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Early Childhood Studies (MA)

An entry in the Sage Encyclopedia of Children and Childhood Studies (2020) explains that childhood studies is a multidisciplinary academic field focused on childhood and the everyday lives of children. Integrating equity, diversity and inclusion into early childhood studies, Toronto Metropolitan University's Master of Arts in Early Childhood Studies is unique in North America. Terms such as "diversity" and "inclusion" are used in the broadest sense to include issues of linguistic, cultural and racial identity as well as disability, gender, class, sexuality, age and migration status. This approach is in recognition of a child's need to develop a positive identity, not only as an individual but also as a member of a group. In this program, you will develop a deep understanding of the complex issues connected to children in contemporary society.

Program at a Glance

Program Length

  • Full-time programs: One year (three terms)
  • Part-time programs: Two years (six terms)

Start Date

September Entry

Degree Earned

Master of Arts (MA)

Tuition Fees

Tuition Fee Details

  • Policy analysis
  • College-level teaching
  • Research
  • Advocacy
  • Practice
  • Consulting
  • Child care administration 
  • Family support program administration
  • Doctoral studies

This graduate program does not qualify you to register as an early childhood educator (ECE) with the Ontario College of Early Childhood Educators, nor does it qualify you to become an Ontario Certified Teacher (OCT).

However, we do have many registered ECEs and OCTs, who apply and are admitted to the program, who find their knowledge regarding children and childhood deepened and expanded and their research skills greatly enhanced.

Some graduates go back into the classroom, and others move in new directions both within and outside the fields of ECE and education.

Ready to enrich your knowledge in the areas of diversity and inclusion?

Toronto Metropolitan University's Master of Arts in Early Childhood Studies positions graduates to take on exciting career advancement opportunities in the early childhood field.

Two internationally recognized learning laboratories — the Toronto Metropolitan University Early Learning Centre and the Gerrard Resource Centre — provide outstanding opportunities for practice and research.

Plus, we support your success with:

  • Access to a networking base with academic and community professionals in the Greater Toronto Area and beyond. 
  • Research opportunities in the areas of immigrant children and families, inclusion and disability, linguistic minority children and more.
  • Approachable faculty with expertise in early childhood care and education, child development, children's rights, research with children, family support and social policy, racial equity, children's health and more.
  • Graduate student lounge.

Our rewarding curriculum blends research and theory — challenging you to develop the advanced skills and knowledge in early childhood studies that can only come from a master’s education.

Required courses in research design and theoretical frameworks help you design a research project of your own and encourage you to understand the implications of critical theory, anti-racism, and queer theory for early childhood research and practice.

Elective courses on topics such as children’s rights, children’s health, social justice and children, and transformative literacy support you to build inclusionary methods into research, practice, and policy; thereby enhancing a sense of belonging for all children.

The Master’s Research Paper (MRP) Stream combines opportunities for independent research with course work, while the Courses Stream option focuses on in-class learning.

While there are 22 MA ECS electives listed in the YSGS calendar, in graduate school not all electives are offered every year. The program offers 12 courses each academic year, which includes the two required courses. Electives will vary somewhat each year. Please see Current Course Offerings for more information.

  • Child and family policies
  • Children’s health
  • Children's rights
  • Early childhood and social justice
  • Educational equity
  • Holistic and art education
  • Immigrant children and families
  • Inclusion and special needs
  • Linguistic minority children
  • Professional identities
  • 'Race' and anti-racism in early childhood settings
  • Transition to school
  • Transformative literacy

We offer full-time and part-time options for the MRP Stream and Courses Stream.

Once full-time students complete the first term of the program, they decide whether to pursue the MRP Stream or Courses Stream. Part-time students make this decision following their first year of study.

Most classes meet for three hours a week for 12 weeks. Day classes run between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., while evening classes run from 6 to 9 p.m., Monday to Friday, on campus.

Our program is demanding. While it is possible for full-time students to work while completing the program, we advise that they devote no more than ten hours per week to their job.

To be considered for admission to the Master of Arts in Early Childhood Studies program, you must meet the minimum program requirements:

A four-year honours Bachelor's degree from a recognized institution with a minimum B grade point average (GPA) in:

  • Early Childhood Education

  • Political Science

  • Disability Studies

  • Social Work

  • Child Development

  • Psychology

  • Child and Youth Care

  • Sociology

We will consider applicants from other relevant disciplines.

If you haven’t taken a course in research methods or do not have a background in research, we strongly advise you to take a qualitative or quantitative research methods course prior to entering the program.

Please note: there are very limited spots available for international applicants.

The Barbara and Sylvester Sargeant Scholarship

The Barbara and Sylvester Sargeant Scholarship in the Master of Arts in Early Childhood Studies was established thanks to a generous donation by Natalie Royer (MA, ECS ’13). This award is created in honour of Natalie’s parents, Barbara and Sylvester Sargeant.

This scholarship will go to an applicant who self-identifies as Black, is enrolled full- or part-time in the Master of Arts program within the School of Early Childhood Studies, and has the highest admissions average. Part-time students will only be eligible in their first year of studies.

One annual award of $5,000

Apply on Award Spring (external link) 

Student Profiles