Embrace, Educate, Empower with Mississippi State Online

The Early Intervention program is an innovative and comprehensive program designed to address the shortage of trained professionals with expertise in working with infants, toddlers and preschoolers with special needs and their families. Master of Science in Early Intervention degree program of study is framed by developmental, ecological, and family systems theories and recommended practices that emphasize the interactive nature of early development.

Program highlights:

  • Early intervention specialists are child development experts who design and modify evidence-based plans to promote the highest level of functioning for young children.
  • The program will draw upon a range of approaches that acknowledge the central role of the family in a child's life with services provided in natural, community-based, and clinical environments.
What are some potential careers?

Potential careers may include working in areas such as IDEA- Part C programs, early care and education programs, preschool classrooms, hospitals and clinics.

Who should pursue this degree?

If you have a high energy level, enjoy working with infants, toddlers and preschoolers and their families and can multitask, then, you are well suited to the types of careers for which this degree will prepare you.

Potential careers may include working in areas such as IDEA- Part C programs, early care and education programs, preschool classrooms, hospitals and clinics.

Program Structure

The online Master of Science in Early Intervention requires a minimum of 30 semester hours which consists of 8 three-credit-hour courses and 6-credit hours of practicum experience.

These courses are offered in a synchronous format at this time, meaning it is required to attend these class at set dates and times listed in the Master Class Schedule.

Listed below is the tentative course schedule for the Master of Science in Early Intervention. Students should discuss course availability with their major professor prior to each registration period, as the schedule may change.

Core Curriculum Classes

Course Number Course Title Hours
HDFS 8823 Advanced Theories of Human Development and Family Relations 3
AELC 8803 Application of Research Methods 3
HDFS 8113 Trends in Infant and Child Development 3
HDFS 8123 Effects of Poverty on Children and Families 3

Early Intervention Content Courses

Course Number Course Title Hours
HDFS 8503 Medical Aspects of Developmental Disability in Early Childhood 3
HDFS 8513 Inclusion & Family Centered Early Intervention 3
HDFS 8533 Instructional Strategies & Practice for Early Intervention 3
EDX 6813 Introduction to Assessment in Special Education 3
HDFS 8543 Practicum I 3
HDFS 8553 Practicum II 3
Total Hours 30

Course Rotation

Fall Spring Summer
HDFS 8823 Advanced Theories of Human Development and Family Relations HDFS 8123 Effects of Poverty on Children and Families HDFS 8513 Inclusion and Family Centered Early Intervention
HDFS 8503 Medical Aspects of Developmental Disability in Early Childhood AELC 8803 Application of Research Methods *HDFS 8553 Practicum II
EDX 6813 Introduction to Assessment in Special Education HDFS 8113 Trends in Infant and Child Development HDFS 8533 Instructional Strategies and Practice for Early Intervention
    *HDFS 8543 Practicum I

*Practicums can vary and may be offered to accommodate the student’s schedule

Practicum Experiences

The Early Intervention Practicums provide students with opportunities to learn and practice the various roles of the early interventionist in a variety of different settings and demonstrate competence as a beginning early interventionist.

Practicum I will focus on children birth to 36 months and Practicum II will focus on children 3 to 5 years old. Each student will work closely with an assigned university supervisor and a cooperating professional from their individual placement site.

The Practicum placement site should be determined one semester prior to registering for the practicum, as an affiliation agreement must be finalized prior to the beginning of the practicum experience. Practicum students will spend 8 – 10 hours a week at the practicum site for a full semester. Practicums may be available fall, spring, or summer semesters, depending on the student's schedule.

Other Requirements for Practicum Students:

All practicums require the student to spend time with children in natural, community, or school environments. To be eligible for participation in the practicum courses, the student must complete a Federal Background Check and Child Abuse Registry. The student will be provided with the necessary paperwork and instructions indicating how to complete the both required clearances.

These clearances must be finalized by the second semester of the student's program. If not finalized by the indicated dates, as per the academic advisor, the student will not be allowed to participate as a practicum student.

Furthermore, if a criminal infraction is identified on either of these clearances, the student will not be allowed to participate in the practicum courses. Additionally, if a student has an infraction on either or both of the required clearances (Federal Background Check and Child Abuse Registry), he or she should consult the Program Coordinator as early as possible for advice on whether he or she will be able to successfully complete the degree program. The University cannot guarantee that a person with criminal infractions on their clearances will be permitted to register for the practicum courses, thus not allowing the student to finish the program requirements.

Licensure

Teacher licensure is available for this degree from the Mississippi State Department of Education. Class AA

EITHER

  • Hold a five-year educator license
  • Complete a master's degree program in
    Special Education/ Birth to Kindergarten
    OR
    Hold a master's degree in another area and complete an approved program for Special Education/Birth to Kindergarten

OR

  • Complete an approved master's program for a degree in Special Education/Birth to Kindergarten
  • Twenty-one (21) ACT equivalent or achieve the nationally recommended passing score on the Praxis CORE (Core Academic Skills for Educators) examination
    • The Mississippi Board of Education has suspended all entrance and licensure testing requirements including ACT, PRAXIS CORE, PRAXIS Content, PLT, and Foundations of Reading for all applications submitted on or before December 31, 2021. This ruling applies whether there are previous test scores which are too low on file or not.
  • Praxis II Principles of Learning & Teaching Test 5622
    Licensure Guidelines

Comprehensive Exam

Students are required to pass an oral comprehensive examination covering all coursework included in the program of study during an online meeting. Students must be within the last 6 hours or in the terminal semester of coursework to take the examination.

The student, major professor, and committee will determine when to schedule this examination. The major professor will solicit possible questions from the instructors of all courses in the student's program of study. The examination should include a minimum of one question related to each of the classes the student has taken as part of the program of study.

The major professor will preside over the examination. Questions will be asked by the major professor, members of the student's committee, and any instructors of courses covered in the exam, depending on their availability to attend. The decision to pass or fail is solely that of the graduate committee. A majority vote is sufficient for a decision.

Admissions Requirements

Applications for the degree programs are reviewed three times a year. The application deadlines for those semesters are as follows:

  • Fall Semester – August 1
  • Spring Semester – December 1
  • Summer Semester – May 15

Students seeking full admission into Master of Science in Early Intervention program should apply as a classified student. Non-degree seeking students wishing to take classes offered through the Online program should apply as an Unclassified student.


An applicant for admission to graduate study must hold a bachelor's degree from a fully recognized four-year educational institution that has unconditional accreditation with appropriate regional accrediting agencies. They must meet the admission requirements of the Graduate School and the Master of Science in Early Intervention program.

Regular admission to graduate study in the program requires a minimum grade point average (last four semesters of undergraduate work) of 3.00/4.00. When a student is deficient in one of the criteria cited, the student's application, nevertheless, may be considered for admission based on the strength of other materials contained in the student's application.


Attention International Students

International students are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and score greater than 550. Detailed information regarding international applications can be found in the Graduate Catalog. Questions regarding international applications can be addressed to the Office of the Graduate School at gradapps@grad.msstate.edu.

  • ETS is providing home testing for the TOEFL iBT test, and MSU is encouraging students to take advantage of this testing option. For those students applying who have taken the TOEFL within five years of the semester they plan to enroll and are unable to access the TOEFL iBT test from home, we will accept your previous test scores.

Admission Options

Domestic/International Classified Admissions

  1. Submit online application. You will choose Master of Science / Early Intervention as your Program of Study and Online Education as your campus.
  2. Statement of Purpose
    • (500-1000 words) describing the applicant’s purpose for undertaking graduate study, including professional plans and career goals. Provide two to three paragraphs on who you are, why you want your MS in MSEI, and why you selected Mississippi State University’s Distance program. You may even discuss your past academic performance and what that says about your ability to succeed in a graduate-level program. For international, non-native speakers of English, TOEFL scores indicative of ability to successfully complete graduate work.
  3. Sole Authored Writing Sample
    • The writing sample should be relevant in subject matter to education/early intervention, if possible. The writing sample should be grammatically correct and free of typographical errors and misspellings. Additionally, be careful to omit any confidential and privileged information from your writing sample. For example, if you are submitting a case study, delete names or any other identifying information. Examples may include:
      • Grand or project proposal
      • Paper or case study submitted for class
      • Journal, Newspaper, or Magazine Article
      • Brochure or Newsletter
  4. Three letters of recommendation
    • You will be asked to submit three names and three email addresses of individuals you are using as references. Once you click submit, these individuals will be sent an email from MSU, which will provide a link to an online form for completing their recommendations.
  5. TOEFL or IELTS scores are required for international students
    • ETS is providing home testing for the TOEFL iBT test, and MSU is encouraging students to take advantage of this testing option. For those students applying for the summer or fall 2020 semester who have taken the TOEFL within five years of the semester they plan to enroll and are unable to access the TOEFL iBT test from home, we will accept your previous test scores.
    • The department evaluates the overall admissions packet in considering a student for the program.
  6. One official transcript showing bachelor’s degree or progress toward degree. (For international students, please submit a copy in native language along with translated copies, if appropriate.)
  7. One official transcript showing ALL work after bachelor’s degree. (For international students, please submit a copy in native language along with translated copies, if appropriate.)
    • Electronic transcripts should be sent to: gradapps@grad.msstate.edu Mississippi State University, Graduate School. Only one copy of an electronic transcript is required.
    • Paper Transcripts Address (USPS):
      Mississippi State University
      The Office of the Graduate School
      P.O. Box G
      Mississippi State, MS 39762
    • Physical Street Address (for DHL, Fed Ex, UPS, DHS, etc.):
      Mississippi State University
      The Office of the Graduate School
      175 President Circle
      116 Allen Hall
      Mississippi State, MS 39762
  8. Payment of $60 non-refundable application processing fee for domestic students.
    Payment of $80 non-refundable application processing fee for international students.
  9. Once you are admitted, you will receive an email with complete instructions on registering for classes and contacting your advisor

Courses

HDFS 8823 Advanced Theories of Human Development and Family Relations
Three hours lecture. Advanced study of theories of human development and family studies across the lifespan.


AELC 8803 Application of Research Methods
Three hours lecture. Principles and techniques for planning, conducting, and reporting research; development of effective design of research problems; emphasis on understanding and evaluating scientific reports.


HDFS 8113 Trends in Infant and Child Development
Three hours lecture. Overview of current research in infant and child development; implications for program development and advocacy.


HDFS 8123 Effects of Poverty on Children and Families
Three hours lecture. Exploration of the impact of poverty on children and families, identification of risk/protective factors, and development of family and child interventions to reduce risk.


HDFS 8503 Medical Aspects of Developmental Disability in Early Childhood
Three hours lecture. The course provides the early intervention professional with information on health care issues, diagnostic testing, and medical conditions relevant to infants and young children with disabilities.


HDFS 8513 Inclusion and Family Centered Early Intervention
Three hours lecture. The course will focus on the knowledge and skills needed to work effectively with very young children (birth to 5 years), and their families in inclusive and natural environments. Students will explore issues related to the impact that disability has on development.


HDFS 8533 Instructional Strategies and Practice for Early Intervention
Three hours lecture. This course is designed to create a framework for the effective application of instructional strategies in early intervention. Instructional design and strategies will be illustrated through hands-on activities. Course content is linked to developmental learning theories and evidence-based teaching practices.


EDX 6813 Introduction to Assessment in Special Education
Assessment as it relates specifically to working with special education students. Topics to be covered will include Special Education Law, IEP development, and related topics.


HDFS 8543 Practicum I
(Prerequisite: Must be enrolled as a graduate student in the MS in Early Intervention program and have a 3.00 GPA to be eligible for this course) Three hours practicum. University-supervised student teaching experience in an IDEA-Part C home visiting/intervention program.


HDFS 8553- Practicum II
(Prerequisite: Must be enrolled as a graduate student in the MS in Early Intervention and have a 3.00 GPA to be eligible for this course) Three hours practicum. Student teaching experience in inclusive preschool programs for children with disabilities under the direction of a cooperating teacher.

See More


Contact Information

Photo of Daphne Knox

Daphne Knox

Online Education

  • Coordinator
Photo of Dr. Julie Parker

Dr. Julie Parker

Human Development and Family Studies

  • Associate Professor