Project MounTaiN: A 2-year Funded Master’s in Early Childhood Unified (Special and General) Education

Project Mountain logo

Project Description


Join Project MounTaiN to earn your Master’s in Early Childhood Unified Special Education at the #1 public Special Education program!



    Learn from national experts to become a leader in:

    • Intensive Intervention
    • Collaboration
    • Family-Centered Practices
    • Evidence-Based Intervention
    • Inclusion


    Scholar Benefits



    • Full tuition coverage
    • Health insurance
    • Student teaching stipends
    • Childcare supplement stipends
    • Opportunity for fellowship



    • 2023-

    Target Audience

    • Graduate Students


    • Office of Special Education Programs

    • Grant #H325K230087

    Project Status

    • In Progress



    • Maria Hugh, PhD., BCBA

      Maria Hugh, PhD., BCBA

    • Alana Schnitz, PhD., BCBA-D

      Alana Schnitz, PhD., BCBA-D

    • Kathleen Zimmerman Tuck, PhD., BCBA-D

      Kathleen Zimmerman Tuck, PhD., BCBA-D

    • Dr. Greg Cheatham Headshot

      Gregory Cheatham, Ph. D.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


    Who is eligible to apply?

    • This United States Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) funding requires students to be US Citizens or Permanent Residents. International Students are not eligible
    • Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree by the time they enter the program.


    What is the financial support?

    • Project Mountain students receive:
      • Full tuition coverage
      • A health insurance stipend
      • A technology stipend
      • A caregiving stipend to supplement care when in class


    • Project MounTaiN students are also eligible for living stipends the following ways:
      • To offset expenses associated with leaving a work position to gain student teaching experience, fieldwork/Student Teaching stipends are available for scholars for whom their worksite may not be eligible as a fieldwork site for some students.
      • Scholars in each cohort may apply for and be considered for an additional leadership/research experience fellowship for 20 hours/week with Dr. Hugh or Dr. Zimmerman.
        • There are funds for this for a few scholars per cohort and would be particularly beneficial for folks who want research and leadership experience.


    How do I indicate I’m interested in Project MounTaiN?

    • All applicants who meet eligibility requirements will be considered for Project MounTaiN funding.
      • There are some ways you can indicate your interest as well:
        • In your cover letter, describe your interest in working with students with disabilities. You can also state that you are interested in Project MounTaiN specifically in here.
        • You can also indicate if you are interested in the additional Leadership Fellowship (Which has an additional $17,000/year stipend, and requires 20 hours a week of available time during the traditional “school day” to collaborate on leadership and research experiences).
          • These Leadership and fellowship experiences are offered with Dr. Maria Hugh and Dr. Katie (Zimmerman) Tuck. You may look at their research and reach out to them to learn more.
        • E-mail


    How long is the program?

    • We are enrolling the first cohort to start in Fall 2024 (and complete by August 2026)
    • This is a rigorous two-year master’s program with 2 classes/semester with coursework meeting requirements to apply for initial ECU licensure in KS.
      • Classes meet in the evenings, though thtere are practical aspects to coursework required during the school day that can be met within some current worksites or field placements.


    • The program enrollment begins in Fall and is completed by August in the second year.


    Is there a fully online program?


    • No. One of the unique aspects of KU’s ECU program is that it is in person, with hybrid set up to provide students access. This helps us provide rigorous and high quality training with practice and feedback of skills.
    • Project Mountain and KU ECU program is an in-person program with hybrid courses at KU Edwards and KU Lawrence. You may enroll in either site and it should be the same site throughout your program.
      • Typically, about 1/3 of a course will be offered at each site, and online.
    • For example, one week a course will meet at KU Lawrence and KU Edwards students will zoom in from either Edwards campus or a place of their choosing. The next week the instructor and course will meet at KU Edwards and the KU Lawrence students will zoom in. The next week all students may join the instructor on zoom.
    • There are other ways these courses meet as well, wherein we will have expert teaching assistants support in-person sessions at one site while the instructor is at another, switching regularly so students all have access to each instructor but always meeting in person.
      • Likewise, some classes are fully online.


    How many spots will be available for this program?


    • We plan to enroll about 8 students per project cohort (one starting Fall 2024 and ending Summer 2026, and one cohort starting Fall 2026 and ending Summer 2028).
    • There may be more students in the KU ECU program who are not part of Project MounTaiN


    Do students work outside the progam during the program?


    • Project MounTaiN only stipulates the requirements for courses and adequate progress. Many students in our KU ECU program maintain full-time employment, while others work part-time.
      • Courses are in the evening and students are expected to attend those fully to the best of their ability (I.e., not to “attend class via zoom while also working”).
    • Fieldwork experiences are scheduled in the final Spring and Summer semesters and require either a worksite or off-worksite location (see below) during typical school hours.


    Can my fieldwork placement be at my worksite?


    • There are specific criteria for fieldwork placements according to the Kansas Department of Education, KU School of Education, and Project MounTaiN.
      • As a result, worksites can be evaluated to determine if they are appropriate as a fieldwork placement on a case-by-case basis to ensure that all requirements are met (which includes serving students with individualized support needs) and the student is supported at their site with quality supervision.


    Learn More!

    Please visit this link or email for more information!