MA in Teaching with Education Specialist Early Childhood Special Education Teaching Credential

Program Description

The MA in Teaching with Education Specialist Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) Teaching Credential blends a teacher preparation program with a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT). This program is a distance learning program offered fully online to candidates across the state of California. Courses are taken in the evening with both class meetings and supervision of field work and student teaching provided online in mostly a live/synchronous format.

The Education Specialist ECSE Teaching Credential authorizes the holder to provide educational services to infants, toddlers, and preschool age children with disabilities and their families in home-based programs, center-based settings, and school-based settings. This credential embeds the English Learner Authorization (ELA) and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Authorization, which prepares candidates to work with second language learners and students with autism spectrum disorder, respectively. Additionally, teacher candidates may choose to apply to be an intern during the course of their program. 

  • The ECSE Teaching Credential provides candidates with applied experiences through coursework connecting theory to practice and supervised work with children with a wide range of disabilities across early field experiences and two student teaching requirements: 1) Infant/Toddler, and 2) Preschool/Kindergarten. The teacher preparation coursework focuses on preparing effective teachers for working with diverse student populations with an emphasis on preparing socially just teachers and leaders for systems change, committed to equity and inclusion in culturally and linguistically diverse schools and communities.
  • The MAT coursework focuses on inquiry-based education which includes hands-on instruction with problem-based learning and issues-centered curriculum and a focus on reflection during the teaching and research process.  The program foundation rests in social justice and equity in education for all children and youth, including those with disabilities and their families.

Upon completion of the ECSE Teaching Credential coursework, program candidates will complete an additional sequence of four MAT courses for a total of 15 additional units. Throughout the MAT program, candidates will learn how to critically examine evidence-based practices, policy issues, and current research on teaching and learning in the field of special education. Candidates will be expected to apply analytical skills to develop and implement standards-based curriculum in diverse settings using best instructional and inclusive practices that positively impact the learning of all students, including English Learners and children and youth with disabilities. Candidates also will conduct original teacher action research using practice-based methods in diverse educational settings. The materials and associated activities presented in the MAT coursework are highly integrated to support candidates with successful completion of the Master of Arts in Teaching degree at the end of the program.

Preliminary Teaching Credentials

As new regulations become mandated by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) and the California Department of Education, requirements for meeting subject matter competency and/or requirements for all preliminary credential programs will be changed to comply with the new requirements. The preliminary credential program is legislated according to the SB 2042 (Preliminary) Credential requirements. For further information, please contact the Academic and Program Services Office in Eureka Hall 401, (916) 278-6639.

Program Admission Requirements

Note: Due to COVID-19, the CSU and the state of California approved adjustments to the admissions requirements for teaching credential programs. Before applying for fall 2021 admissions, visit: COVID-19 Impact on Admissions Requirements at

  1. Submit a table listing a minimum of 45 hours of experiences related to working with children or youth
  2. Submit two program reference forms: one from a person who has observed the applicant’s academic competence (current or former instructor) and the other from a person who has observed the applicant working with children or youth.  NOTE:  References from family members will not be accepted
  3. Submit a graduate writing sample in the form of an essay addressing a prompt related to the program’s foundation in social justice and equity tied to a current issue in education.  The essay prompt will change.  Refer to the supplemental application for the current essay prompt
  4. Satisfy writing proficiency in one of the following ways:
    1. Pass the entire CBEST (must pass the writing portion with a minimum of 37 points); (This admission requirement is waived for the Fall 2021 admission cycle due to COVID-19) or
    2. Pass the CSET: Writing Skills Test (Multiple Subject applicants only); (This admission requirement is waived for the Fall 2021 admission cycle due to COVID-19) or
    3. Meet the graduation writing requirement (GWAR) at any CSU campus; or
    4. Successfully complete an upper-division advanced English composition course, with a “B” grade or better
  5. Satisfy Basic Skills Competence.  For more detailed information, visit the CTC website.  Example of ways to satisfy Basic Skills Competence include:
    1. Pass the California Basic Educational Skills Test (CBEST) – all sections must be taken and passed
    2. Pass the CSU Early Assessment Program (EAP) English and Math sections (tests completed in high school)
    3. Pass a basic skills examination from another state
  6. Grade Point Average (GPA) of at least 2.67 overall or 2.75 in last 60 semester or 90 quarter units as evidenced from submitting official transcripts from every college/university attended
  7. Complete Credential Prerequisite Courses for the Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) program: CHDV 30,
    EDUC 170EDUC 100AEDUC 100BLists of equivalent coursework is located on the Teaching Credentials website.
  8. Participate in the Mandatory Interview

Detailed descriptions of all admissions requirements are contained in the program’s supplemental application directions. NOTE: Subject Matter Competency (SMC) is NOT required for ECSE applicants. 

Applications Required

  • CSU Graduate School Application for the University:

    Applicants not currently attending Sacramento State, Sacramento State graduating seniors, and Sacramento State students completing a master’s degree or second bachelor’s degree MUST apply for admission to graduate school through the Office of Graduate Studies (OGS) by completing and submitting the CSU application on-line: Cal State Apply 

  • Teaching Credentials Program Supplemental Application:

    All applicants must submit a supplemental program application.  Beginning in OCTOBER every year, the supplemental program applications with instructions/current requirements are available through the Teaching Credentials website. Complete supplemental applications and all supporting documents must be submitted to Teaching Credentials by February.  The exact submission deadline date is posted once applications are available on the website.

  • Certificate of Clearance (COC/Fingerprint Clearance): 

    ALL applicants must submit verification of having been issued a clearance by the CA Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC) before they will be allowed to officially start the credential program. 

    EXCEPTION – it is not necessary to apply for the Certificate of Clearance if you can verify you hold a valid California certificate or credential such as an emergency permit for substitute teaching, Pre-intern certificate, PPS credential, Child Development Associate or Supervisor Permit, Adult Vocational Education credential OR if you are applying for a Special Education credential program, verify a valid Multiple or Single Subject credential.

    NOTE: If you answered “YES” to any of the Personal and Professional Fitness questions on the Certificate of Clearance application, you will need to obtain the official arrest record and court paperwork regarding each incident.  Refer to the CTC website for the instructions, forms, and where to submit all additional paperwork.  If you have arrests and/or convictions on your record, once you submit the additional paperwork/documentation to the CTC, the processing of your clearance application can take SIX MONTHS or longer.  This means you may not be eligible to start the credential program if your clearance is not issued before the program begins.  If you have any questions, contact the CTC directly via email.

Additional Information

Verification of Bachelor's Degree

ALL applicants must obtain a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college/university in the United States in order to be eligible for a credential.  Proof can be obtained through official transcripts and listed as “Degree(s) Awarded” with the date the degree was awarded.  To find out if your college/university is regionally accredited by one of the accrediting agencies approved by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CTC), visit the CTC website.

Foreign Transcript Evaluation

Individuals who have completed college or university course work at an institution in a country other than the United States must obtain a complete evaluation of foreign transcripts, degrees, and other relevant documents prior to applying for a teaching credential program.  This evaluation is required by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing (CCTC).  It is recommended that credential program applicants have their documents evaluated by WES, since both the University Office of Graduate Studies and the Commission will accept the WES evaluation.  Applicants should select the WES INTERNATIONAL CREDENTIAL ADVANTAGE PACKAGE (ICAP) Course by Course Evaluation. For additional information on foreign transcript evaluations please visit the CTC website.

Verification of completing the United States Constitution Requirement

California Education Code, Section 44335, requires all candidates for Multiple Subject, Single Subject, and Education Specialist credentials to demonstrate knowledge of the United States Constitution by completing a college-level course with a “C” or equivalent grade or better, or pass a college-level examination in the subject, or verify AP exam credit for American History or American Government/Politics. While this is not a program admission requirement, this requirement must be completed before the credential can be granted at the end of the credential program. Most CSU graduates have met this requirement.

Additional Information for All Admitted Program Candidates

· Continued Enrollment: Continued enrollment in the MA in Teaching with Education Specialist Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) Teaching Credential Program is contingent upon the candidates maintaining a GPA of 3.0 in all professional education courses. If incomplete grades or grades of "D", "F", and "NC" (No Credit) are received in professional education courses, the candidate must withdraw from the program unless a specific exception has been approved by the Credential Appeals Committee.

· Delays: Candidates who have to delay progress in the MA in Teaching with Education Specialist Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) Teaching Credential Program will file a "Program Delay Petition" in the Teaching Credentials Office. A student returning after a delay may be accommodated on a space available basis. Any student on academic probation is subject to automatic disqualification.  Candidates must return and complete the program within the seven-year limit for graduate programs.

· Appeal Process: A student who has been formally admitted to the program has the right to appeal to the Credential Appeals Committee about any policy affecting program continuation. Appeals petitions and assistance are available in the Teaching Credentials Office.

Bilingual Authorization (BA)

The BA is a specialized authorization that authorizes the credential holder to provide instruction in the primary language to candidates with limited English proficiency. This option is available concurrently for all program candidates with oral and written fluency as well as cultural/historical knowledge of the target group (Spanish or Hmong).  Candidates can complete additional requirements to add the Bilingual Authorization in Spanish or Hmong.  For additional information on the BA option, contact the College of Education Equity Coordinator for an advising appointment to review your transcripts.

Program Requirements

Plan of Study Grid
Year 1
First SemesterUnits
EDSP 119 Legal and Social Foundations of Special Education 3
EDSP 201 Developing Collaborative Partnerships with Families, Professionals, and Communities in ECSE 3
CHDV 150A Early Literacy Development in First and Second Language 2
CHDV 150B Early Literacy Development in First and Second Language Practicum 1
Second Semester
EDSP 209 Developing Augmentative & Alternative Communication Systems: Assessment and Intervention 3
EDSP 216 Understanding the Implications of Developmental Diversity in Children and Youth 3
EDS 217 3
Select one of the following options: 1 3 - 10
Field Experience I: Early Childhood Special Education  
Internship in ECSE: Infants & Toddlers
Internship in ECSE: Preschool
Year 2
First Semester
EDSP 211 Curriculum, Intervention Strategies, and Environments in ECSE I: Infants & Toddlers 3
Select one of the following options: 1 6 or 10
Directed Field Experience in ESCE: Infants & Toddlers  
Internship in ECSE: Infants & Toddlers  
Second Semester
EDSP 210 Assessment and Evaluation in Early Childhood Special Education 3
EDSP 212 Curriculum, Intervention Strategies, and Environments in ECSE II: Preschool 3
EDSP 293 Strategies for Inclusive Classrooms: Education Specialist 3
Select one of the following options: 1 3 or 10
Internship in ECSE: Infants & Toddlers  
Internship in ECSE: Preschool  
Field Experience II: Early Childhood Special Education  
Third Semester
EDSP 218 Instructional Strategies: Low Incidence Disabilities 3
EDSP 234 Directed Fieldwork Seminar: Early Childhood Special Education 1
Select one of the following options: 1 6 or 10
Directed Field Experience in ECSE: Preschool  
Internship in ECSE: Preschool  
Year 3
First Semester
EDSP 281 Critical Issues in Special Education Research and Practice 6
Second Semester
EDSP 282 Methods in Research Design and Practice with Diverse Children, Youth, and Families 3
Third Semester
EDSP 283 Critical Analysis and Interpretation of Data within Diverse School and Community Contexts 3
EDSP 500 Master of Arts Thesis: Special Education 3
 Total Units67-89