

We know that making a career change is a big step. To accommodating working professionals, our courses are generally offered in the evenings during the school year, allowing students to complete the program with greater ease.

Young child and teacher working with clay


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How to Apply

Fall Deadline: February 15
Spring Deadline: November 1

Candidates must have:

  • a bachelor’s degree in a related field that includes at least 30 hours of course work in a specific content area
  • a GPA of at least a 3.0 in this course work.

Preference is given to candidates with two years of teaching and/or related experience in special education.

Candidates must also provide one (1) of the following:

Attending Graduate College at UVM

For more information about attending Graduate College at UVM, including funding opportunities and academic policies, please see the Graduate College website.