Master's program in Special Education and Literacy I

quoteA teacher who is attempting to teach without
inspiring the pupil with a desire to learn is hammering on cold iron.quote1
-- Horace Mann

This intensive program is designed to provide those with initial certification in childhood education the opportunity to make their initial certification professional, and to acquire two additional teaching certifications: Teaching Students with Disabilities at the Childhood Level (1-6), and Literacy (Birth-Grade 6). In a carefully designed sequence of courses and field experiences, individuals acquire the knowledge, skills, and certifications required to successfully teach in special education and literacy settings. Graduates of this program could work as an elementary school teacher (grades 1-6), a reading teacher (birth-grade 6), or as a special education teacher (grades 1-6).

This program begins in the Fall semester with coursework and continues for additional Spring, Summer, and Fall semester of coursework and field experiences.

Program Requirements
Full Time Study (43 credits)
Evening course work and field experiences during the school day (possible assignment to on-line courses).

Appropriate Applicants are Individuals…
with initial certification in Childhood or Elementary Education (1-6) with an undergraduate average of 3.0 or better

Certifications Earned:
Professional Certification in 
Childhood Education (1-6)
Initial and Professional Certifications in
Teaching Students with Disabilities at the Childhood Level (1-6)
Literacy (Birth-Grade 6)

Application Deadline: See graduate admissions

How to Apply

  • Complete the application at
  • Submit transcript and 3 letters of recommendation, including at least one from someone who has observed you teach
  • Submit a copy of your teaching certification(s) and NYS teacher examination scores. Those who are still completing their teacher preparation program at the time of application may submit their NYS Teacher Certification examination scores, and must submit proof of teaching certification by September 1st.

Effective Summer 2013: Graduates of the MS in Literacy and the MS in Special Education & Literacy (I and II) degree programs are certified to work with students who encounter the most difficulty with literacy, and to coach and mentor other teachers.  In order to ensure that these specialists are appropriately qualified to receive literacy specialist certification (B-6, B-12, or 5-12), students in these degree programs must receive a B or better in practicum courses before being allowed to take the capstone class.  These practicum courses include: ERDG 505, ERDG 506, ERDG 601, ERDG 605, ERDG 619, and ERDG 655.  In addition, students must also receive a B or better in the final practicum experiences ERDG 620 and/or ERDG 623.  Students receiving a B- or lower in such courses have the following options: a) retake the course for a better grade; b) request admission to a professional certification degree in the department.  This latter option might require taking additional courses.

Additional Program/NYSED Requirements:
Needs of Students with Autism Training
DASA Training

As an approved teacher preparation program with the New York State Education Department, there may be additional certification requirements applicable.  These requirements may include, but are not limited to additional workshops.  Certification procedures and requirements are outlined on the School of Education's Teacher Certification website (

Teaching is a profession.  Master's students have professional responsibilities to their students, their peers, their classmates and instructors, and to society at large.  Students in the master's program will be working with children and other professionals in education contexts, including schools, community centers, and other sites of learning.  Their professional responsibilities include following through on commitments made to children and schools, being appropriately prepared and on time for all interactions/lessons, maintaining confidentiality and respect, and interacting with all stakeholders/participants in a professional manner.  Professional interactions include everything from dressing appropriately for the situation to maintaining appropriate language both in talking with and talking about others.  Failure to meet professional responsibilities can result in a student's academic dismissal from the program.

MS in Special Education and Literacy I
Required Courses

Special Education


ESPE 650

Instructional Environments and Practices for Students with Disabilities

ESPE 651

Developing Reading Comprehension and Content Knowledge for Students with Disabilities

ESPE 652

Math and Inquiry Instruction for Students with Disabilities

ESPE 653

Managing School and Classroom-wide Student Behavior

ESPE 654

Teaching Students with Severe and Multiple Disabilities

ESPE 655

Assessment of Students with Disabilities 

ESPE 669

Educating Students with Emotional Disorders and Challenging Behavior: Advanced Tiers of Support


Clinical Internship: Teaching Students with Disabilities

ESPE 681

Clinical Internship Seminar: Teaching Students with Disabilities





ELTL 601

Practicum: Instruction to Prevent Literacy Difficulties

ELTL 610

Literacy and Society

ELTL 619

Practicum: Writing in the Classroom

ELTL 620

Practicum: Differentiated Instruction and Coaching

ELTL 655

Early Literacy Development, B-2

 (43 credits)