Jun 19, 2024  
2022-2023 Graduate Studies Bulletin 
2022-2023 Graduate Studies Bulletin [ARCHIVED BULLETIN]

Special Education, MSEd in Early Childhood

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Assistant Professor Hernandez, Graduate Program Director, 516-463-5968

For students with New York State Certification in Early Childhood Education (birth-grade 2), or Childhood Education (grades 1-6) to become teachers of young children (birth-grade 2) with disabilities: 33-36 s.h. program.

This program consists of core courses in early childhood special education including a student teaching experience, with related courses in early childhood curriculum and instruction. The Early Childhood Special Education program at Hofstra provides students with the knowledge, skills and values needed to work effectively as early interventionists with children, birth through age three and their families, and to serve as early childhood special educators with children at the preschool through second grade level. Early childhood special education programs build upon general education and all students must have prerequisite preparation in early childhood and/or childhood education.

This program reflects a field-integrated approach which consists of a minimum of 100 clock hours of field work prior to student teaching. Field experiences are linked to each of the courses that comprise the professional core and include participant observation and field-related projects at the early childhood developmental level (birth through second grade) across a variety of school settings including high-needs school districts. Students attend parent and professional meetings, as well as work individually with students with disabilities.

Upon completion of this program candidates will qualify for initial certification for teaching students with disabilities in early childhood as well as the annotation for teaching students with severe or multiple disabilities in early childhood. This program leads to New York State Initial/Professional Certification in Special Education at the Early Childhood level.

Admission Requirements

Applications for admission to this Master of Science in Education program in the Department of Specialized Programs in Education  are made to the Office of Graduate Admission. Admissions decisions are based on a comprehensive review of multiple criteria.  The department understands that any single criterion may not reliably predict a student’s potential for success in the program. Students may consider applying even if they fail to meet one of the criteria listed below but feel that other aspects of their experience might compensate. All individual cases will be reviewed by an Admissions Counselor before being referred to the graduate program for further review.

  1. Initial or professional New York state teacher certification in early childhood or childhood education.
  2. A completed application form to the master’s program.
  3. A minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0, or it’s equivalent (e.g., a 3.0 in a completed graduate program). We encourage you to submit all transcripts from your undergraduate work and any graduate work for consideration.
  4. Three letters of recommendation addressing the applicant’s potential to succeed in the teaching of students with disabilities.
  5. A written personal statement of professional intent.
  6. Interview with a faculty member in Special Education.

Program Requirements - Semester Hours: 33 to 36

Matriculated students must complete a minimum of 27 s.h. of the MSEd program in residence at Hofstra. No more than 6 s.h. may be transferred into the program. Student Teaching may be used to meet the 27 s.h. residency.

A maximum of 12 s.h. of graduate course work leading to the MSEd degree may be completed prior to matriculation in the program. Students must maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 in order to remain in the program. Courses in which students receive grades below C- confer no credit toward the graduate degree but are included in determining grade point average.

For Students With Childhood Certification - Semester Hours: 6

For Students With Early Childhood Certification - Semester Hours: 6

For All Students - Semester Hours: 27

Knowledge Core - Semester Hours: 9

Reflective Practice - Semester Hours: 3-6


*Fulfills requirements for the annotation for Teaching Students With Severe or Multiple Disabilities.

Field Experience Prior to Student Teaching

Field experiences are integrated extensively into course curricula. A minimum of 100 clock hours of observation is required prior to student teaching. At least one placement (SPED 207) will be spent in a site recognized by the New York State Education Department as high-needs. Placements are arranged by the Office of Field Placement and the Special Education Program Director.

Participation/observation field experiences which correspond to the developmental level of the certificate holder are required in each of the following courses:

Student Teaching

Students will qualify for admission to Student Teaching, SPED 237, when they have satisfied the following requirements:

  1. Successful completion of 27 s.h. of core course work
  2. A grade point average of 3.0 or higher in overall graduate course work.
  3. All course work taken within a five-year period.

Admission by permission of the graduate program director and application to the Office of Field Placement and the Department of Specialized Programs in Education , due on May 1 for the succeeding spring semester and February 15 for the succeeding fall semester. Application forms are available in Hagedorn Hall, Room 230.

Students registered for SPED 237A  will complete a student teaching placement at the early childhood developmental level. Students registered for SPED 238  will complete 50 hours of field experience in a classroom setting serving students with severe or multiple disabilities. Upon completion of this program, inclusive of SPED 238 , students are then eligible to apply for the annotation for Teaching Students With Severe or Multiple Disabilities.

Graduation Requirements

  1. Completion of  a minimum 33-36 semester hours in prescribed courses with a minimum overall GPA of 3.0 in all special education core courses.            
  2. A minimum of 27-30 s.h. in-residence.
  3. Passing grade on the comprehensive examination.
  4. Completion of all required Educational Law Seminars.
  5. All course work taken within a five-year period.


Teacher Certification Requirements

Upon successful completion of degree requirements, students will be eligible to apply for the University’s recommendation for New York state certification. Contact the School of Education Dean’s Office, for information regarding any required Educational Law seminars* and other certification requirements. 

*Please note, as of December 31, 2013, the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education now require a new six-hour seminar for Training in Harassment, Bullying and Discrimination Prevention and Intervention, required under the Dignity for All Students Act (DASA): http://www.highered.nysed.gov/tcert/news/newsitem05162013.html.

To be eligible for the certification, students are required to have passing scores on the appropriate New York State Teacher Certification Examinations (NYSTCE). Please contact the School of Education Dean’s Office for specific certification requirements.

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