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Early Childhood Education: Birth-Grade 2

Master of Science
  • 33-42 Credits
  • School of Education
  • Bronx
  • Manhattan
  • Online
  • Westchester


Teach infants, toddlers and young children about the world. Influence a young child’s growth, development and learning with our M.S. in Early Childhood Education: Birth-Grade 2.

Early childhood is a critical period in human development. Influencing a young child's growth, development and learning during this stage has lifelong implications. Early childhood professionals can find their work deeply fulfilling as they witness children say their first words, paint their first pictures or learn to write their names.

At Mercy University, the 33-credit Master of Science in Early Childhood Education, Birth - Grade 2, prepares teacher candidates and early childhood professionals for New York State certification. Coursework, field experiences and clinical practice, such as student teaching, help candidates for a career in early childhood education.

Early Childhood Education candidates can pursue multiple certificates:

  • Early Childhood, Birth to Grade 2 (33 credits)
  • Early Childhood, Birth to Grade 2 and Childhood Education, Grades 1 - 6, Dual Certification (36 credits)
  • Early Childhood, Birth to Grade 2, childhood Education, Grades 1 - 6, with Students with Disabilities, Triple Certification (42 credits)

Dual or Triple certifications require additional courses and field experiences. In order to gain initial certification, candidates must complete the required coursework and practicums and pass state examinations. Professional certification (permanent) requires and initial certificate and three years of teaching experience.

Kindergarten teacher helping students.

Career Opportunities

Graduates of the Early Childhood Education, Birth-Grade 2 program may pursue teaching positions in pre-schools and in Kindergarten-Grade 2, or work in childcare and daycare settings.


10% Growth

Career Outcomes

Job growth expected to rise 10% through 2026*

Dual Certificate

Available to combine with Childhood Education

Tri-Cert Available to Combine with Childhood and Teaching Students with disabilities

33 Credits

Total Credits to Earn Your Degree

Classes in language development, literacy & Critical Issues in Education
Teacher & student working with technology in the classroom.

The Mercy Advantage

•  Triple Certification available with: 
    Early Childhood, Birth to Grade 2 &
    Childhood Education, Grades 1–6
    with Students with Disabilities

•  At least 100 hours of fieldwork

•  Semester long clinical experience 

•  Fully online courses available

Admissions Requirements

  • Bachelor's degree
  • Official transcripts
  • Résumé
  • Effective Educator Statement

Students must submit an Effective Educator Statement to complete their application. You can download requirements here. Please submit the completed statement to your application portal

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Frequently Asked Questions

There are two types of classroom experiences required in our programs, per state requirements: 1. In each class, there is a 10-15 hour fieldwork observation experience. This experience will vary by class and is integrated into the class assignments. For example, in the math methods course, teacher candidates would observe math lessons. The experiences in diverse classroom settings better prepares teacher candidates for the clinical experience. 2. The Clinical Experience (student teaching) – EDUC 709 or EDUC 713 is a semester-long capstone course.

The following exams are required: EAS and CST(s) in your certification area(s), and the edTPA during student teaching, which is the last semester. Other state requirements include fingerprinting and workshops (DASA, Child Abuse Prevention, Violence Prevention).

Successful completion of all required coursework in the selected master’s program including the appropriate clinical practice experience, a 3.0 cumulative GPA, and successful completion of a capstone requirement. See the specific program for the capstone requirement.

Student teaching, either EDUC 709 or 713, is the last course in the program. The semester before you are expecting to start student teaching, students must apply for student teaching. For questions, contact one of our certification officers: Helen Gerken ( for New York City or Ivan Toper ( for areas outside of New York City.

Yes, in the following programs: Childhood Education, Grades 1-6; Early Childhood Education, Birth-Grade 2; and most content areas in Secondary Education, 7-12. 

Applications are accepted for Fall, Spring, or Summer admission. The requirements for admission and matriculation into the Early Childhood or Childhood Program include: 1) A completed application for admission 2) Official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate degrees 3) Effective Teaching Statement 4) A résumé 5) Pre-Requisites: B.S. Degree in a liberal arts and sciences content area with a 3.0 GPA.

Mercy University often receives job postings for Early Childhood and Childhood teaching positions, which are posted by the Office of Career and Professional Development (

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Program Outcomes


Demonstrate a solid content knowledge base that enables them to deliver effective educational and professional services based on


Employ multiple pedagogical and professional strategies and tools to enable them to be effective practitioners in educational settings and deliver services that promote students’ intellectual, social, and emotional development

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Understand the diverse cultural, linguistic, learning, and social strengths and needs of all populations, and incorporate and demonstrate sensitivity to the richness of diverse cultures when providing educational and other school services


Employ technology to deliver information, instruction, and professional services to all members of the school community


Reflect on professional practice to make educational decisions and enhance student learning


Demonstrate positive dispositions that enable them to work as effective educators, citizens, and practitioners within the school and broader community

Program Details & Curriculum

Please refer to the general requirements for admission and matriculation in the Graduate Admissions section of the course catalog. Please review the prerequisite preparation for each program and consult with the program chair or associate dean.

The requirements for admission and matriculation into the Early Childhood or Childhood Program include:

  1. A completed application for admission
  2. Official transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate degrees
  3. Effective Teaching Statement
  4. A résumé
  5. Pre-Requisites: B.S. Degree with a 3.0 GPA
  6. Other admissions requirements: college transcript with evidence of the following credits:
    1. Mathematical processes (6 credits)
    2. Scientific processes (6 credits)
    3. Historical and social sciences (6 credits)
    4. Language other than English (3 credits)
    5. Information retrieval (3 credits)
    6. Communications/Humanities/Written analysis and expression (3 credits)
    7. Artistic expression (3 credits)
    8. Liberal arts and sciences subject area (30 credits)
  7. Submission of scores on the Verbal Reasoning, Mathematical Reasoning, and Analytic Writing subtests of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the PRAXIS Core Exams in Reading, Writing, and Mathematics.*

*Please note that all students must take the GRE or the Praxis Academic Core Skills Test unless applying for the non-certification (Educational Studies) option.

Candidates who meet all prerequisites and admission requirements will be accepted and classified as matriculants.

Candidates without a sufficient undergraduate background in the liberal arts and sciences will be required to take recommended prerequisite courses in accordance with New York State certification requirements. Sufficient college-level background includes: English, mathematics, science, social studies, information retrieval, artistic expression, a language other than English, and a 30-credit concentration in a liberal arts and science academic subject. Candidates will be able to take the necessary prerequisite courses at Mercy University.

Undergraduate prerequisites for students seeking the initial certificate in Childhood, Early Childhood, the Dual Certifications programs or the Tri-Certification program are:

  • Mathematical Processes - 6 credits
  • Scientific Processes - 6 credits
  • Historical and Social Sciences - 6 credits
  • Language other than English - 3 credits*
  • Information Retrieval - 3 credits
  • Communications/Humanities/Written Analysis and Expression - 3 credits
  • Artistic Expression - 3 credits

A course in Child Development or Developmental Psychology is required.

Since the ability to communicate effectively in English with pupils in the classroom is considered paramount, all candidates seeking teacher certification are expected to demonstrate competencies in oral and written English.

Upon matriculation, the candidate is assigned an advisor from the graduate PACT office. Each candidate must consult with the advisor, program chair or his/her designee regarding required courses and electives for the program of study selected, and to develop a plan of study for degree completion.

Full-time candidates may take nine to twelve credits per semester. No candidate may exceed twelve credits per semester. Part-time candidates may take three to six credits per semester. Courses are offered during the fall, spring, and summer semesters.

The courses in the programs have a mandatory online component that enables candidates to interact with the instructor and with one another between class meetings. The purpose of the online component is to encourage interaction among candidates and enrich the learning experience using technology as a learning and communication tool.

Graduate courses taken at other institutions prior to admission at Mercy University may, if pertinent to the plan of study, be credited to the graduate degree. Permission to transfer credits must be requested at the time of admission and official transcripts and course descriptions must be submitted to the program chair or associate dean for evaluation. Transfer credit is limited to six semester hours of credit for courses taken within the last five years in which the student has received a grade of B or better. Transfer credits are not recorded as part of the GPA. Courses with a grade of B- or below are not transferable.

After matriculation, candidates may not register for courses at another institution with the intention of transferring credit to Mercy University unless written permission from the Associate Dean is obtained prior to registering for courses. If prior approval is not received, transfer credit will not be accepted.

It is expected that candidates will fulfill the requirements for their graduate degree by registering during successive sessions. For cohort programs, registration is required during summer session(s). Registration is accomplished by either enrolling in classes or maintaining matriculation.

Candidates who have not maintained matriculation and wish to return to their program within one year after their last course will be charged the Maintenance of Matriculation fee for each missed term. Maintenance of matriculation without attending classes is limited to one year. If a student does not register for three consecutive semesters, the student will need to reapply to the program and meet the current admission requirements. Activated U.S. Military Reservists are not required to pay the Maintenance of Matriculation fee.

The cumulative GPA for both good academic standing and degree conferral is 3.0. A student admitted with specific academic conditions is required to achieve a 3.0 GPA or better after completing a certain number of credits as stipulated by the student’s respective program. Grades are subject to review by the associate dean and program chair at the end of each term. If the academic GPA falls below 3.0, the student may be dismissed or placed on academic probation.

A student in any School of Education program may be placed on academic probation for any of the following reasons:

  1. Failure to maintain good academic standing (see “Maintenance of Good Academic Standing” above). All students who have a cumulative GPA below 3.0 will be placed on academic probation. If a student will not be able to achieve a cumulative GPA of 3.0 within a reasonable time, the student faces dismissal from the program. All students must achieve a minimum overall GPA of a 3.0 in order to be eligible for degree conferral. In all subsequent terms in which the student is on academic probation, the student is required to achieve a term GPA of 3.0 or better. If the 3.0 or higher is not achieved the student will be dismissed. If a student receives a grade of F or FW in any course, the student will be subject to academic probation or dismissal from the program. Except for the clinical course, students receiving a grade of F or FW and placed on academic probation may retake the course no more than 2 times. Students who receive a grade of F or FW in the clinical course and who are placed on academic probation may repeat the course only once with approval of the Dean, Associate Dean, and Clinical Placement Coordinator provided the student is able to present extraordinary circumstances that presented him or her from successfully completing the course. In such cases where the student’s request to repeat the clinical course is approved, the student will be required to complete and sign a program completion plan. In the subsequent term(s) in which a student on academic probation is permitted to retake a course, if the grade of F or FW is not replaced with a satisfactory grade, the student will be dismissed.
  2. Two or more incompletes. Students who have two or more Incompletes on their academic record will be put on an academic hold and will not be allowed to register for subsequent courses without the permission of the dean or associate dean. Permission will not be granted until all of the incompletes but one are resolved and graded. Students who have not maintained matriculation nor enrolled for one year are required to file an application for re-admission through the Admissions Office. 
  3. Other academic violations. Students with academic violations not specified in this section can be placed on academic probation by the dean or associate dean. Such violations can include, but are not limited to, violations of the Academic Integrity policy. 

For all students on academic probation, future registrations may be limited or restricted and must be reviewed and approved by the Dean or Associate Dean.

An academic dismissal from a program may occur if a student does not meet criteria to remain in good academic standing. A student in any School of Education program may be dismissed from the program for any of the following reasons:

  1. If a student on academic probation as a result of the failure to maintain a cumulative 3.0 GPA does not achieve cumulative GPA of 3.0 within a reasonable time, the student will be dismissed from the program. 
  2. If a student receives a grade of F or FW in any course, the student will be subject to academic probation or dismissal from the program. In the subsequent term(s) in which a student on academic probation is permitted to retake a course, if the grade of F or FW is not replaced with a satisfactory grade, the student will be dismissed. 
  3. Unprofessional and/or inappropriate conduct in clinical placements and/or during the clinical experience course are grounds for program dismissal. Academic performance includes interpersonal skills, dispositions, attitudes and professional character. Unprofessional/inappropriate conduct includes, but is not limited to:
    1. Engaging in teaching or professional practices under the influence of drugs or alcohol
    2. Behavior that jeopardizes student welfare
    3. Participating or condoning dishonesty, fraud, intentional misrepresentation or deception in the context of one's educational or professional role
    4. Engaging in any form of discrimination
    5. Breach of student confidentiality or any laws regarding professional conduct in the field of education
    6. Behavior that is disruptive or disrespectful to the host site's educational operations, faculty, or administration
    7. Excessive tardiness and absences
    8. Students dismissed
    9. Students dismissed from any School of Education program for unprofessional and/or inappropriate conduct in clinical placements and/or during the clinical experience course are permanently ineligible for recommendation from Mercy University for NYS certification. 
  4. Students with academic violations not specified in this section can be dismissed from a program. Such violations can include, but are not limited to, violations of the Academic Integrity Policy

In cases where a student has been dismissed from a program for poor academic performance, the student may request a dismissal review to appeal this decision. 

If, for unforeseeable and extenuating circumstance, a teacher candidate has been unable to complete all course assignments, and has been in attendance for the full term, and has completed the majority of the course assignments, she/he may request an incomplete grade. The issuance of an incomplete grade is at the discretion of the course professor and is not automatic. If granted, the “AGREEMENT FORM FOR INCOMPLETE GRADE” must be completed by both the professor and the teacher candidate.

After receiving the assignment(s) by the specified due date, the professor will grade the assignment(s), and will contact the registrar and the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs to have the final grade changed based upon the accomplishment of the course objectives according to a specified evaluation plan as presented in the course syllabus.

If the assignment(s) are not completed by the specified due date, the professor reserves the right to change the grade to that which the candidate had earned before requesting the incomplete, or to let it remain a permanent incomplete as outlined in the Mercy University Graduate Catalog.

The School of Education Degree must be completed within five years from the date of the candidate’s admission (exclusive of time spent in the Armed Forces). Exceptions will only be made if a candidate requests an extension in writing and receives the approval of the school dean.

All School of Education degree, advanced certificate and non-degree candidates must register for and establish an electronic portfolio account through TaskStream. TaskStream accounts are free for candidates and faculty. Course instructors have the information needed to set up an account, if you do not already have one, or to renew a previous account. Candidates will contribute assignments to the portfolio throughout their program of study and will include the course key assessments and specific assignments as required by the candidate’s degree or advanced certificate program. The key assessments are critical to our program improvement efforts and to continuing accreditation. A student’s final course grade for courses with a key assessment cannot be submitted until all necessary assessments have been uploaded to TaskStream.

The completed e-Portfolio is the capstone requirement in all School of Education degrees and certificate programs and successful evaluation of the e-Portfolio is required for the degree or certificate.

Candidates in Initial Teacher certification programs follow a four-transition point progression through the program leading to the completion of degree and certification requirements.

Admission is determined by transcript analysis, GPA review, review of the Effective Teaching Statement, and a review of the scores on the Verbal Reasoning, Mathematical Reasoning, and Analytic Writing subtests of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Praxis Core Exam. In addition, upon acceptance, candidates will be required to sign an acknowledgement regarding certification and program requirements, and candidate responsibilities. The School of Education strongly recommends the following:

  • Candidates should take the EAS (Educating All Students) within the first 12 credits
  • Candidates should consider registering for test prep seminars pertinent to the required CST in their degree area

To track teacher candidates individually in terms of evaluating how they progress through our conceptual framework and better serve our candidates.

During Checkpoint 2, faculty members review the CFA of a group of candidates competing their first semester after admission. If the candidate has a successful faculty CFA review, the candidate will proceed to the next checkpoint. If a candidate does not have a successful CFA review, faculty will advise a course remediation and conduct follow-up review with the candidate after the subsequent semester.

CFA Checkpoint 2 Action People Responsible
Checkpoint 2A Faculty review (after first semester) Faculty
Checkpoint 2B Follow-up faculty review (after second semester) Faculty

Candidates seeking initial certification in Early Childhood, Childhood, Adolescence, Students with Disabilities, or Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages must complete a clinical practice course to meet degree and certification requirements. Depending on the candidate’s classroom employment and teaching experience, he/she will register for one of the following:

EDUC 713 Seminar in Teaching -Passing score on the CST in the major degree area is required prior to registration. The professional semester is comprised of the student teaching experience and the corresponding seminar. It is considered the capstone course of the graduate education program. Student teaching is based on experience that is supervised by both certified, experienced teachers and a college field supervisor. The experience is designed to reflect the reality of the classroom. Candidates who are currently employed in a classroom setting but do not have New York State Initial Certification may use their current job experience to meet part of the student teaching requirements. Candidates will also need to complete 100 hours in the other level of the certificate for which they don’t have experience. The weekly seminar addresses issues related to the expectations expressed in the Standards for Licensing Beginning Teachers. Therefore, pertinent issues and topics related to the expectations expressed in the Standards will form the basis for presentations, group discussions and / or video analysis. Candidates must submit an edTPA examination to Pearson as one of the course requirements.

EDUC 537 Current Critical Issues in American Education - Open to currently employed teachers who hold a New York State Initial Certification. Students adding additional certificates will need to complete 50 hours of classroom clinical hours in the area of the additional certificate sought.

EDUC 707 - Mentoring Seminar in TESOL — Open to candidates in the Track 2 M.S. and Advanced Certificate Program. A passing score on the CST in the degree area is required prior to registration.

Admission to clinical practice requires candidates to apply for placement the semester prior to the anticipated course registration. Applications are available in Taskstream and are reviewed by the Office of Clinical Practice and Certification in the School of Education at the Dobbs Ferry Campus. Based on the criteria above, the Office of Clinical Practice and Certification reserves the right to determine appropriate clinical placements.

Clinical Practice Application Deadlines


February 15

Spring October 15

A passing score on the CST in the degree area is required prior to registration. Teaching candidates who do not pass the CST may appeal to an academic committee at the School of Education, which will evaluate candidates’ readiness to enter student teaching based on multiple criteria.

Upon completion of the capstone project and all other degree requirements, the School of Education will process the candidate’s application for certification. All prerequisite course requirements must be satisfied prior to seeking certification. Program completion requires a 3.0 GPA. Initial New York State certification requires achieving qualifying scores on the Educating All Students Test (EAS), and the Content Specialty Test (CST), in the area of each certificate being requested, and receiving a passing score on the edTPA assessment.

Students must submit an Effective Educator Statement to complete their application. You can download requirements here. 

Please submit the completed statement to your application portal

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