FARMINGTON — The University of Maine at Farmington is launching a new graduate level degree program, Master of Science in Education-Early Childhood.

The first courses begin in June.

The program will be delivered in a hybrid course model that will feature online, face-to-face and blended courses to better meet the needs of early childhood educators throughout the state and beyond.

“This innovative program takes advantage of the latest technologies to create a new model of graduate study for working professionals that increases accessibility while maximizing learning,” Katherine Yardley, UMF associate provost and dean of education, said.

The new program was developed specifically to contribute to the professional growth of those educators who work with children ages birth through 8. The course emphasizes child development based curriculum, leadership and assessment as well as an understanding of the family and community contexts in which young children are educated.

This unique 36-credit master’s degree program is comprised of 24 core credits and 12 elective credits. The flexible degree program can be completed in two to four years, with courses being offered during summer, fall and spring terms. This postgraduate degree will be especially valuable to educators who aspire to a variety of early childhood leadership roles such as adult educators in higher education, trainers, classroom teachers, program administrators, policy advocates and curriculum specialists.

The program received recent approval by the University of Maine System Board of Trustees at their January meeting and is awaiting review by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, which currently accredits UMF as a baccalaureate-level institution. Final approval by NEASC is expected in March, according to Yardley, with final accreditation anticipated within the next two years.

More information on UMF’s master’s degree programs and non-degree graduate courses may be found online under the Graduate Studies heading at

Applications for the Master of Science in Education-Early Childhood degree program and Master of Science in Education-Educational Leadership degree program are available online and will be reviewed on an ongoing basis.

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