Early Childhood Special Education


Early Childhood Special Education LogoSan Francisco State University (SFSU) is committed to supporting professionals who are seeking to develop and expand their expertise in the field of Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE). We provide opportunities for students to acquire the knowledge and skills they need to provide evidence-based, culturally responsive services to children from birth to five who are at-risk or diagnosed with disabilities, and their families. 


SFSU's ECSE program offers a range of credential and degree options including ECSE preliminary and professional clear credentials, a Masters of Art with an emphasis in ECSE, and a PhD with specialization in ECSE offered jointly with University of California Berkeley. In turn, our graduates are highly qualified for professional positions in a variety of settings, including early interventionists, inclusive/special education preschool teachers, program leadership positions, and faculty. Information about our different programs are detailed in the following paragraphs. 


We are pleased to announce that the ECSE program at San Francisco State University has been awarded a 5-year grant (2014-2018) from the Department of Education called CIRCLE (Careers and Inclusive Resources related to Children's Learning in the Early Years). This grant will fund a stipend program for scholars accepted into the ECSE credential or credential/masters program. For more information, please contact Dr. Amber Friesen (afriesen@sfsu.edu) or Dr. Marci Hanson (mjhanson@sfsu.edu).


CIRCLE Brochure


CIRCLE Application - Due December 1, 2014 to be considered for Spring 2015Note: Applicants must be accepted into the ECSE credential or credential/masters program. 



Credentials in Early Childhood Special Education

San Francisco State University offers education specialist credentials that are approved by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. Programs are organized via a two-tiered system: The Preliminary Education Specialist and the Professional Clear. Each level is based on California teaching standards with unique requirements for both preliminary and professional clear credentials. 


Students may specialize in ECSE as they work towards either their preliminary or professional clear credentials. This specialization focuses on children from birth to pre-kindergarten age who are eligible for early intervention, special education, and/or related services under federal law. 


The preliminary education specialist credential program allows graduates to teach within ECSE settings for period of five years.It includes requirements in a general education component, common core requirements, plus specialization coursework.


The professional clear education specialist credential program can be completed within five years after the issuance of a preliminary clear credential. During those five years, candidates must also complete all program requirements approved by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. For more information, please see:


Master of Arts in Special Education with an Emphasis in Early Childhood Special Education

The Master of Arts in Special Education is an individual designed professional degree. This degree provides advanced knowledge in Special Education and emphasizes research and leadership skills within a selected program of study. The program provides individuals with an opportunity to learn and participate in scholarly research, demonstration, training, and clinical projects with faculty. Coursework completed prior to, or concurrently with, an education specialist credential may be applied to the degree emphasis, with approval of graduate program advisor. For more information, please see:


Doctorate in Special Education with a Specialization in Early Childhood Special Education

The Joint Doctoral Program in Special Education between San Francisco State University and University of California Berkeley is aimed at preparing high level leaders in research, teaching, and administration for the variety of professional needs facing children, youth, and adults with disabilities. It integrates the resources of two comprehensive universities and provides an opportunity for students to combine theoretical interests with applied practices in a broad spectrum of specializations within Special Education. For more information, please see: