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Education of Young Children B.A. Program Details


Birth-Kindergarten Licensure qualifies individuals to work with children ages birth through five years, including children who have disabilities. It is an interdisciplinary license incorporating best practices from early childhood education, child and family studies and early childhood special education. Individuals who earn this license are qualified to work in a variety of early childhood settings including public schools, developmental day centers, child care centers and early intervention programs.

In the state of North Carolina, licensure is required for teachers in public preschool (4-year-olds) and kindergarten classrooms. UNCW's Birth-Kindergarten Program emphasizes:

  • Teacher-directed and child-directed learning activities to meet the individual developmental and learning needs of young children.
  • Inclusion of children with special needs in classrooms with children who are developing typically.
  • Collaboration with families as the primary teachers and decision-makers for their children.
  • Respect for diversity of children and families, including diversity in culture, language and ability.

In North Carolina, individuals holding either Birth-Kindergarten or Elementary (K-6) licensure are fully qualified to teach Kindergarten. We believe that the principles and practices taught in the Education of Young Children program are especially appropriate for meeting the developmental and learning needs of children in kindergarten. Some school systems in North Carolina may prefer that kindergarten teachers have B-K licensure, whereas others may prefer Elementary licensure for kindergarten teachers.

Typically, there is no preference. However, if you are interested in teaching kindergarten and know the school system in which you wish to teach, you may want to inquire about whether that school system has a preference. We do recommend that EYC majors explore the option of taking the North Carolina Foundations of Reading and General Curriculum exam (NCEL) so that they will be licensed to teach in grades above kindergarten.

The answer to this question depends on many factors, including your existing degree or license, the number of related courses you have taken in the past, your related experience, the number of courses you can take at one time, and the availability of summer and/or online courses during the time you are enrolled. Recently, students who are enrolled part-time have completed their programs of study in 1½ to 3 years.

Students who are enrolled full-time can generally finish more quickly, but up to two years may still be needed for full-time students who have an undergraduate degree in an unrelated field. It is important to remember that a significant commitment of time and energy is required to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to work effectively with young children and their families.

You may take the following courses prior to being admitted to WCE: EDN 200 and lab, EDN 204, EDN 302 and lab, EDN 303 and EDN 280. You may also take SED 250 and required courses outside the School of Education i.e., SKW 311, SOC 345, etc. To take Early Childhood Education courses numbered higher than 302, or Education courses from other Education programs higher than 303, you need to be formally admitted to the WCE.

You can take education courses numbered 303 or lower and the EYC interdisciplinary courses without being admitted to the WCE. However, to take education course numbered higher than 303 you need to be formally admitted to the WCE.

It is important to understand that admission to the Watson College of Education (WCE) is a separate process, completed after you are admitted to UNC Wilmington and often after you have completed some of your coursework.


Plan to complete admissions requirements and apply for admission by the end of your sophomore year. View admission requirements and how to complete them.

Individuals with Degrees but No Teacher Licensure Who are Adding B-K

Apply for admission to WCE in the semester when you will complete your first 9-12 hours at UNCW. Note that in order to avoid delays in eligibility to take upper-level Education courses one must be admitted to WCE. Admission requirements for individuals with existing BA/BS degrees typically include meeting minimum GPA requirements, a minimum of 9 semester hours of UNCW credit, and completing an application. View the Checklist for Completion of the Post-baccalaureate Non-degree Licensure-only Program.

Individuals with Teacher Licensure in Another Area

During your first semester at WCE, complete an online application for admission to WCE. The online admission application can be found in MySeaport:

  • Click on the Students tab
  • Scroll down to the Academics section on the right-hand side
  • Select Apply to Watson College of Education Program

It is possible to double-major in Education of Young Children and another non-Education field such as Social Work or Psychology. Students who are interested in double-majoring should consult the second department for program requirements.

Completion of a degree with a double major takes longer than completion of a degree with the EYC major only. For students who wish to earn teacher licensure in more than one area, the most efficient way to accomplish this goal is to earn a degree and licensure in one area and then add licensure in a second area.

For example, one additional year of study is needed to add Elementary licensure to a degree in Education of Young Children with B-K licensure. However, it would take longer to complete an undergraduate degree with majors in both EYC and Elementary Education.

Yes. However, the type and length of the internship depends on the student's program of study and whether or not the student is currently teaching at the Pre-K level in an approved setting. An internship is taken at the END of a student's course of study, just before they are ready to graduate. There are five different internships available in the EYC program. Consult the catalog and your advisor for more information.

  • EDN 465 (9) requires one full semester (15 weeks) of internship in an early childhood setting. This internship is designed for undergraduate students pursuing a B-K licensure
  • EDN 467 (6) requires a total of 240 hours of internship in a semester equivalent of about 15 hours per week. Specific experiences and requirements will be designed to complement the student's career goals (e.g., classroom setting, early intervention, administration, child-life specialist)
  • EDN 466 (3) this internship is designed to help practicing Pre-K teachers without B-K licensure to complete their practicum at their place of work in own classroom.
  • Students adding B-K licensure to an existing and current NC professional educator’s license are exempt from completing an internship.

Approved settings include all public-school settings or any other alternative school settings approved by the appropriate public agency in the state. Alternative approved school settings are any organizations under contract to the local school system (e.g., Developmental Day program, Easter Seals UCP, and NC Public Pre-K housed in private child care centers).

Student interests and input are integrated into the decision-making process; however, students are not able to choose their internship sites. Internship and program coordinators work to match student interests with the best available site and partnership teacher.

Students are required to apply for Student Teaching (EDN 465, EDN 466, EDN 467) early in the semester prior to their student teaching. There is a mandatory orientation meeting each Fall and each Spring for students applying to student teach during the following semester. The dates for these meetings are mid-September for Spring student teaching and the end of January/first of February for Fall student teaching and are announced well in advance before the meeting (notices emailed and posted through building). Students may also check the Office of Professional Experiences website for the dates.

Currently, some of the general education including some interdisciplinary courses have online option but a majority of the EYC courses are held face-to-face since they incorporate a great deal of instructional materials and concrete experiences to assure a rich learning experience for students.

However, video conferencing is available for remote learners. Individuals living outside the Wilmington area can log in and attend the EYC classes virtually using Zoom when the class meets on campus (synchronous). The majority of the EYC classes meet once a week, 5:30-8:15 or 6:30–9:15 pm.

Most of the students in the program work during the day so majority of our classes are scheduled for late afternoons and evenings. Depending on their plan of study, students can expect to be in class 3-4 nights per week.

The suggested program of study is posted on the EYC web site. Since EYC courses are offered only once per year (fall or spring) students must plan their schedules carefully and plan ahead several semesters. Thus, it is necessary that you work with your program advisor to ensure that all requirements are met.

Yes. Field experience hours are required in several of the EYC courses. In addition, field experiences are an integral part of the EYC curriculum. There are three field experience courses (EDNL 302, 430, and 451), one each semester of the program and each taken in conjunction with one or more method courses during the same semester.

Although each field experience requirement has its own specific purpose and placement procedures, they are to extend the principles and practices of the EYC program goals. A minimum of 30-45 clock hours of fieldwork is required for each of these field experiences. Licensure-only students are exempt from the three field experience courses.

Undergraduate students must take and pass Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators Test for admission to Watson College of Education and enrollment in education courses numbered higher than EDN 303 unless SAT or ACT scores allow exemption. The test measures academic skills in reading, writing and mathematics. The three required sections for Praxis Core are: Reading (#5712), Math (#5732), and Writing (#5722) or the combined test (#5751). This test is offered only as a computer-based test. For more information visit the Praxis website.

Students majoring in the Education of Young Children program (B-K) are not required to take any Praxis test. They may take the North Carolina Foundations of Reading and General Curriculum exam (NCEL) to add an Elementary Education license (K-6).

The Birth-Kindergarten Add-on license gives the individual teaching credentials to teach infants, toddlers, preschoolers and kindergarteners with and without developmental disabilities. It is an inclusive teacher licensure with a focus on children with developmental delays as well as children who are typically developing. Individuals employed by the public schools are required to have a Birth-Kindergarten or a Pre-school licensure in order to teach in public school supported preschools or kindergartens.

The Pre-School Add-on license approved by the North Carolina State Board of Education, gives the individual teaching credentials to teach only three- and four-year old children with and without disabilities in the public schools of North Carolina.

There are a variety of employment opportunities besides teaching for students who major in Education of Young Children. For other potential positions for EYC majors, please see career opportunities.