Niagara University’s College of Education will offer a fully online master’s degree program in early childhood education and special education beginning this fall. Graduates of the program will be able to serve in teaching and leadership positions in a variety of early childhood and educational settings.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistic’s Occupational Outlook Handbook, employment of preschool teachers is projected to grow faster than average due to a continued focus on the importance of early childhood education. (Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook

The program has two tracks. The 43-credit-hour, preservice track enables individuals with a bachelor’s degree in any field to pursue study leading to initial New York state teacher certifications in both early childhood education (birth through grade two) and students with disabilities (birth through grade two) without disrupting current responsibilities at home or work.

The 37-credit-hour, advanced track enables those who already hold a bachelor’s degree in education to develop specialized skills and knowledge in early childhood education and in special education to obtain professional certification in those areas.

The curriculum provides students with an understanding of the interdisciplinary nature of child development and the education of young children, empowers them to develop the skills and dispositions of outstanding practitioners, and prepares them to meet the NAEYC and CEC standards for advanced programs.

“This program is ideal for aspiring teachers who want to make a difference in the lives of young children,” said Dr. Mary Ellen Bardsley, the program’s coordinator. “Consistent with Niagara University’s Catholic and Vincentian tradition, our online master’s degree program in early childhood education and special education will prepare them to be agents of positive change in an exciting field.”

 To learn more, please call Dr. Bardsley, at 716.286.8695or go online at