Student teacher reading with kids

Now is the perfect time to follow your passion for serving children with developmental delays and their families.

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.

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 InspireOur nationally-accredited graduate program is designed to meet the needs of both new and in-place early childhood professionals seeking an advanced degree. We 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.

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.

Tuition Scholarship Opportunities

Recently our master's degree program received a $1.25 million grant from the United States Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). This grant covers 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 (IPE) opportunity for UVM students.

For those not receiving tuition support through the OSEP grant, we have other graduate tuition scholarships available to qualified applicants.

Community-Based Learning in Inclusive Settings

Field-based experiences enable our students to put theory into practice within supportive, high-quality environments that value inclusion. Student teaching internships with our community partners provide the opportunities to work with young children and families who are experiencing disability, fully supported by dedicated faculty and local professionals who serve as mentor teachers. 

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. We also have 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.