What you can earn


1-2 years

Credits earned




Time commitment


Upcoming deadline

January 5, 2024

Create a more equitable and inclusive early childhood education system

The specialization in Early Childhood Policy (ECP) is an interdisciplinary approach to early childhood policy with foundational coursework in policy design, advocacy, implementation and evaluation. This specialization is part of our Educational Policy, Organization and Leadership (EdPOL) program.

ECP is designed to build a newly established and growing field, developing policy leaders who are prepared to take on critical work in early childhood education and chart new pathways toward a more equitable and inclusive early childhood education system. Fellowships with full tuition remission are available for a limited number of applicants.

Over two years, you'll shape a personalized course of study with your advisor and engage with three core areas:

  • Policy: Learn to make and evaluate education policies that drive change.
  • Organizations: Understand how schools and systems work.
  • Leadership: Develop skills to make real educational reform happen.
preschool student working on a puzzle

What you'll learn

In the ECP specialization you will:

  • Master the art of educational policy formulation, implementation and evaluation
  • Gain deep insights into the nature and dynamics of educational organizations
  • Develop influential leadership skills for educational reform
  • Dive into areas like educational finance, accountability, equity, labor markets and more
  • Shape your own educational focus and harness your passion for change

After graduation

Upon graduation, you'll be prepared to influence educational policy, lead impactful organizational change, and promote equity within educational systems. Your career path may lead you to policy analysis, educational leadership, community outreach, or further academic pursuits.

Want to earn your Ph.D.? After earning your master's degree, you can continue your studies through our EdPOL Ph.D. program.

Let's connect

We're excited that you're interested in our program! By joining our mailing list, you can receive updates on info sessions, deadlines, financial aid and more!

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    Working with your advisor, you will forge a learning path that maximizes the pursuit your individual passions and professional goals. In addition to core course in each of the three strands (policy, organizations and leadership), you also explore coursework in particular areas, such as:

    • Economics and educational finance
    • Education accountability
    • Educational equity and disparities
    • Educator labor markets and effectiveness
    • Family and community leadership
    • Leadership for equitable systems
    • Policy implementation
    • Politics of education
    • School and system improvement and redesign
    Core requirements (15 credits minimum)
    • EDLPS 565: Race, Equity, and Leading Educational Change (3)
    • EDLPS 560: Policy and Policymaking in Education (3)
    • EDLPS 550: The Dynamics of Educational Organizations (4)
    • One to two other courses from leadership, policy or organizations
    Supporting coursework (12 credits minimum)

    Topical focus coursework from anywhere in College or University that relates to your primary interests and builds a broad foundation of expertise.

    • One or two of the following foundational courses (3-6)
      • EDLPS 520
      • EDLPS 521
      • EDLPS 522
      • EDLPS 530
      • EDLPS 538
      • EDLPS 539
      • EDLPS 540
    • Two electives related to your primary interests (6)
    Methodological foundations (6 credits minimum)

    This requirement supports your data literacy and use in educational systems. You will select at least two courses to fulfill this requirement. Pre-Ph.D. master's degree students can substitute entry level research methods courses.

    Degree project or internship (9 credits minimum)

    The program culminates in a choice of a final project: thesis or project

    A thesis is a good option if you are pursuing a Ph.D. in the future. As for the other option, previous graduates have pursue projects like:

    • How Communities of Color Influence Educational Policy: Can ESSA be a Vehicle for Change?
    • Principals as Leaders of Teacher Learning: Challenges & Possibilities
    • Expanding Notions of Student Achievement: Exploring alternative approaches to measuring student growth
    • Collaborative Betterment vs. Collaborative Empowerment: Head Start’s Potential to Engage Parents and Community in Education Reform
    • Supporting Refugee Students’ Transition into America’s School System
    • Developing Youth and Adult Leadership across Educational Contexts: Community-based Organization and Charter School Contexts
    • Washington School and System Improvement Networks that Turn Around consistently underperforming schools
    • Factors that Predict Student Dropout in K-12 Public Schools
    • Peer Assistance and Review (PAR) for Teachers

    Students may also undertake a field-based internship to integrate their academic and practice-based learning or a project of their own design.

    Admission requirements and process

      Bachelor's degree from an accredited institution

      Your bachelor’s degree can be in-progress when applying but must be completed before the program starts.

      Unofficial transcript(s) with minimum 3.0 GPA
      • Include one from each institution from which you've earned a degree and one from every institution you have attended in the previous 5 years.
      • Your transcripts must include your name, coursework and degree (if completed)
      • If you are offered admission, the UW Graduate School will request an official transcript from your most recent degree earned

      The UW Graduate School requires a cumulative GPA of 3.0, or 3.0 for your most recent 90 graded quarter credits (60 semester credits). However, we review your application holistically. If your GPA is below 3.0, contact us at edinfo@uw.edu for advice on how to strengthen your overall application by connecting with a Graduate Admissions advisor.

      Two letters of recommendation

      During the online application process, you will be given instructions for adding your recommenders and getting their letters submitted electronically. All recommenders must submit their letters online.


      A current academic and professional resume or vita is required. In addition to educational degrees and professional experience, you should include a listing of all relevant awards, publications, presentations or other achievements that will help us evaluate your application.

      Statement of Purpose

      The admissions committee uses your statement of purpose, along with other evidence, to determine whether your goals are well-matched with our programs. Your statement should address goals, relevant experience, future plans and how the desired specific program meets your needs. Be sure to include personal experiences that have prepared you for the challenge of graduate school, topics like:

      • Scholarly interests
      • Career goals
      • Your match for the program
      • Faculty interests

      Your statement should be 1-2 pages, double-spaced.

      Personal history statement (optional)

      While optional, you can add to your application by submitting a personal history statement with each application. This statement should address your intellectual growth and development, inclusive of and beyond your academic goals. Speak to topics like:

      • Educational, cultural and economic opportunities and disadvantages you've experienced
      • Ways these experiences affected the development of your special interests, career plans and future goals.
      • Any additional topics requested on a specific program's page

      Statements should be no longer than two pages long. And while there are no standard formatting requirements, we encourage double-spaced text with a legible font.

      IMPORTANT: At the start of your statement of purpose, indicate you are interested in Early Childhood Policy specialization. Be sure to include details about your interest and experience in early childhood throughout your statement.

      1. Gather all required documents
      2. Visit the Graduate School website
      3. Log into your account or create a new profile if you are a first-time applicant
      4. Complete all steps in application process and upload your documents
      5. Pay the nonrefundable $90 application fee
        • You may request a fee waiver during the application process
      6. Submit your application

      IMPORTANT: Select the M.Ed. Educational Policy, Organization and Leadership program when completing your application. At the start of your statement of purpose, indicate you are interested in Early Childhood Policy specialization. Be sure to include details about your interest and experience in early childhood throughout your statement.

      Here is our general timeline for decisions. Have questions about the process? Visit our graduate admissions page.

      Step 1: Application processing

      • Within 7 business days after the deadline, we will check if your application if fully complete
      • We will email you whether your application is complete or incomplete
      • If your application is missing anything, you will have a short amount of time submit these items
      • You can also log into the online application and check your status and see any missing items

      Step 2: Application review

      • Committees begin reviewing applications about three weeks after the deadline
      • You will receiving an email when your application has entered the review phase

      Step 3: Decision notification

      • The final decision will be emailed to you
      • Your status will also be updated in the online application

      We value and welcoming applications from international students! If you are applying from outside the United States, there are additional requirements and application materials.

      Prior degree requirements
      • At minimum, you must have the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor's degree (a four-year degree from an institution of recognized standing)
      • Evaluation of your degree will be based on:
        • The national system of education in the foreign country
        • The type of institution
        • The field of study and level of studies completed
      • International transcripts must be submitted in the original language.
      • Your transcript should include date of graduation and title of the awarded academic degree
      • If your transcript is not in English, you must also provide a certified English translation
      • You do not need to have your transcript evaluated for the degree by an agency
      English language proficiency

      Per UW Graduate School policy, you must submit a demonstration of English language proficiency if your native language is not English and you did not earn a degree in one of the following countries:

      • United States
      • United Kingdom
      • Australia
      • Bahamas
      • Canada
      • Ireland
      • Jamaica
      • New Zealand
      • Singapore
      • South Africa
      • Trinidad and Tobago

      The following tests are accepted if the test was taken fewer than two years ago:

      • TOEFL
        • Minimum score: 80
        • Recommended score: 92+
        • The UW's 4-digit code is 4854
      • IELTS
        • You must request from the center where you took the test that your scores be sent electronically using the IELTS system (E-TRF) to the following address:
          • University of Washington All Campuses, Organisation ID 365, Undergrad & Graduate Admis, Box 355850, Seattle, WA, 98105, United States of America
        • Minimum score: 6.5
        • Recommended score: 7.0+
        • School information for submission:
          University of Washington, All Campuses
          Undergraduate & Graduate Admission
          Box 355850
          Seattle, WA 98195
      • Duolingo
        • Minimum score: 105
        • Recommended score: 125+
        • Follow the instructions on the Duolingo website to submit your scores
      Financial ability

      If apply and are offered admission to UW, you will need to submit a statement of financial ability.

      Costs and funding

        We are a tuition-based program. Estimated tuition rates are based on your residency: 

        • Washington state residents: $19,584 per year
        • Out-of-state students: $35,352 per year

        Estimates are subject to change and may differ due to course load and summer quarter enrollment. Estimates include building fees, technology fees, U-Pass, etc. Additional program-specific fees are not included in this estimate.

        View the UW tuition dashboard →
        Visit the Office of Planning & Budgeting →

        Federal financial aid is available for students. Visit the UW Financial Aid website for information and resources. The College of Education also provides scholarship and other funding opportunities.

        Graduate students can be awarded $2,000 - $5,000 if they are earning their M.Ed, Ed.S, Ed.D or Ph.D through a College of Education program.

        Program Faculty

        Professor of Practice
        Associate Professor
        Associate Professor
        Assistant Professor

        Program Affiliated Faculty

        Associate Professor
        Associate Professor
        Assistant Professor