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Childhood Special Education, M.S.

The Master’s Degree in Childhood Special Education is designed to give students a broad knowledge base through extensive study of advanced theories of human growth and development, language development, theories of cognition, perception, information processing and memory. Coursework also includes sensorimotor, social-emotional, adaptive and aesthetic development in learning situations and family contexts.

In addition, the curriculum is designed to provide students with critical skills through fieldwork experience and meaningful hands-on opportunities to apply theory to practice; develop skills such as effective communication, the designing and conducting of needs assessment, the implementing of principles of teaching and learning; the selection of appropriate instructional materials, and the principles of protocol and ethics.


The M.S. in Childhood Special Education program is open to individuals who have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution of higher education and hold initial certification in childhood education. Applicants without a valid teaching certificate may apply for admission to the program but will be required to take additional courses if accepted, as well as extend their student teaching practicum if they wish to pursue certification.


The purpose of the M.S. in Childhood Special Education program will prepare teachers with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to maximize the learning potential for individuals with special needs. Students will learn specialized methods and approaches to support students with disabilities in a range of educational settings.

The program will provide instruction in legal aspects, assessment, instructional programming, behavior management, and collaboration within the school setting.

The program at SFC is deeply rooted in the Franciscan ideals of collegiality, compassion, human dignity, and service to others. The program is also undergirded by the values of inclusivity, integrity, and forward-thinking advocated by the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC).


Upon successful completion of the program, candidates will be eligible for New York State certification in special education at the childhood level (grades 1-6). Graduates qualify for positions as elementary special education teachers, as well as non-classroom careers with higher education institutions and community and government agencies.

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