Student teacher reading with kids

Over the last decade, the demand for Early Childhood Special Education (birth - age 6) teachers and early interventionists increased by more than 100%. The number of graduates from ECSE preparation programs does not yet satisfy this need, which is projected to continue into the foreseeable future.

Now is the perfect time to follow your passion for serving children with special needs.

What Our Graduates Say

"As a student in the Early Childhood Special Education master’s degree program, I had the opportunity to work with both university and community professionals in holistic learning environments. My mentors challenged me to pursue my research interests, and now support me in my goals to become both a leader in the field of education and as an advocate for children and families."  Winnie Looby


Teachers InspireWe offer licensure (cross-categorical) and non-licensure pathways leading to a Master's of Education (M.Ed.) degree in Special Education. Our faculty will work closely with you to design an individualized program plan aligned with your professional interests and career goals.

Our nationally-accredited 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.

Licensure or Endorsement Pathway

Successful candidates complete their program with a Master's Degree (M.Ed.) in Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE), leading to professional teaching licensure or added endorsement (birth through age six). If you are interested in our K through age 21 program, please visit our Special Education (M.Ed.) website.

Non-Licensure Pathway

If you are not seeking an initial license or added endorsement, you can pursue an individually-designed program leading toward a master's degree in special education suited to your career goals and personal interests.

New Tuition Support Opportunity

Recently UVM's Early Childhood Special Education and Early Intervention master's degree program received a $1.25 million grant from the United States Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs. This grant will cover the full tuition for scholars (36 credits over two years at the in-state tuition rate) in exchange for agreeing to work in the field of special education after graduation. Learn more about our new Interprofessional Education Project opportunity for UVM students.

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. Student teaching internships with our community partners provide the opportunity to work with young children and families, fully supported by dedicated faculty and mentor teachers.

Cultural, Linguistic and Economic Diversity

Our faculty are intentional about ensuring field experience in schools that serve Burlington’s diverse community. You will get hands-on experience working with families and children who are experiencing disability, English language learners, refugees, and people 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.

Evidence-Based Practice

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

Our professors have extensive experience in special education, both in practice and in research. Faculty research contributes to the identification and use of evidence-based practices in special education and informs our curriculum and teaching methods. There are also opportunities for students to get involved with exciting research projects.

Accommodating Your Schedule

To accommodate working professionals, our courses are offered in the evenings.

National Accreditation

UVM's Special Education graduate program is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP, formerly known as NCATE).

Degree Requirements

To learn more about specific degree requirements for our M.Ed. program, please visit the UVM catalog.

Contact Us


Apply Now

How to Apply

  • Fall Semester Application Deadline: March 15
  • Spring Semester Application 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.

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.