Childhood special education initial/professional MSED

Degree Overview

Required courses and field experiences in the MSED special education program are based on the philosophical orientation that most students with disabilities can be educated effectively in inclusive or general education settings with appropriate supports and services. We support the use of flexible programming and scheduling which allows for intensive one-to-one or small group instruction for students with disabilities when it is individually and educationally appropriate. Students with disabilities, especially those from poor or minority families, are often at risk of being denied access to meaningful learning and high educational expectations. We prepare special educators to assume LEADERSHIP roles in advocating for access to general education settings and curricula to ensure AUTHENTIC LEARNING for all students (SOCIAL JUSTICE). 

This philosophy requires that our special education teachers develop a breadth of KNOWLEDGE and skills, which exceed an isolated "clinical" approach to teaching students with disabilities. Special Education teachers must be familiar with best PRACTICE in general education in curriculum and instruction, because they are increasingly likely to be delivering special education services as team members in regular classes and contexts. They must also have knowledge of learning characteristics for students with a wide range of disabilities. Today's special educators still need to determine and utilize specific instructional and assessment strategies for individual students with disabilities, and plan appropriate programs for a variety of settings/models, including the use of EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY.

In addition to their knowledge and pedagogical/ clinical skills, special educators must develop the ability to COLLABORATE effectively with a wide range of team members, including general educators, related services providers, paraprofessionals and families. The complexity of the special educator’s role, which continues to evolve, requires ongoing REFLECTION and analysis. This is emphasized throughout the program and modeled by our public school partners and mentor teachers.

The goal of the MSED program in special education is to prepare well-rounded professionals who can work effectively with colleagues and students in a variety of special education models. Throughout the program, emphasis is placed on instructional decision-making, which is guided by knowledge of student characteristics and best educational practices for learners with disabilities. Teaming and multi-level instruction for diverse groups are emphasized as well as specific strategies for individuals with disabilities. Our graduate students are expected to incorporate services and key components of Individual Education Programs into the broader school and classroom contexts. They are engaged in ongoing REFLECTION about their program and instructional decisions through course projects (e.g., case studies) and fieldwork.

Program Requirements

To verify that you meet the requirements to apply to this program please contact the Curriculum and Instruction Department in the School of Education to arrange an advisement meeting.

Program requirements for Initial Certification and Professional Certification are officially described in the current SUNY Oswego Graduate Catalog. You may request additional information on the Graduate Studies website (or contact 315.312.3152, 601 Culkin Hall, SUNY Oswego, Oswego, NY 13126). For all NYSED teaching certificates, meeting other criteria for NYSED teacher certification is also required (see 

Desired Outcomes

The following desired outcomes for the MSED special education-childhood education 1-6 certification program were developed through input from Curriculum and Instruction faculty, School of Education faculty, special education teachers, and administrators, using standards from the New York State Education Department, the National Council for Accreditation of teacher Education (NCATE), and the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC):

  1. Candidates understand their LEADERSHIP roles in advocating for students with disabilities to access general education settings and curricula to ensure AUTHENTIC LEARNING and current and future participation in the local community. (SOCIAL JUSTICE).
  2. Candidates understand and implement effective teaming relationships with general education teacher partners, paraprofessionals, related service personnel, parents, and agencies in the larger community to support students’ learning and well being (COLLABORATION & LEADERSHIP).
  3. Candidates understand and use strategies to facilitate team planning to identify individual abilities and needs of students with disabilities and co-plan appropriate individual education programs that address priorities and sustain class and school membership. (KNOWLEDGE, PRACTICE, COLLABORATION, SOCIAL JUSTICE)
  4. Candidates know, understand and use the central concepts, tools of inquiry, and structures of the disciplines they will teach to learners in grades 1-6, as well as additional strategies for individual learner characteristics to ensure meaningful learning experiences for the full range of students (KNOWLEDGE, PRACTICE).
  5. Candidates understand and use effective practices to support the development of critical foundation skills such as communication, literacy, life skills and positive social behaviors with students who have disabilities. (KNOWLEDGE, PRACTICE).
  6. Candidates understand and use formal and informal assessment strategies for identification, program planning and instructional planning as they monitor students’ development and insure continuous intellectual, social, and physical growth (PRACTICE).
  7. Candidates understand and use authentic instructional strategies, including EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY (and assistive technology), to encourage students’ development of critical thinking, problem solving and performance skills. (AUTHENTIC LEARNING, PRACTICE).
  8. Candidates understand and use structures and strategies to create a learning environment that promotes a sense of belonging, supportive relationships, positive social interactions and active engagement in learning for learners with and without disabilities (PRACTICE, AUTHENTIC LEARNING).
  9. Candidates are reflective practitioners, who continuously evaluate the effect of his/her choices and actions of others in the learning environment and seek opportunities for professional development (REFLECTION).

For further information contact Dr. Marcia Burrell, Department Chair, Curriculum & Instruction Department, 214 Hewitt Union, SUNY Oswego, Oswego NY 13126, 315.312.4052.