Childhood Education 1-6/Special Education 1-6 (MSEd)

Department Co-Chairs:  Marya Grande, PhD and Kelly Harper, PhD

The Special Education Master of Science Degree Program at Canisius is designed for those dedicated to meet the needs of students with disabilities, placing a strong emphasis on theory, research and practicum experience.  The curriculum enables candidates to develop an understanding of etiology, related psychological and social factors and techniques proven effective for teaching students with diverse learning needs.  

This program results in initial New York State Certification in Childhood Education (Grades 1-6) and Teaching Students with Disabilities (Grades 1-6).

Grade Requirements

Graduate students enrolled in initial certification programs must achieve a C or above in all prerequisite coursework and a B- or above in all graduate program coursework. Failure to meet these requirements will require repeating the course &/or completing additional coursework.

Licensure Disclosure

Canisius College cannot determine whether completion of this program would be sufficient to meet licensure requirements outside of New York State for the intended occupation. We advise you to contact your state licensing board or appropriate licensing entity to determine whether the program meets requirements for Professional Licensure in the state where you are located or the state in which you intend to pursue licensure. Please contact the associate dean of your school if you have further questions.


EDU 505Foundations of Education3
EDCH 509Literacy and the Arts in the Elementary Classroom3
EDCH 540Learning and Development Birth to Grade 63
SPE 541Inclusive Strategies3
EDU 556Assessment for Diverse Learners3
SPE 580Classroom Management3
SPE 644Collaborative Practices on a Transdisciplinary Team3
SPE 640Learning and Behavioral Disabilities (LBD); Etiology and Research Based Interventions3
SPE 631Reading and Writing Process for Students with Learning and Behavioral Disorders3
EDU 628Teaching Math & Science: Supporting STEM Education3
EDU 572Teaching Social Studies Integrating English Language Arts3
SPE 650Intellectual Disabilities and Autism Spectrum Disorders: Etiology & Educational Needs3
SPE 652Functional Curriculum for Students with Severe Disabilities and ASD3
EDU 615Research Methods3
EDU 570Pre-Student Teaching3
SPE 593Student Teaching9
EDU 595Child Abuse Workshop0
EDU 596Prevention of School Violence Workshop 0
EDU 597Dignity for All Students Workshop0
EDU 598Student Teaching Seminar0
Total Credits54


Candidates need the following prerequisites to pursue this dual-certification program.  They may be done before or concurrently with the program.

1. English - 3 credit hours
2. Math - 3 credit hours
3. Science - 3 credit hours
4. Social Studies - 3 credit hours

Early Childhood

Candidates wishing to extend their certification to include Birth to Grade 2 should consult their academic adviser for options.

Middle Childhood

Candidates wishing to obtain an extension to teach grades 7-9 (thus enabling candidates to teach in their 30 credit subject area only) must add a middle childhood extension. Consult your advisor to determine if this is possible based on an undergraduate degree audit.

Learning Goals & Objectives

Learning Goal 1 (KNOWLEDGE – Observed in Writing)

Candidates in the Teacher Education programs will demonstrate content knowledge, pedagogical, and professional knowledge necessary for successful performance in their field.

Teacher candidates will: 
  • Acquire knowledge of each student, and demonstrate knowledge of student development and learning to promote achievement for all students. 
  • Know the content they are responsible for teaching, and the pedagogical content knowledge to plan instruction that ensures growth and achievement for all students. 

Learning Goal 2 (KNOWLEDGE – Observed Skills and Dispositions)

Candidates in the Teacher Education programs will demonstrate professional skills and dispositions necessary for successful performance in their field. 

Teacher candidates will: 
  • Demonstrate professional dispositions and implement instruction that engages and challenges all students to meet or exceed the learning standards.

Learning Goal 3 (SERVICE)

Candidates in the Teacher Education programs will demonstrate willingness to use their skills to benefit and serve society. Within the contexts of their work, candidates promote authentic learning, social and emotional development, and a commitment to social justice in environments that foster respect for diversity and the dignity of all.

Teacher candidates will:
  • Work with all students to create a dynamic learning environment that supports achievement and growth.
  • Use multiple measures to assess and document student growth, evaluate instructional effectiveness, and modify instruction for diverse learners.


Candidates will demonstrate self-reflection as a habit of mind, continuously assessing and refining their professional practice as they construct a rich repertoire of research-based knowledge, skills, and attitudes for effective performance ensuring that all students and/or clients have optimal opportunities to learn and grow.

Teacher candidates will:
  • Set informed goals and strive for continuous professional growth.

Learning Goal 5 (LEADERSHIP)

Candidates will become adept at applying their acquired knowledge in the process of evaluating their own professional performance and decision-making with respect to its impact on students and/or clients, organizations, and the wider community. 

Teacher candidates will: 
  • Demonstrate professional responsibility and engage relevant stakeholders to maximize impact on student growth, development, and learning.