NACOGDOCHES, Texas - Stephen F. Austin State University has been named one of the top 10 best value colleges in the nation for its online master's degree in early childhood education by College Values Online, a website dedicated to helping students select the best university for them.

"As faculty members, we are proud of the knowledge and experiences our students gain through the innovative and diverse degree program at SFA," said Dr. Susan Casey, program coordinator for SFA's online master's degree in early childhood education. "We are excited about the recognition because it validates the degrees our students receive and enables them to further their career opportunities."

The ranking criteria include awards and recognition, 20-year net return on investments, customization options, innovative programs, scholarship and internship opportunities, related student organizations and more.

"In today's world of diverse experiences, there are various challenges in the work place, and knowledge is the key to unlocking the potential of all of our graduate students," Casey said. "This degree will open the door for them as they enter the work environment in hospitals, early childhood state intervention programs, childcare centers, day care licensing, lead teacher roles and many other fields. Our world will always have children to educate, and the master's degree opens endless possibilities."

SFA's Master of Education in early childhood education is a 36-credit hour program and is designed to develop specialized competency in organizing programs for young children and families through in-depth study and research related to child growth and development, theoretical underpinnings of classroom practice, development of learning strategies and sociological and psychological factors influencing behavior in young children.

Courses are offered completely online through SFA's learning management system, Desire2Learn, and they are taught in half-semester formats. Students may determine the pace at which they progress, but generally, it takes two years to complete the program.

"Our early childhood master's degree program allows students to fully participate in active learning no matter where they live," Casey said.

For more information, visit