Early Childhood Education, PreK-4

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As a future teacher, you play a critical role in shaping the future of our society. You have the opportunity to educate young minds, ignite a passion for learning, and make a meaningful impact on the lives of others.

In our School of Education, we understand the importance of teachers and the impact they can have on their students. That is why our nationally accredited Early Childhood Education (PreK-4) graduate teacher education certificate program is designed to prepare you with the necessary skills and knowledge to become the teacher you were meant to be.

Our expert faculty focus on social justice issues and provide a quality education that prepares you for a successful and rewarding career in teaching. With a flexible curriculum, field experiences, and study-abroad opportunities, our teaching degree program allows you to pursue a graduate degree with the convenience and flexibility you need.

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Transform Your Career

Our MAT Early Childhood Education (Pre-K-4) graduate teacher education certification program prepares individuals who have a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and want to transition into teaching.

Engaging Classroom Experience

Taught by teacher-scholar faculty who are leaders in their fields. Your in-person and online classes will be engaging, interactive and participatory. You will be part of a community of learners involved in coursework, collaboration and learning with your peers and professors.

Hands-on Field Placement and Student Teaching

Our School of Education collaborates with more than 75 school districts in the Greater Pittsburgh Region, including public, private, charter and other diverse educational settings. As part of the program, you will fulfill field experience requirements, including student teaching for PA teacher licensure and licensure in many other states.

Student Teach Abroad

We are the only school in Pittsburgh to have a partnership with Indiana University Global Gateway for Teachers Program, in which we offer various student teaching abroad and other Cultural Immersion Opportunities.

Program Information

Our Master of Arts in Teaching Early Childhood Education (PreK-4) graduate teacher education certification program is designed to prepare you to teach in preschool and elementary classrooms in Pennsylvania and in many other states.



Academic Department

Instruction and Leadership in Education



Required Credit Hours


Ready to Make an Impact?

Our MAT degree can help you advance in your career—and make a difference in the education field.

  • Career Transition
    You are interested in transforming your career and want to earn your initial teaching certification in elementary education.
  • Passion for Helping
    You have a passion for education and helping young learners.
  • Making a Difference in Children's Lives
    Early education teachers have the opportunity to shape the future by helping children develop important skills and abilities at a critical time in their lives.
  • Job Security
    Early Education is a growing field with high demand for qualified teachers.
  • Career Growth
    You are already working with students and want to earn your initial teaching certification.
  • Competitive Salary and Benefits
    Teachers can earn a competitive salary and benefits package, especially those with advanced degrees and experience.
  • Make an Impact
    You want to gain experience in diverse educational settings and develop teaching practices informed by social justice.
  • Love for Learning
    You love learning and learning environments.
Our graduates can pursue diverse career paths through the MAT. Some positions include:
  • Classroom Teacher
    (Grades, PreK-4)
  • Curriculum Specialist
  • Instructional Coordinator
  • Education Consultant
  • Education Researcher
  • Professional Development Coordinator
  • Trainer or Mentor
  • Camp Director
  • Corporate Trainer
  • Career Counselor

Great Education, Great Value


You can complete our MAT program in two years. We offer diverse coursework and hands-on field experiences to help you become an expert in the classroom.

75+School Districts

Our students and faculty work with over 75 school districts (suburban, urban, rural, Catholic, private and charter schools) in the Greater Pittsburgh Region through student teaching and other hands-on learning experiences.

25%Tuition Award

Eligible students enrolled in the Early Childhood Education program can receive a 25% Tuition Award

firstSemester Field Experiences

Starting your first semester you’ll be in the classroom with students and experienced teachers building your knowledge of the classroom community.

Our Curriculum

This is just a sampling of the diverse course work and hands-on fieldwork curriculum you will experience as an MAT student.

This course provides an in-depth examination of typical and atypical development of children from birth to nine years in physical, cognitive, social and emotional areas of growth. Candidates will develop the knowledge, skills and disposition to understand young children's characteristics and needs that encompass multiple, interrelated areas of children's development and learning - including physical, cognitive, social, emotional, language, and aesthetic domains, play, activity, and learning processes and motivation to learn. Candidates will be able to describe the developmental patterns of change, physical, cognitive and psychosocial areas that have been identified for each stage of development. Candidates will develop and understanding of inclusive practices and how to scaffold experiences to enhance domain development. Candidates will use the method of inquiry and research to identify an influence that can have an impact on overall child development.
The early years are the most important period of literacy development. Major emphasis is on the developmental nature of becoming literate, the concept of emergent literacy, and the importance of quality reading and language arts experiences, and the vital relationship between reading and writing. This course will focus on emergent and literacy development birth through PreK children and creating engaging literacy experiences for families to implement at home. Candidates will become familiar with genres in Children’s Literature and will plan and implement cross-curricular literacy experiences for preschool-age children as well as plan and implement literacy-focused parent workshop sessions.
This course explores the structure of the social studies curriculum, goals and objectives, basic and advanced instructional techniques and special content areas, e.g. multicultural, geography and affective effective outcomes.
Candidates will apply their understanding of the complex characteristics of children’s families and communities by recognizing the central role that families play in the development of children and utilize their knowledge of the school culture and community at large to meet the needs of the families represented in their classroom. In addition candidates will have knowledge of the variations in beliefs, traditions and values related to children and learning across and within cultures and the impact of poverty on family systems and children’s development. Candidates will recognize the importance of providing a socially just environment for all children by creating and implementing two family engagement activities that will create a sense of community in their classroom. This course is offered in conjunction with Student Teaching and utilizes the assigned placement to implement the given strategies.
This course covers foundations of assessing student learning with special emphasis on developmentally appropriate assessment of young children’s learning through informal and formal observation. Topics also include reliability and validity, teacher made tests, diagnostic, screening, achievement and other standardized tests, goals, objectives, targets and standards, ethics and legal issues, objective, subjective, performance and authentic approaches to assessment.

Application Process

Bachelor's degree with a 3.0 GPA

Candidates who have a 3.0 GPA or higher in their bachelor's degree are competitive candidates for admission into our Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) Early Childhood Education program.

International Applicants

International Students seeking fully online programs are not eligible for U.S. Student Visas. Visit International Admissions for additional information and requirements.

Rolling Admissions

Our Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) Early Childhood Education program has a rolling admissions process. This means you can apply anytime throughout the year.

All Applicants

  • Duquesne University Online Graduate Application
  • Official transcripts
  • One letter of recommendation from an academic or professional contact (no personal contact).
  • Provide a one-page letter of intent, describing "why you want to become a teacher."

Send official application materials to:


  • Duquesne University School of Education
    Office of Graduate Admissions
    214A Canevin Hall
    600 Forbes Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15282

Additional Requirements
Materials will be reviewed by a graduate early childhood education advisor. If the minimum program requirements are met, applicants will be asked to:

  • Attend an interview with the graduate early childhood education program advisors
  • Additional material might be requested as needed

5-Year Early Start Graduate Program - Early Childhood Education, PreK-4

Undergrad students across the University can start graduate studies in the MAT Early Childhood, PreK-4 program. During your junior or senior year, you have the opportunity to take up to five courses in this master's-level program at the undergraduate tuition rate.

Connect with us to learn more and we will walk you through the application process. To get started, call (412) 396-6093.

Graduate and Student Perspectives

MAT Early Childhood Education graduate Samantha Szewczyk with graduation regalia sitting on the edge of fountain outside on campus with Christmas tree in background

I am incredibly grateful for the numerous opportunities that I received at Duquesne to expand upon my skill set through field experiences and student teaching. The professors in the School of Education and all of my mentor teachers have helped to prepare me to be an exemplary teacher for my future students.

Samantha Szewczyk MAT Early Childhood Education '23
Photo of MAT Early Childhood Education  student Savannah Hunt with night sky cityscape behind her

It is such an incredible experience to work with students and watch them enjoy learning, discover new interests and share their passions. Becoming a teacher has reinforced that I have found my purpose in elementary education.

Savannah Hunt MAT Early Childhood Education '24

Our Faculty Experts

Rachel Ayieko

Rachel Ayieko

Associate Professor | Interim Director for Teacher Certification Programs

Melissa Boston

Melissa Boston


Xia Chao

Xia Chao

Associate Professor

Bridget Green

Bridget Green

Assistant Professor

Misook Heo

Misook Heo


Joseph Kush

Joseph Kush


Cindy Laspina

Cindy Laspina

Instructor | Director of Student Teaching & Field Placement

Karen Levitt

Karen Levitt

Associate Professor | Associate Dean for Teacher Education

Christopher Meidl

Christopher Meidl

Associate Professor

Cliff Oliech

Cliff Oliech

Clinical Assistant Professor

Amy Olson

Amy Olson

Associate Professor | Director of Graduate Studies

Jason Ritter

Jason Ritter

Professor | Department Chair

Julia Williams

Julia Williams

Clinical Associate Professor

Learning Together in a Highly Accredited Program

Our courses are taught by teacher-scholar faculty who are leaders in their fields. Your classes will be engaging and interactive with flexible instruction, offered online and in-person.

The Early Childhood Education program is guided by Pennsylvania's state standards and by standards of national professional organizations. In addition to the School of Education's national recognition by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), as a point of distinction, this program earned national accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

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CAEP Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation Logo

CAEP Accreditation is a select honor to nationally recognize program quality for educator preparation. This represents that our students are well equipped to meet the needs of K-12 students as well as their communities and schools. We are one of five institutions in Pennsylvania to receive this accreditation.

It's Time for Bigger Goals

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Make in impact as a teacher, administrator school psychologist, counselor, and educator with our graduate programs and certificates.

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Master of Arts in Early Childhood Education Program

Sydney Daneman

Assistant to the Program Director