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This program leads to professional certification for teachers who possess New York state initial certification in Students with Disabilities at the early childhood (Birth- Grade 2) or childhood (Grades 1-6) or adolescent (Grades 7-12) developmental level. It is designed to provide an advanced professional research core, content-pedagogy linkage to liberal arts and sciences, and a specialization in one of the following areas: special education assessment and diagnosis, gifted education, autism spectrum disorders, learning specialist, transition specialist, or early childhood special education. This advanced 36 s.h. program utilizes research to develop student expertise in the chosen field of specialization.
Program Philosophy, Goals and Objectives
The Master of Arts program is designed to provide advanced professional preparation for individuals who are already certified as teachers of students with disabilities. The special education program in the School of Education at Hofstra University recognizes the evolving roles of special educators in today’s schools. Special educators are now seen as collaborators with general educators, consultants regarding specific populations, and facilitators in various educational processes. This degree program’s foci are on the research knowledge and skills needed to address the current issues in the field. In order for special educators to fill the new roles and to serve as problem solvers, they need expertise in specific areas such as the specializations offered in this program.
Admission may be accomplished through application to the Office of Graduate Admissions. Admission is based on a comprehensive review of multiple criteria, including the following:
- A completed application form to the M.A. program in special education
- Evidence of successful completion of requirements for the baccalaureate degree
- Minimum GPA of 3.0 from an accredited institution of higher education
- Evidence of New York state initial certification for students with disabilities or equivalent out-of-state certification in special education
- Three letters of recommendation
- A written personal statement of professional intent
- An interview with a faculty member in special education
Matriculated students must complete a minimum of 27 semester hours of the M.A. program in residence at Hofstra including the master’s thesis.
The department understands that any single criterion may not reliably predict a candidate’s potential for success in a graduate program. Accordingly, candidates are welcome to apply if they feel that some other aspect(s) of their experience may compensate for not satisfying one of the criteria above.
Program Requirements - Total Semester Hours: 36
Phase 1: Professional Research Core - Semester Hours: 9
Phase 2: Content-Pedagogy Linkage - Semester Hours: 12
Select the appropriate pedagogy-content linkage relating to the certification content.
A. Early Childhood and Childhood (Birth-Grade 6) - Semester Hours: 12
B. Adolescent Education (Grade 7-12) - Semester Hours: 12
Languages Other Than English
Select the appropriate target language and complete the requirements.
Phase 3: Specializations - Semester Hours: 12
Select one area of specialization
Autism Spectrum Disorders
This specialization focuses on students with autism spectrum disorders emphasizing the myriad presentations of the disorder. The special educator will receive advanced training related to teaching, collaboration and consultation for students with autism spectrum disorders. The concentration highlights the production of collaborative partnerships between educators, clinicians and families. Research-based methodologies and instruction, including the use of specialized teaching strategies, the use of curriculum-based assessment and measurement as well as the application of the principles of applied behavior analysis in the classroom, home and community-based settings will be the major foci of the program.
Early Childhood Special Education
This 12-semester hour specialization, which includes a field experience, is designed for teachers holding New York state teacher certification in childhood in teaching students with disabilities who wish training in the field of early childhood special education.
The specialization for teaching students of high ability/talents is designed for teachers seeking a concentration in gifted education. The assessment techniques and strategies used in the identification of high-ability learners, research-based methodologies and instruction, including differentiated and enriched curricula, and program evaluation are major foci of the program. This specialization leads to an additional New York state certification extension for gifted education.
Special Education Assessment and Diagnosis
This 12 semester hour specialization prepares professional personnel to serve as educational evaluators responsible for identifying students in need of special education services. This program is intended to meet the extended professional needs of teachers certified in early childhood and childhood. It is designed to extend skills in psychoeducational assessment of special learning needs in all students classified as disabled as well as early childhood and childhood populations; students with primary specific reading difficulties; and students from different cultural backgrounds that may be bilingual.
The 12 s.h. study for the learning specialist focuses on ways to advance the successful integration of students with special needs into the least restrictive environments. This specialization offers a full range of opportunities for students to develop expertise in collaboration, assessment, curriculum and strategic instruction.
This 12 semester specialization prepares special educators in secondary education to facilitate postsecondary transition to educational, vocational and community living settings for students with disabilities.
Phase 4: Capstone Activity - Semester Hours: 3
- Completion of 36 s.h. of course work, including a minimum of 27 s.h. in residence.
- A minimum GPA of 3.0 in overall graduate course work, with no grades below B.
- Satisfactory completion of the program-approved master’s thesis.
- Completion of Phases 1, 2 and 3 within a five-year period beginning with the onset of the first course(s) taken in the program.
- Completion of all New York state educational law seminar requirements.
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 Office of Educational Support Services, 129 Hagedorn Hall, for information regarding any required Educational Law seminars* and other certification requirements. Forms for applying for certification can be found at the Office of Educational Support Services Web page under the certification tab.
*Please note, as of July 1, 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.
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