Early Childhood Education MA

The Early Childhood Education MA provides educators with advanced knowledge and training in research, theory, and practice for working with children and families in multicultural and multilingual early childhood settings.  The program attracts both local and international early childhood educators committed to social and educational change in the field. Special emphasis is placed on teacher inquiry, documentation, and reflection as a foundation for transformative early childhood education.  Veteran faculty members provide engaging courses, frequent mentoring, and research opportunities.  Late afternoon and evening courses with a mix of in-person and online class sessions.  Courses taken for this program can qualify for Teacher and Administrator levels of the California Child Development Matrix.  Special education certificate also available.

MA ECE alumni career paths include family childcare ownership, classroom teaching, program supervision and coordination, AA/BA/MA instruction, child and family service agencies, advocacy work, and varied international opportunities.

Foundation Courses - Required (12 units total)

  • EED 707 - Early Development and Learning in Diverse and Inclusive Settings
  • EED 708 - Language and Literacy in the Early Years
  • EED 709 - Instructional Leadership and Program Curriculum Evaluation in Early Childhood Education
  • EED 878 - Critical Perspectives and Reconceptualizing Early Childhood Education

*note: E ED 782 Teaching Reading-Language Arts, K-3 (3 units) can be substituted for E ED 708

ECE Education Research Courses - Required (9 units total)

  • EED 717 - Narrative Inquiry and Memoir in Early Childhood Education
  • EED 801 - Practitioner Inquiry for Administration of Early Childhood Curricula
  • EED 895 - Field Study OR EED 898 Master's Thesis

Electives (9 units total)

  • EED 700 - Early Childhood Socialization in a Culturally Diverse Community
  • EED 704 - Play and the Artistic Lives of Children
  • EED 707 - Early Development and Learning in Diverse and Inclusive Settings
  • EED 709 - Instructional Leadership and Program Curriculum Evaluation in ECE
  • EED 715 – Families and Communities in Early Childhood Settings and Communities
  • EED 721 - International Education in Early Childhood and Elementary Education
    [EED 721 is a designated writing intensive course; see Written English Proficiency Requirement below for details.]
  • EED 806 - Organizational Development, Management, and Adult Supervision
  • EED 820 - Theory and Methods in Infant and Toddler Education
  • EED 850 - Mathematics and Science Inquiry for Children
  • EED 899 - Independent Study

Other GCOE and university courses under advisement: (limit of 2 courses total)

  • EED 600 level courses (limit of 2 courses total) (with permission of advisor)
  • A course in a department outside the Graduate College of Education: (3 units) (with permission of advisor)
  • Coursework from recent SF State Multiple Subject Credential: (up to 12 units) (with permission of advisor)

Note: Twelve units from the SF State Multiple Subject Teaching Credential program may be counted toward elective units within this degree. Only certain courses from the credential may be applied; consult with your advisor for details. Upon advisement, six units earned at another institution may be counted toward the degree. Courses can be counted from a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, upper division undergraduate courses, or graduate level coursework, only if these units were not used toward another degree. In keeping with University requirements, courses can count toward the degree on the Advancement to Candidacy form only within a seven-year window.

"If I had not had the best M.A. ECE professors and all their support, I wouldn't have the courage to finish the program on time let alone gain trust in myself to learn and grow from my mistakes.  The program gave me a better insight into becoming an expert on observation, inquiry, and documentation. I now share my inquiry work with colleagues experience so that they too can get into the habit of observing and documenting."

Dawn Douangsawang, Preschool Teacher


"The M.A. in ECE reawakened my passion for teaching! Being challenged by fantastic faculty to think more deeply about my practice and reflecting with other teachers about what we were learning brought a new commitment to being the best I could be for children and families."

Laura Miles-Banta, Teacher – TK Program and Instructor – SF State ECE


"SFSU’s M.A. in ECE program helped deepen my understanding of ECE and inform my leadership practice.  As a P-12 district manager I am prepared to make informed decisions on program design and practices that set  that support school readiness and a smooth transition from early learning programs to elementary school."

María Sujo, M.A., Kindergarten Readiness Program Manager, Community Schools & Student Services, Oakland Unified School District


"I decided to pursue my Masters in ECE at SFSU, and it’s been a perfect fit for reaching my professional goals.  I was drawn to such courses as Narrative Inquiry & Memoir in ECE and ECE Curriculum in Pluralistic Society, which have contributed to my success in the ECE field. I have also gained greater knowledge about  teacher research and inquiry, and I know that I am well prepared to be successful in my current role as an ECE coach or any other capacity my professional journey may take me."

Jennifer Ventura, ECE coach, WestEd


"When I began my studies in the ECE M.A. program, I had twenty years experience in both center and home-based childcare classrooms. It was not until I entered the masters program that I really began to understand the spark of critical inquiry, the necessity of cultural responsiveness and the value of teacher research. My three years in the ECE masters program were by far the most inspiring, challenging and rewarding of my entire career."

Pat Sullivan, MA, Ed.D., Family Childcare Owner and Director


"The M.A. ECE program provided me with the knowledge and competence to link theoretical foundations to my practice as a bilingual early childhood educator.  The program awoke in me a strong interest in teacher inquiry as a form of advocacy to question the status quo and do something about it through pedagogical reflection, documentation and collaboration with children, families, and other practitioners.  The program’s intellectual and creative experiences also expanded my work internationally. Gracias!"

Isauro M. Escamilla, bilingual preschool teacher, SFSU EDDL doctoral student, and member of the NAEYC Governing Board

Application Deadline

  • Applications for Fall Admissions, May 1
    (if the due date is on a holiday or weekend, the form is due on the following business day)
  • Applications for Spring Admissions, December 1
    (if the due date is on a holiday or weekend, the form is due on the following business day)

How to Apply

Cal State Apply ( https://www2.calstate.edu/apply ).

NOTE: The Office of Graduate Admissions no longer accepts paper applications.

Program Requirements

  • Elementary teaching credential or the completion of a minimum in 12 units in professional course work relevant to early childhood education
  • Successful professional experience working with young children
  • Possession B.A. with 3.0 minimum GPA for the last 60 units
  • Education: Concentration in Early Childhood Education (M.A.) — minimum 30 units
  • Courses are 3 units unless otherwise indicated.

Application Requirements

  • Statement of purpose:

    • A clear and well-organized statement of purpose that states the following:
    • Your professional competencies & goals, and your goals for graduate school and the future: describe what you have done previously in early childhood education and what you were doing now and what you hope to do once you get our degree. 
    • Your level of competency in languages other than English, if you are bilingual and/or bi-literate
  • Two letters of recommendation that include the following topics:
    • Your academic ability to pursue graduate work (from a professor or instructor)
    • Your professional experiences teaching young children or adults (from an administrator or other professional educators)
    • For the letters of recommendation please address the letters on letterhead to the Early Childhood Coordinators: Dr. Mina Kim and Dr. Daniel Meier
  • Transcript(s) from every college or university attended
  • Current and complete resume or CV

Confirm Admission Status

After submitting your applications you can confirm your admission status on your SF State Gateway account.


If you have questions about the admissions process please contact Dr. Mina Kim (minakim@sfsu.edu) and Dr. Daniel Meier (dmeier@sfsu.edu), co-coordinators of Early Childhood Programs, Elementary Education Department.