Jul 25, 2024  
Graduate Catalog | 2023-2024 
Graduate Catalog | 2023-2024 Previous Edition

Early Childhood Mental Health, Graduate Certificate

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The Graduate Certificate in Early Childhood Mental Health (ECMH) program is sponsored jointly by UNC Charlotte’s School of Social Work and Department of Special Education and Child Development.  It is an interdisciplinary post-baccalaureate certificate program that addresses the increasing need for mental health services for children from birth to five years of age.  There is growing interest in infant and early childhood mental health; however, young children are rarely the focus of graduate training programs.  Whereas mental health work with older children emphasizes increased personal choice-making and negotiation skills, mental health work with younger children is focused on the quality of the child’s relationships, resources, and social environment.  Consequently, parents and other caretakers are a much more integral part of prevention and intervention efforts for young children.  Graduates of the EMCH certificate program will be able to:

  • Promote awareness about the importance of early childhood mental health
  • Work with diverse families with young children
  • Identify evidence-informed services for young children and their families
  • Recognize, refer, and perform ecologically valid mental health assessments of young children
  • Explain the relationships between social, cognitive, and communication development in young children
  • Support positive, relationship-focused communication between young children and their caretakers
  • Facilitate positive social-communication skills between young children and their caretakers in a variety of settings

General Requirements for Admission to the Graduate School

Please refer to admission information in The Graduate School  section of this Catalog.

Graduate Certificate Program Admission Requirements

The ECMH certificate program welcomes professionals with a completed undergraduate or graduate degree in a human services field, including: counseling, education, early childhood special education, pediatrics, allied health services (i.e., occupational therapy, physical therapy,  speech-language pathology), psychology, and social work.  Individuals who are currently enrolled in a human service-related graduate degree program at UNC Charlotte are also welcome to apply to the ECMH certificate program.

Admission to the Graduate Certificate in ECMH requires the following:

  1. An undergraduate degree from a college or university accredited by an accepted accrediting body
  2. A cumulative undergraduate GPA of 2.75 (For alternative ways to demonstrate academic competence, contact the Office of Teacher Education Advising and Licensure (TEAL))
  3. Three recommendation letters from persons knowledgeable of your interaction with children or youth (Applicants to the ECMH certificate program who are already enrolled in a graduate degree program in the School of Social Work or Department of Special Education and Child Development are not required to submit letters of recommendation)
  4. Statement of purpose
  5. Clear criminal background check
  6. Apply online at graduateschool.uncc.edu

Students interested only in the Graduate Certificate in ECMH are not required to take the GRE or MAT.  Certificate students who later wish to apply to the M.S.W. or M.Ed. programs must follow all admissions requirements for those programs, including entrance examinations.  Successful completion of courses in the ECMH certificate program does not guarantee admission to any other UNC Charlotte graduate program.  If a certificate-only student would like to apply for admission to either the M.S.W. or M.Ed. program, the student must complete an additional graduate application.  Students can begin the ECMH certificate program during any semester. 

If an ECMH Graduate Certificate student is accepted into a master’s degree program, courses completed in the Graduate Certificate program may be applied toward the Master of Social Work  program or the M.Ed. in Child and Family Studies  program at the discretion of the Graduate Program Director of the program to which the student applies and in compliance with existing University policy.  However, credits earned in one certificate program may not be used to satisfy the requirements of a second certificate program.  Additionally, all courses for the master’s degree must be completed within seven years of initial enrollment.  All courses for the Graduate Certificate in ECMH only must be completed within five years from initial enrollment in the certificate program.

Certificate Requirements

The certificate program requires a minimum of 12 graduate credit hours.  Courses are offered asynchronously (no class meetings) and are fully online.  Courses required for the ECMH certificate program can be taken in any order. 


Course prerequisites and corequisites for CHFD 6240  and SPED 6242  are waived for students completing only the Graduate Certificate in Early Childhood Mental Health.  Permission of the Graduate Program Director is required for enrollment in courses with prerequisites.

Certificate Total = 12 Credit Hours

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