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Faculty of Community Services

Early Childhood Studies (MA)

Program at a glance

Program formats:

Start date: September entry.

Program length:

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

Degree earned: Master of Arts (MA)  

Tuition fees range: Tuition fee details

Integrating diversity and inclusion into early childhood studies, Ryerson’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. Through a critical and reflective process, you will develop a deep understanding of the complex issues that affect children and their families in contemporary society.

The program is no longer accepting applications for the coming academic year of Sept. 2020-August 2021. Application submissions for Sept. 2021-August 2022 will open in October 2020. More information to follow.

Not all courses listed in the graduate calendar are offered every year. Typically 13-14 courses are offered each academic year. See current course offerings.

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

This research-based 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.

Why Early Childhood Studies at Ryerson?

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

Ryerson'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 Ryerson 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.
  • Research opportunities on immigrant families, inclusion and special needs, linguistic minority children and more.
  • Approachable faculty with expertise in early childhood care and education, child development, the sociology of childhood, children's rights, family support and social policy, and equity and inclusion.
  • 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 methods 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.

Sample research areas
  • 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 racism in early childhood settings
  • Research methods
  • Transition to school
  • Transformative literacy
Program structure

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.

Admissions requirements

To be considered for admission to Ryerson’s Master of Arts in Early Childhood Studies, 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.

Financial matters

At Ryerson, we recognize that pursuing graduate studies is a significant financial investment. There are a number of funding packages — both internal and external — available to graduate students.


We offer a number of funding opportunities that support you to pursue graduate studies. When you are accepted into the full-time Early Childhood Studies graduate program (part-time graduate students are not funded), you may be offered financial support in the form of:

  • Scholarships
  • Awards
  • Stipends
  • Bursaries
  • Assistantships

We encourage you to apply for external scholarship and award programs for which you are eligible.

Financial aid

As scholarships and awards – both internal and external – are awarded based on merit, students from Ontario who have financial need may consider applying for loans and grants through the Ontario Government Student Assistance Program.

Ryerson Graduate Student Emergency Bursaries are also available. Please contact us for further information.

Tuition fees

Tuition is calculated on the basis of your program and status (part-time or full-time), not on the number of courses that you take per term.

Your tuition is a yearly charge, which is broken into three equivalent payments for the three terms in the graduate academic calendar.

Total fees include charges for tuition, athletics, RSU - Ryerson Students’ Union, RSU health and dental plans, and other related fees. 

Ryerson Early Childhood Studies life

There is more to the Ryerson Early Childhood Studies experience than just class, books and research.

At Ryerson, we offer countless opportunities to get involved.

Our engaged students help create a vibrant campus life. The Early Childhood Studies Graduate Course Union builds a strong sense of community, and student spots such as the ECS graduate student lounge and grad study space provide lively hubs for students to relax, socialize and study. Plus, we host a local student chapter of the Council for Exceptional Children, an association for special education professionals.

And that’s without mentioning Ryerson’s innovative and world class facilities. The Student Learning Centre provides dedicated space for graduate students to study, collaborate and share ideas, and the Mattamy Athletic Centre offers Ryerson students an NHL-sized hockey rink, basketball court and fitness centre.

After graduation, you will form part of a strong alumni community. Ryerson alumni are active and involved, providing great opportunities for socializing, volunteering and networking.