Non-degree Preschool to Grade 3 Endorsement Program

    Program Overview

    The non-degree Preschool to Grade 3 Endorsement Program offered at the GSE prepares certified teachers and early childhood professionals with the ability to work and be successful in diverse educational settings and an understanding of the contexts in which children grow and develop. Through completion of the required coursework, students will become knowledgeable about children’s learning and their physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development. They will also develop an understanding of the various ways in which early childhood programs can be delivered to support the foundations of discipline-based learning in areas including literacy, mathematics, science, and art. 

    This 24-credit endorsement program is available to individuals who hold a Standard Instructional Certificate or Certificate of Eligibility with Advanced Standing (CEAS) in the state of New Jersey. Students already enrolled in a degree program at the GSE, who already possess a Standard or CEAS, or are currently working toward initial teacher certification, may complete the endorsement program in conjunction with their degree program. In addition, non-degree-seeking students may complete the program on a non-matriculated basis.

    This program does not lead to a degree or initial teacher certification. 

    For more information about this program:

    Program Details

    Application Deadline

    Aug 15 / Dec 15 / May 15

    Entry Term(s)

    Fall / Spring / Summer

    Program Level


    Program Type






  • What You’ll Learn

    Students enrolled in the non-degree Preschool to Grade 3 Endorsement Program will become equipped with a comprehensive understanding of how early childhood educators use children’s experiences, interests, and ways of learning — including play — to plan responsive curricula that teach specific content and help children learn how to grasp information in both formal and informal settings. The program takes a multi-faceted, full-circle approach to teaching about the physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development of young children and methods to optimize professional practice, providing context through specialized courses such as Literacy Development in the Early Years, Art Across the Curriculum, and Child, Family, and Community: Relationship in Development. In alignment with the GSE’s commitment to excellence and equity in education, the program also integrates themes of social justice, as well as coursework to prepare teachers to empower all students from diverse linguistic, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds.

    Moreover, in alignment with the GSE’s mission, students will learn how to connect to the maker community, and how to create equitable maker-centered learning opportunities for all learners. They will receive valuable practice writing curricula and promoting pedagogical practices supporting the norms and practices of the maker community, as well as develop assessments that best evaluate the academic, professional, and personal gains made through maker-centered learning experiences, and that are aligned with common standards and rubrics in STEM education.

    For more information about the courses in this program, please visit the course catalog and online schedule of classes.

  • Program Requirements

    24 Graduate Course Credits

    • 3 Credits – Art Across the Curriculum
    • 3 Credits – Learning and Development in a Social Context: Preschool and Primary Years
    • 3 Credits – Integrated Curriculum with Young Children
    • 3 Credits – Early Childhood Curriculum Assessment
    • 3 Credits – Teaching English Language Learners or Students, Communities, and Social Justice
    • 3 Credits – Child, Family and Community: Relationship in Development
    • 3 Credits – Cognition and Language Birth to Age 8: Normal Development and Implications for Risk and Disability
    • 3 Credits – Literacy Development in the Early Years


    • Students will be participating in an online instructional and evaluation system that will archive artifacts from classes to be specified by the faculty. Students must submit artifacts for this online portfolio throughout their program as directed by their program faculty. 

    Students are expected to maintain a “B” or better average as a non-degree student. Accepted students will have 5 years to complete the program. After completing all of the required courses in the program, students should contact the Office of Academic Services at the GSE to notify them and to secure an application for the state endorsement. GSE personnel will then forward the completed application to Trenton along with a recommendation that the certification be awarded.

    Additional Requirements for New Jersey Certification:

    New Jersey statute N.J.S.A. 18A:37-22 requires that educators entering the workforce in the 2012 school year and beyond must have completed through their pre-service preparation (e.g., courses, practicum) a program on harassment, intimidation, and bullying (HIB) prevention. The HIB prevention requirements apply to the following programs: (a) teachers and education services personnel certifications; and (b) administrative certifications, including chief school administrators, principals, and supervisors. Details on the required training can be found here.

  • Careers and Outcomes

    Graduates of the non-degree Preschool to Grade 3 Endorsement Program will exit prepared to work in New Jersey public schools (as well as non-traditional education settings) serving young children, from age 3 through Grade 3, and their families. Beyond acting as education practitioners, graduates may also come to assume administrative, consultant, or supervisory roles helping oversee and or administer early childhood education programs or initiatives. Students who complete the endorsement program may find that it allows them to enter into a new specialization they’ve yet to explore, or advance or stay competitive in a space they already have knowledge in as well. Beyond those working in traditional education settings, other childcare professionals such as family child care providers may benefit from the program. The endorsement offers a comprehensive look at the latest research in the field and can lead to potential career benefits like advancement, role flexibility, or leadership responsibility. 

  • Admissions Requirements
    • Electronic copy of a New Jersey Standard Instructional Certificate or a Certificate of Eligibility with Advanced Standing (CEAS).
    • Statement of Program Intent
    • Undergraduate transcripts

    Applicants are responsible for reviewing and confirming that they meet all requirements before the application is submitted. Rutgers Graduate School of Education will not refund the application fee if an applicant is not accepted.

  • How to Apply

    Current Rutgers University Students:

    All applicants who are currently enrolled in a program at Rutgers University and wish to begin the certificate program while continuing their current program should contact the GSE Office of Student and Academic Services (OSAS) at

    Non-Rutgers University Students:

    1. Collect the materials required for admission
    2. Submit your application online at
    3. Submit supporting materials online
    4. Any supporting materials that cannot be submitted electronically should be mailed to Graduate Admissions’ New Brunswick office. Their mailing address can be found here:
  • Tuition


    Click here for the New Brunswick Graduate tuition rates.

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