Ensure the youngest children get a head start.

The impact of early learning experiences for young children is far-reaching. Help young children discover their worlds. Employment opportunities can be found in both public and private institutions with missions that focus on the youngest learners or in any organization interested in young children and their learning.


Program type:

Major, BES



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Bachelor of Educational Studies -

Early Childhood Emphasis

The BES, with an emphasis in Early Childhood, is perfect for students excited about education, but looking for challenges outside a traditional classroom. The BES will prepare you for a career as an educator in agencies and institutions that emphasize informal learning in different settings. This degree is designed to be a creative, flexible, and inter-disciplinary bachelor’s degree that emphasizes practical skills in multiple settings.

Students gain skill and insights that can be applied to roles as educators, managers and directors, program planners and curriculum developers. This degree program does not lead to Missouri teacher certification.

Outcomes and Career Outlook

Upon completion of the program, graduates will be able apply a unique understanding of social justice by addressing institutional and social barriers that limit access, equity and achievement; conduct themselves in a respectful and professional manner that views failure as an opportunity to learn; apply reasoning and critical thinking while making connections among information, data and arguments to synthesize and interpret information; apply unique leadership, management and communication skills using oral, written, nonverbal and visual communication skills in a variety of formats and contexts; apply knowledge and skills to effectively manage early childhood programs; and demonstrate a unique application of best practices when teaching young children.


Median annual salary


Employment growth by 2032

Career Opportunities

  • Logistics Manager
  • After School Program Director
  • Child Care Director
  • Child Care Manager
  • Child Care Provider
  • Curriculum Developer


Plan of study

General Education Requirements

Students follow the University's General Education Requirements, Mathematical Skills, Advanced Expository Writing, American History and Government, and Cultural Diversity Requirements. Due to prerequisites of required courses all students must take PSYCH 1003 and POL SCI 1100. Students pursuing the Exercise Science emphasis area must take BIOL 1012, BIOL 1013, and MATH 1030.

Foundations (Required Courses)

TCH ED 1001 Early Clinical Experience: Community Agency 1
TCH ED 2000 Becoming a Professional Educator 1
EDUC 2002 Social Entrepreneurship 3
EDUC 2222 Interpretation: Connecting Audiences and Meaning 3
ED PSY 2212
  or or CNS ED 3200
Child and Adolescent Development
Interpersonal Skills in Helping Relationships
PHY ED 2136 Facilities Management 3
EDUC 3170 Grant Proposal Writing for Educators 3
ED FND 3251 Black Americans in Education 3
THEATR 3362 Storytelling 3
MKTG 3721 Introduction to Digital Marketing Strategies 3
ED TECH 4302
  or ED TECH 4436
Educational Technology Instruction in Educational Agencies
Computer-Mediated Teaching and Learning in Education
ED FND 4330 History of American Education through the Lens of Social Justice 3

Total Hours


Required Courses

ECH ED 3302 Introduction to Inclusive Early Childhood Education 3
ECH ED 3303 Curriculum and Practice Laboratory: Infant/Toddler 1
ECH ED 3304 Curriculum and Practice Laboratory: Preschool 1
ECH ED 3313 Curriculum and Practice: Infant/Toddler 2
ECH ED 3314 Curriculum And Practice: Preschool Education 2
ECH ED 3332 Literacy, Learning and Instruction For The Young Child 3
ECH ED 3350 Family and Professional Partnerships within School/Community 3
ECH ED 4317 Implementation, Evaluation, and Assessment in Early Childhood Education 3
SPEC ED 3318 Inclusive Classrooms 3

Total Hours


Clinical Experiences

EDUC 4989 Internship I 3
EDUC 4990 Internship II 6
EDUC 4991 Internship III 6

Suggested Courses

MEDIA ST 2211 Introduction to Digital Multimedia Production 3
MEDIA ST 2222 Convergence and Digital Media 3
MGMT 3600
  or SOC 3600
Management and Organizational Behavior
Management and Organizational Behavior
SOC WK 2000 Social Work and Social Issues 3
HLTH PE 3380 Introduction to Nutrition for Health and Performance 3

Total Hours


All majors must meet the general education requirements of the university in addition to completing degree-specific curriculum requirements.

Review Full Degree Requirements Download 4-Year Academic Map

Non-Missouri Residents: Prospective students are responsible for reviewing the NC-SARA state authorizations page to see if this program is offered in their state throughout their program and to review the licensure or certification requirements for the state in which they reside.

Student organizations

Make new friends and learn new skills by joining one of our Recognized Student Organizations. Here are several opportunities you may be interested in as an education major:

  • EduCATE: Collegiate Association of Teachers and Educators
  • OSI Leadership Education Programs / Advanced Leaders
  • Student Government Association
  • Students of the University of Missouri

Internship opportunities

The College of Education hosts many centers and initiatives that enhance student experiences in our programs and work with more than 36 different public, private and charter schools throughout the region. We also sponsor eight charter schools.

Honors College

The UMSL Honors College is a certificate program that can be paired with any major without adding extra classes or extending time to graduate. Classes in the Honors College are seminar-style, meaning that they are based in reading, writing, discussion, and critical thinking. This unique class format fosters an intellectual climate centered around democracy, diversity, civility and academic excellence.

Undergraduate research

We encourage and support students as they engage in exciting activities in and outside of the classroom that enrich their academic and professional understanding of their chosen area of study. All majors are encouraged to participate in Undergraduate Research and Scholarship to produce discipline-specific intellectual or creative innovations to their field.