Division of Special Education
The University at Albany;
Albany, NY 12222
1. How many students are admitted each year?
Each year approximately 40-50 students are admitted into all the special education programs. Admission to the program is competitive. We receive applications from more qualified applicants than we can accept.
2. What are the admissions criteria?
Many factors including the applicant’s GPA (undergraduate cumulative average of 3.0 or above desired), recommendations, written statement, and a writing sample are considered in the admissions process. After this initial screening, the most promising applicants are invited to an on-campus interview before the final decisions are made. It is recommended students with undergraduate GPA's significantly below the desired level of 3.0 take some graduate courses as non-matriculated students and earn at least a 3.5 GPA in them before applying.
3. Can I keep my job while in the program?
Students enrolled in the MS in Special Education – Inclusion, or the MS in Special Education – Inclusion and Special Education programs may complete these programs on a part-time basis, and maintain their employment. However, these programs do not lead to certification in special education unless the applicant has initial certification in it upon entry. In the two year master’s degree program in Special Education and Literacy for noncertified students, it may be possible to maintain employment during the first year of the program. However, you would have to have flexibility in hours to complete the required practica experiences which occur on two afternoons beginning at 2PM. The other master’s degree programs all require full-time summer field experiences and internships during the fall and/or spring semesters that preclude employment during those periods.Most of the required courses are held in the evenings (typically 4-7PM, and occasionally 7-10PM). However, it is possible that some courses will be offered during the day.
4. Why do you require such intensive field experiences and internships?
It is our belief that you must have intensive experiences implementing the instructional skills that you learn in your coursework in order to be an effective teacher. We do not believe that you can master all the competencies necessary for being a special education teacher in a shorter period of time.
5. How do I pay for this program?
During their internships, students may receive a stipend. Some diversity scholarships may also be available; applications are available on the graduate office website (http://www.albany.edu/gradstudies/div.shtml). Many students also finance the program through savings and student loans. It is possible that Federal or State grants may be available.
6. How did the changes in New York State Teacher Certification affect the special education programs?
In the past, students with any teaching certification were eligible to complete our programs and receive special education teaching certification at the completion of the program. Now, however, only those students with certification to teach students at the childhood level (1-6) will be able to complete the new one year programs leading to certification as a teacher of students with disabilities at the childhood level. The new certification requirements are age level specific and a student must also hold certification in general education at the level of the special education credential. As a result, students with other certifications (art, music, physical education, secondary subject areas, etc.) would be eligible for only the 2 year master’s degree in Special Education and Literacy that is designed for individuals without certification, or without childhood certification. Upon completion of this program, students will have certification in three areas: childhood education (1-6), literacy (birth to grade 6), and teaching students with disabilities at the childhood level.
7. What if I don’t want to be a special education teacher, but want to learn the skills to help me work with students with disabilities who are included in my regular education class?
The MS in Special Education – Inclusion is designed to prepare general educators to adapt instruction for students with disabilities. This program, which can be completed on a part-time basis, requires coursework in special education, but does not have field experiences or internship requirements. It does not lead to certification for teaching students with disabilities, but, upon completion, will result in professional certification in the area of the student’s initial certificate
8. What are the policies for the Division of Special Education?
Please click the links below for documents regarding the policies of the Division of Special Education.