2014-2015 Graduate Course Catalog 
    Jul 14, 2024  
2014-2015 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

Syracuse University’s Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) Program is one of the top- ranked master’s degree programs in the nation. The Early Childhood Special Education program leads to certification in both regular early childhood and early childhood special education, birth through grade 2. It includes a wealth of valuable field experience and clinical practice experience, in which students learn to work with infants, young children, and their families in home, school, and community-based educational settings. Students completing the program are prepared to assume such professional positions as home-based itinerant teachers, early childhood special educators, regular preschool teachers, teacher consultants, and public school teachers in kindergarten or the early primary grades.

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 cutting-edge research. Students work closely with faculty members who have extensive clinical experience as they pursue studies in areas such as early assessment and intervention with infants, young children, and families in home, medical, and educational settings. Syracuse ECSE is known for its close ties to community educators and other professionals who serve high-needs populations of young children and families. ECSE is also known for its acceptance of graduate students from diverse backgrounds.

What Can We Offer You?

The graduate program in ECSE meets the academic requirements for both New York State Early Childhood Birth-grade 2 and Students with Disabilities Birth-grade 2 teaching certificates. It admits students who have backgrounds or certification in one (but not both) of these areas, or in another teacher certification area, as well as qualified students entering the field who have enough positive experiences with children to know that this is a good career direction for them, but 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.

  • Students who have previously completed the necessary prerequisite courses and have teaching experience and certification in Special Education or Early Childhood Education may require as few as 36 graduate credits, allowing them to complete the ECSE program in just two semesters bracketed by two summer sessions of full-time work.
  • Students admitted with undergraduate training in Childhood Regular Education and Special Education and a student teaching experience in grade 1 or 2, may have the opportunity to earn two additional certifications during the course of two semesters bracketed by two summer sessions of intense full-time work.
  • Students admitted without any certification or prior training in Education or Special Education typically require a total of 60-61 credits to complete the program.

Each applicant will have undergraduate transcripts reviewed for the following required prerequisites:

  • A liberal arts major or concentration of at least 30 credits, of which at least 15 credits represent upper division courses;
  • A college writing course completed with a grade of B- or higher, or an equivalent demonstration of writing competency, as required for the undergraduate degree, and/or judged by the program;
  • Two appropriate college-level mathematics courses, with grades averaging at least B- and neither grade below C.
  • Two appropriate natural science courses with laboratories, with grades averaging at least B- and neither grade below C; in some cases, two appropriate non-laboratory science courses may be substituted for one of the laboratory sciences;
  • 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 already have an active New York State initial certificate in Childhood 1-6 or Early Childhood B-2 are considered as having met the many of the requirements listed above. We do continue to review the writing, mathematics, and natural sciences requirement.

The Syracuse master’s degree program in ECSE 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.

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.

Second Fall Semester

  • 2-15 credit(s) Early Childhood Full-time, requiring 7 weeks in regular kindergarten; and 2 weeks of documented observation in Grade 1 or 2
  • 3 credit(s)
  • Students complete a portfolio of specified assignments as a culminating experience, including the edTPA and other evidence of professional competence.
  • Also required is the course, Safe and Healthy Learning Environments, covering 7 topics of use to teachers, or its equivalent.

Additional Information

Upon completion of the ECSE program, interested students may apply to the Literacy Program at Syracuse University, where they may earn a (second) master’s degree, in Reading and Language Arts by completing an additional 27 credits of coursework. For information about this program, students should contact the Reading and Language Arts Department.

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