Early Childhood Education MA Initial


In the Early Childhood Education M.A. Program at Teachers College, Columbia University, students are prepared to skillfully address critical issues in early education through pedagogical, political, psychological, and sociological perspectives.

Our program offers both a full-time and part-time option. However, please note (in accordance with NYS guidelines), all students will be required to engage in one semester of full-time student teaching. Designed as a cohort model, anticipated duration for full-time students range from 1 ½ years (3 semesters + 2 summers) or 2 years (without summers). 

Prioritizing theory in practice, our program at TC requires that students participate in several field experiences, which serve as the foundation from which to theorize about development, learning, and curriculum. By bringing together coursework and fieldwork, graduates are well-prepared to begin and continue to develop their professional identity and practice in research-informed ways. Many of our graduates have gone on to become early childhood practitioners, administrators, community organizers, school founders/leaders, authors, researchers, and professors.  

Through a curriculum that integrates early childhood education, early childhood special education, and bilingual education content, the Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Education/Teaching Students with Disabilities- Dual Certification programs at TC prepare initial certification students to become outstanding early childhood teachers, early interventionists, early childhood special education professionals, decision makers, and leaders. Honoring the contextualized and situated nature of teaching and learning, the Master of Arts program emphasizes collaboration with families and other professionals and considers policies affecting young children with and without disability labels and their families.

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Admissions Information

Displaying requirements for the Spring 2024, Summer 2024, and Fall 2024 terms.

Master of Arts

  • Points/Credits: 36
  • Entry Terms: Summer, Fall


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  • NY State Initial: Birth-2

Application Deadlines

Entry Term AvailablePriority DeadlinesFinal DeadlinesExtended Deadlines
SummerJanuary 15, 2024April 1, 2024May 1, 2024
FallJanuary 15, 2024April 1, 2024May 1, 2024

Program has reached enrollment capacity and is no longer accepting applications for the following 2024 term(s): Fall, Summer.

Select programs remain open beyond our standard application deadlines, such as those with an extended deadline or those that are rolling (open until June or July). If your program is rolling or has an extended deadline indicated above, applications are reviewed as they are received and on a space-available basis. We recommend you complete your application as soon as possible as these programs can close earlier if full capacity has been met.

Application Requirements

 Online Degree Application, including Statement of Purpose and Resume
 Transcripts and/or Course-by-Course Evaluations for all Undergraduate/Graduate Coursework Completed
 Results from an accepted English Proficiency Exam (if applicable)
 $75 Application Fee
 Two (2) Letters of Recommendation
 Preference that one (1) letter of recommendation be academic

Requirements from the TC Catalog (AY 2023-2024)

Displaying catalog information for the Fall 2023, Spring 2024 and Summer 2024 terms.

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Course requirements for M.A. degree students seeking initial teacher certification as early childhood teachers (birth–Grade 2): 


C&T 4308      Introduction to diverse early childhood classrooms (3)

C&T 4708      Student teaching in early childhood setting (4)

C&T 5118      Infant and toddler development and practice (3)

Foundations and Methods Courses

C&T 4003      Differentiation and inclusion in early childhood classrooms (3)

C&T 4080      Child development and intersectional identities (3)

C&T 4083        Home/school/community partnerships (3)

C&T 4112       Integrated curriculum in early childhood education: curricular inquiry and design (3)

C&T 4114     Integrated curriculum in early childhood education: diversity, equity, and  technologies (3)

C&T 4131        Play, language, and early childhood curriculum (3)

C&T 4132     Language and teaching in the primary reading/writing classroom (3) or selected alternative

A&HM 4022 The artistic Lives of young children (2) or selected alternative

Out of Department  Elective (3)    

Breadth Requirement 

TC master’s degree programs require that students take course work outside of their major programs. This is also known as the Foundations Requirement. All M.A., M.S., and Ed.M. students must complete a minimum of 6 points out of their Academic Program at TC.  The advisor and student will determine how the points can be reached.  

Culminating Project:

Students complete an integrative portfolio over the course of the degree program reflecting their growth as an early childhood teacher.

New York State Education Department (NYSED) mandates teacher certification requirements that are needed for program completion and graduation which are listed in the Office of Teacher section of the catalog.

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