2017-2018 Graduate Course Catalog 
    Jul 15, 2024  
2017-2018 Graduate Course Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Early Childhood Special Education, MS

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Gail Ensher, 150 Huntington Hall, 315-443-9650, glensher@syr.edu

The Early Childhood Special Education program leads to certification in both general early childhood and early childhood special education, birth through grade 2.  This program reflects the most up-to-date thinking about teaching infants, young children, and primary-age children (with or without special needs). The primary goal of the program is to prepare teachers to work effectively with children of a variety of ages and cultural and linguistic abilities, and serve children who live in diverse family systems in a range of home, community, and educational settings. We seek to accomplish this through collaboration and teamwork among professionals of diverse disciplines and in partnership with the families we serve.

The ECSE program draws upon the expertise and scholarship of faculty members who are leaders in the fields of child and family studies, early childhood, special and elementary education, literacy, and other related professional disciplines, including neonatology, physical therapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy. The program has a long-standing history of providing training that infuses clinical practice with current research. As they study areas such as early assessment and intervention with infants, students work closely with faculty members who have extensive clinical experience.  Syracuse ECSE has developed close ties and strong relationships to community educators and other professionals who serve high-needs populations of young children and families.

This program meets the academic requirements for both New York State early childhood birth-grade 2 and students with disabilities birth-grade 2 teaching certificates. We admit:

  • students who have backgrounds or certification in one (but not both) of these areas (early childhood or children with disabilities);
  • students who have certification in another teacher certification area;
  • qualified students who do not have previous education coursework. Each student’s credentials are evaluated on an individual basis, but here are some general guidelines concerning the length of the course of study.

The requirements of this program include several undergraduate liberal arts concentration and/or distribution courses. Each applicant will have undergraduate transcripts reviewed (we encourage this to take place before applying) for the liberal arts requirements listed below. Missing coursework does not need to be completed before applying but must be completed before a degree can be granted.

  • A liberal arts major or concentration of at least 30 credits, of which at least 15 credits represent upper division courses. The program does work with students who have non-liberal arts majors to construct a complete an appropriate liberal arts concentration.
  • A college writing course completed with a grade of B- or higher or an equivalent.
  • Two appropriate college-level mathematics courses, with grades averaging at least B- and neither grade below C.
  • A social science course other than psychology or history;
  •  A humanities course other than history or artistic expression;
  • An artistic expression course or significant experience in one or more of the arts, as judged by the   program;
  •  A history course;
  •  A language other than English (which may be American Sign Language) through the first level of college study. This requirement can also be met through the passing of a Level 3 course of a language in high school.

Those who have an active New York State initial certificate in childhood 1-6 or early childhood B-2 are considered as having met many of the requirements listed above. We do continue to review the writing, mathematics, and natural sciences requirement.

Student Learning Outcomes

1.Acquire knowledge of each student, and demonstrate knowledge of student development and learning to promote achievement for all students.

2.Know the content they are responsible for teaching, and plan instruction that ensures growth and achievement for all students.

3.Implement instruction that engages and challenges all students to meet or exceed the learning standards.

4.Work with all students to create a dynamic learning environment that supports achievement and growth.

5.Use multiple measures to assess and document student growth, evaluate instructional effectiveness, and modify instruction.

6.Demonstrate professional responsibility and engage relevant stakeholders to maximize student growth, development, and learning.

7.Set informed goals and strive for continuous professional growth.


Sample Curriculum:

As noted above, each student’s program varies according to interests, prior coursework, and professional experience. A program for a student without prior study or certification in Education or Early Childhood might look like the following:

A student with prior background may have courses waived.

First Summer Session

Spring Semester

Second Summer Session

Second Fall Semester


  • Students admitted without any certification or prior training in education or special education typically require a total of 60 graduate credits to complete the program.
  • Students with appropriate backgrounds may be able to complete fewer graduate credits (no fewer than 36) and possibly one less semester
  • While the ECSE program accepts and seeks to accommodate graduate students who are working, it is essential that working schedules allow day-time hours when required practica and field placements can be satisfied in the fall, spring and summer terms. Otherwise, it is not possible to complete the ECSE degree. We strongly recommend against full-time work and full-time study in the same semester/term.

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