Teacher helping a child to read

Master of Science 

Special Education and Literacy (I)

Program of Study

To fully prepare you to work with exceptional children in elementary classrooms, this curriculum includes intensive practicum and internship experiences.

Graduates are commonly employed as elementary school, special education, and literacy teachers in public and private elementary schools, and as specialists in disability services and community agencies.

Teaching Literacy to Diverse Students

  • Classroom Literacy Instruction
  • Practicum: Instruction to Prevent Literacy Difficulties
  • Literacy in Society
  • Developing Reading Comprehension and Content Knowledge for Students with Disabilities

Practica in Literacy Instruction

  • Writing in the Classroom, 1-6
  • Differentiated Instruction and Coaching, B-6

Teaching Children with Special Needs

  • Instructional Environments and Practices for Students with Disabilities
  • Math and Inquiry Instruction for Students with Disabilities
  • Teaching Students with Severe and Multiple Disabilities
  • Students with Emotional Disorders and Challenging Behaviors: Advanced Tiers of Support
  • Assessment of Students with Disabilities
  • Managing School and Classroom-Wide Student Behavior to Promote Efficient and Effective Instruction

Clinical Internship with Integrated Seminar in Teaching Students with Disabilities

In this full-time internship, you gain supervised clinical experience working with students with disabilities in education settings. The accompanying seminar covers special topics to help you succeed in your fieldwork.

Master's Project

NYSED Training requirements

  • Needs of Students with Autism Training
  • Dignity for All Students Act (DASA)

To pursue professional certification once you complete the program, you must request the University recommend you to the New York State Department of Education.


See the Graduate Bulletin for details.

For more information, contact Dr. Matthew LaFave at [email protected].

This program is approved for licensure or certification in New York State and the institution has not made a determination regarding the educational requirements for any other state.

NYS Teacher Certification

Earning this master's degree qualifies you to achieve initial/professional certification in teaching literacy to children from birth through sixth grade and initial/professional certification in teaching students with disabilities from first through sixth grade.

In addition, this graduate program leads to professional teacher certification in childhood education (grades 1-6) in New York State.

Upon receiving the Literacy B-6 certificate, teachers with a childhood certificate may apply for early childhood certification directly through the New York State Education Department.

Story time in class
Practical Training

As a graduate student at UAlbany, you move through an integrated sequence of courses and field experiences in which you acquire the knowledge needed to successfully teach in special education and literacy settings.

Courses are held online or in the evening on campus. During the school day, you develop skills teaching special education classes and interacting with students, colleagues, and administrators in elementary schools and human service organizations.

Student getting help reading

Admissions Requirements


     Deadline 1: March 15
     Deadline 2: April 15
     Deadline 3: May 15
Spring: Not Available
Summer: Not Available

There is no departmental assistantship consideration for this program.

Required Application Materials
  • Transcripts from all schools attended
  • Three letters of recommendation

Supplemental Documents

Prior teaching certificate in Elementary/Childhood Education


Available information for applicants.


Special Notes

NY State Certification program. This program is not available to international applicants. Full consideration will be given to applicants who apply by the Priority Review Deadline. Prior teaching certificate in Elementary/Childhood Education required for entrance to program. 

Applicants to this program should include copies of teaching certifications held. Admission is contingent on proof of valid New York State Teaching Certification and passing grades on these examinations for all applicants.

Please note: This program requires an internship, field experience, study abroad component, or clinical experience requirement. Students who have previously been convicted of a felony are advised that their prior criminal history may impede their ability to complete the requirements of certain academic programs and/or to meet licensure requirements for certain professions.  If applicants have concerns about this matter please contact the Dean’s Office of the intended academic program.   


The University at Albany is a member in good standing of the Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP), a national accrediting organization recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.


Logo for the AAQEP - Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation
See accreditation details.

The programs listed below have been awarded full accreditation by AAQEP through June 30, 2028. Full accreditation acknowledges that a program prepares effective educators who continue to grow as professionals and has demonstrated the commitment and capacity to maintain quality.

AAQEP-Accredited Programs and Annual Reports at the University at Albany

Advanced Graduate Certificate Programs

Master of Science Programs

Careers and Advisement

The Pathways Into Education (PIE) Center is the central office on campus serving undergraduate, graduate, and prospective students interested in pursuing careers in education and programs leading to teacher certification.

Please call or email to schedule an appointment.

Graduate Advisement:
Email Graduate Advisement
(518) 442-3529