School of Education - George Mason University

The professional relationships cohorts build can result in a network, which extends beyond the classroom, and can significantly help students’ career development and professional advancement.

The Early Childhood Special Education Cohort (ECSE) program is designed for the working professional. With a cohort structure, the same group of students begins, proceeds through, and completes the program together. Cohorts are inherently designed to focus on the needs of the graduate student because the environment is a shared learning experience. In other words, each member of the cohort is seen as the teacher and learner, actively participates in discussions and learning activities, and is encouraged to support everyone’s contributions to the group. See our Program Brochure for additional information.

George Mason University collaborates with Fairfax County Public Schools and other local school divisions to meet the growing need for licensed Early Childhood Special Educators. Completion of this cohort leads to Virginia licensure in ECSE (birth to five-year old) and an M.Ed. in Special Education. Cohorts with 20 or more students receive the 25% discount pricing and cohorts of fewer than 20 students receive the 15% Virginia Educators’ discount.   


  • 36 credits (10 courses plus a 6-credit internship – it may be possible to complete the internship on-the-job if the position meets eligibility requirements)
  • 7-week hybrid courses with asynchronous learning and weekly face-to-face classes in a Fairfax County school building
  • Two courses per semester, program is completed in six consecutive semesters (Spring, Summer, Fall)
  • Follows the FCPS school calendar for holidays and break periods



Complete a "Graduate Application" for a M.Ed. in Special Education with a concentration in Early Childhood Special Education Licensure. Apply now.

Application Requirements

  • A completed bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution (or international equivalent) with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or GPA of 3.0 in the last 60 hours of study (Some applicants with a lower GPA may be admitted provisionally if there is sufficient evidence of potential success.)
  • Two sealed official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended
  • Goals statement: 750-1000 words, describing your academic and career goals related to the intended program
  • Professional resume or CV
  • Two letters of recommendation: professional or academic in nature
  • International students may have to meet additional requirements (Visit for details.)

For more information, contact:
College of Education and Human Development
Early Childhood Special Education Cohort Program
Thompson Hall, Suite 1200
4400 University Drive MSN 4C2
Fairfax, VA 22030

Funding Options

  • 25% discount when more than 20 enrolled cohort students
  • 15% discount for qualified Virginia educators when fewer than 20 enrolled cohort students

Licensure Information

Mason will verify the completion of the requirements of a Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) state-approved preparation program at the graduate level. Such verification does not guarantee the issuance of a Virginia Collegiate Professional Postgraduate Professional license from the Commonwealth of Virginia. It is solely the student’s responsibility to comply with all the requirements for licensure by the commonwealth. Under Virginia law, a social security number is required for licensure.

Licensure Disclosure

This program has been identified by George Mason University as one that may lead to a career requiring professional licensure/certification. Federal regulations require Mason to disclose information as to whether this program meets/does not meet the educational requirements for licensure/certification in your state, or whether such a determination has not been made. Please consult our Licensure Disclosure Tool for the disclosure statement specific to your desired state/program combination.