Special Education/Childhood Ed (BS)

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


This major prepares candidates in Childhood Education which covers Grades 1-6 and Childhood Special Education which covers Grades 1-6 for Students with Disabilities.  It contains pedagogical knowledge and skills to ensure that candidates are qualified to teach at these levels and in high needs classroom settings.  Many courses are infused with field experiences so candidates build skill as they progress through the program.  In addition, each candidate must take coursework as set forth in the Canisius College Core Curriculum and must also choose a 30 credit liberal arts concentration to ensure that they have the content knowledge necessary to teach children from Grades 1-6 in general and special education settings.

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.


Students must meet the requirements at all transition points in order to graduate with an education degree and be recommended for teacher certification. Please see School of Education and Human Services website for transition point requirements.


All students should have an advisor in the major and should contact the department directly to have an advisor assigned if they do not already have one.  Meetings with academic advisors are required prior to students receiving their PIN for course registration each semester. All majors should work closely with their advisor in discussing career expectations, choosing their major electives, developing their entire academic program and planning their co-curricular or supplemental academic experiences.

Double Majors

Students who wish to expand their educational opportunities may decide to declare a double major. This decision may be based on career goals, planned graduate studies, and/or other student interests. Before a student declares a double major, it is important to meet with the appropriate academic departments for advisement.  In order to declare a double major, the student must complete the Major/Minor Declaration form. This form will be submitted electronically and reviewed and approved by each department chairperson as well as the appropriate associate dean. 

Per college policy, each additional major requires a minimum of 15 credits that do not apply to the student's first or subsequent major.  Some double major combinations can be completed within the minimum 120 credit hour degree requirement, but in other cases additional course work may be required. Please note that students will receive only one degree unless the complete the dual degree requirement including at least 150 undergraduate credit hours, regardless of the number of majors they complete. Both (all) majors appear on a student’s transcript.


An Ignatian Foundation

All undergraduate students must complete either the Canisius Core Curriculum or the All-College Honors Curriculum. Many schools refer to their college-wide undergraduate requirements as "general education" requirements. We believe that the core curriculum and the honors curriculum are more than a series of required classes; they provide the basis for a Jesuit education both with content and with required knowledge and skills attributes that are central to our mission.

Free Electives

Students may graduate with a bachelor's degree with more but not less than 120 credit hours. Free electives are courses in addition to the Canisius Core Curriculum or All-College Honors Curriculum and major requirements sufficient to reach the minimum number of credits required for graduation. The number of credits required to complete a bachelor's degree may vary depending on the student's major(s) and minor(s).

Major Requirements

ECCH 221Emergent Literacy3
ECCH 222Literacy and the Arts in the Elementary Classroom3
ECCH 412Managing the Early Childhood and Elementary Classroom3
EDE 100Human Growth and Development - Birth through Childhood3
EDE 390Cognition and Learning - Birth through Childhood3
EDU 100Exploring the Teaching Profession3
EDU 123Technology in Education 11
EDU 223Technology in Education 21
EDU 250Foundations of Education3
EDU 272Teaching Social Studies Integrating English Language Arts3
EDU 323Technology in Education 31
EDU 356Assessment for Diverse Learners3
EDU 428Teaching Math and Science: Supporting STEM Education3
EDU 494Capstone Seminar for Teacher Candidates3
EDU 495Child Abuse Workshop0
EDU 496Prevention of School Violence Workshop0
EDU 497Dignity for All Students Act (DASA) Workshop0
EDU 498Student Teaching Seminar3
SPE 291Nature and Needs of CH Students with Learning Disabilities3
SPE 292Remedial Strategies in the Childhood Content Areas3
SPE 311Nature/Needs of Childhood Students with Intellectual Disabilities & Autism Spectrum Disorders3
SPE 330Nature/Needs of Childhood Students with Behavioral Disorders3
SPE 341Inclusive Strategies3
SPE 432Seminar in Teaching and Assessment3
or EDU 432 Pre Student Teaching
SPE 493Supervised Student Teaching12
or EDU 493 Student Teaching
Foreign Language Requirement3
Total Credits72

Optional Extensions to Teach at Additional Grade Levels

Middle Childhood Extension

Candidates wishing to obtain an extension to teach grades 7-9 in their area of concentration (English, Mathematics, Social Studies, or Spanish) must take EMC 352 and EMC 391 in addition to the courses listed.

Initial Early Childhood Certification

Candidates wishing to obtain a certification to teach grades B-2 are advised to take two early childhood courses that focus on learning and development and methods of instruction in addition to the courses listed, and apply for an individual evaluation of credentials through NYSED or the BOCES Regional Certification Office. Courses that students have taken in the past include EDY 208 and EDY 209 .

Additional Curriculum Requirements

Childhood majors need to choose one of the following academic concentrations: English, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, Spanish, or Social Justice.

English Concentration

ENG 111Academic Writing3
ENG 112Writing about Literature3
ENG 299Introduction to English Studies 13
Two 200-level literature courses6
One pre-1900 American Literature course 23
One pre-1800 British Literature course 33
One Shakespeare course 43
Two writing courses 56
Total Credits30

Must take at least one 200-level literature course before taking ENG 299.


Choose from ENG 315, ENG 316, ENG 319, or ENG 396 (if the topic is American Literature)


Choose from ENG 233ENG 306ENG 347, ENG 370, or ENG 373.


Choose from ENG 322 and ENG 323.


Choose from EDU 410, ENG 205, ENG 294, ENG 383ENG 388, ENG 389, ENG 391, ENG 392, ENG 393, or ENG 490.

Mathematics Concentration

MAT 111Calculus I4
MAT 112Calculus II4
MAT 219Linear Algebra4
MAT 230Logic, Set Theory, and Proofs4
MAT 311Abstract Algebra4
MAT 331Geometry3
MAT 351Probability & Statistics I3
Choose one of the following:3-4
Calculus III
Computer Science elective
Choose one of the following:3-4
Differential Equations
Math elective
Total Credits32-34

Social Studies Concentration

ECO 101Principles of Macroeconomics3
GEO 325Introduction to Physical Geography3
PSC 104American Political Process3
HIS 107History of Modern Europe to 18153
HIS 108History of Modern Europe since 18153
HIS 109History of Asia to 18003
HIS 123History of the United States: The Colonial Period to Reconstruction3
HIS 124History of the United States: 1877 to the Present3
HIS 255African American History3
One European or Asian/African/Latin American History elective3
European History Options
Europe and the World in a Century of Conflict
The History of Food
Asian/African/Latin American History Options
History of Asia Since 1800
Latin American History to 1830
Latin American History since 1830
The History of Food
Wars of Latin America
The Making of Modern Africa
Total Credits30

Note: HIS 382 is highly recommended for students intending to teach in New York State.

Social Justice Concentration

Foundations Course3
Social Movements and Social Change
Research Courses (select one of the following)3
Ethnography and Culture
Introduction to Research Methods
Research Methods in the Social Sciences
Basic Statistics for Behavioral Sciences
Research Methods in Psychology
Skills Classes (select one of the following)3
Dynamic Presentations
Writing for Contemporary Media
Relational Communication
Strategic Communication in Teams
Training and Development
Metropolitan Economic Development and GIS
Leadership and Motivation
People Helping Skills
Elective Courses (choose seven from the courses listed below)21
Impact of Culture, Race, and Gender on Message Design
Media & Children
Violence and the Family
Gangs in American Society
African American History
Social and Cultural Diversity
Immersion East Side Seminar
American Political Process
State and Local Politics
Child, Family and Community Psychology
Stereotyping and Prejudice
Contemporary Social Problems
Gender and Society
Sociology of the City
Deviant Behavior
Women In The Western World
Modern China
Modern Middle East
Children, Schools, and the Community
International Relations
Comparative Government and Politics
Human Rights and Globalization
International Organizations
American Foreign Policy
Language Courses (TESOL students may choose language electives to meet certification requirements)
Introductory Spanish I
Introductory Spanish II
Communicating in Spanish
Intro Comp Panorama SocioCultural Latinoamericano
Topics in Conversation I Peninsular Culture and Civilization
Topics in Conversation II Latin American Culture and Civilization
Advanced Spanish Composition
Introductory Italian I
Introductory Italian II
American Sign Language I
American Sign Language II
Total Credits30

The list of courses provided here only includes active courses at the time this catalog was prepared.  Additional classes that are added by other departments might also be used to satisfy this requirement.  If you think a class should count, please contact the chair of the Teacher Education Department.

Spanish Concentration

SPA 215Communicating in Spanish 13
SPA 217Intro Comp Panorama SocioCultural Latinoamericano 13
SPA 323Topics in Conversation I Peninsular Culture and Civilization3
SPA 324Topics in Conversation II Latin American Culture and Civilization3
SPA 332Advanced Spanish Composition3
Five Advanced-Level Spanish Classes (any SPA class at 300 or 400 level)15
Total Credits30

Students who begin language study at the 300-level may substitute additional electives in lieu of the intermediate (200) level courses.  Thus, students still will take 10 courses for the concentration.

Please note that this curriculum changed for students who matriculated in fall 2017 or later. Earlier students should consult their original catalog year.


EDE 100ECCH 221 (may be used to apply to NYSED or BOCES for early childhood certification)
EDU 100SPE 341
EDU 123EDY 208 (Optional - may be used to apply to NYSED or BOCES for early childhood certification)
EDU 250SPE 291
SPE 292
EDU 272
ECCH 222 
EDU 223 
EDY 209 (Optional - may be used to apply to NYSED or BOCES for early childhood certification) 
EMC 391 (Optional - needed for middle school extension) 
SPE 311SPE 330
EDU 356ECCH 412
EDU 323EMC 352 (Optional - needed for middle childhood extension)
EDE 390 
SPE 432SPE 493
EDU 428EDU 497
EDU 494EDU 498

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.


Please note that Students in Special Education also take courses in Teacher Education and Childhood Education. A full list of courses in all Education subjects is available on the Educator Preparation page.

SPE 291 Nature and Needs of CH Students with Learning Disabilities 3 Credits

Describes the effect of mild disabilities on childhood. Focuses on collaborative strategies for parental involvement. Highlights the CSE process, placement options and instructional strategies in grades one to six. Requires 20 hours field placement.

Corequisite: SPE 292.

Offered: every spring.

SPE 292 Remedial Strategies in the Childhood Content Areas 3 Credits

Describes appropriate techniques and materials for instruction to students with disabilities and those at risk of failure. Emphasizes assistive technology for students in childhood classrooms across the curriculum.

Corequisite: SPE 291.

Offered: every spring.

SPE 311 Nature/Needs of Childhood Students with Intellectual Disabilities & Autism Spectrum Disorders 3 Credits

Describes effects of MR and other developmental disabilities on childhood. Focuses on collaborative strategies for parental involvement. Highlights instructional strategies for grades 1-6 across the continuum of services. Requires 20 hours field placement.

Prerequisites: SPE 291 & SPE 292. Corequisite: EDU 356.

Offered: every fall.

SPE 330 Nature/Needs of Childhood Students with Behavioral Disorders 3 Credits

Describes the effect of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders on children and their families. Highlights NYSED Regulations, collaboration and instructional strategies to address academic and behavioral issues. Requires 20 hours of field placement.

Prerequisites: SPE 311 & EDU 356. Corequisite: ECCH 412.

Offered: every spring.

SPE 341 Inclusive Strategies 3 Credits

Highlights best practices in general education for students with disabilities. Illustrates current developments in special education. Emphasizes collaboration.

Fulfills College Core: Diversity

Offered: every fall, spring, & summer.

SPE 432 Seminar in Teaching and Assessment 3 Credits

Includes practica and seminars that focus on professional reflection and topics related to classroom management, increasing family involvement, teaching to higher standards and assessment at the special education-childhood level. Requires 50 hours of field placement.

Fulfills College Core: Oral Communication

SPE 493 Supervised Student Teaching 12 Credits

Highlights knowledge, skills and dispositions of professional educators. One full-time 7-week placement in each childhood and special education-childhood classroom requires candidates to become the instructional reader under the supervision of cooperating teachers and college faculty.

Prerequisite: signature, minimum GPA of 2.70, minimum grade of C in each required education course, some schools may require certain health tests. Corequisite: EDU 497.

Offered: every spring.

SPE 495 Advanced Research Seminar in Autism 1-6 Credits

Advanced Research Seminar in Autism provides students with advanced clinical and research training in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The course consists of two distinct but interrelated components including (1) classroom instruction and applied training in evidence-based treatment for children with ASD and (2) hands-on research experience during studies being conducted. Students will learn about ASD and evidence-based treatments, and participate in various studies involving high-functioning youth with ASD. Students also serve as a member of a professional research team..

SPE 499 Independent Study 3 Credits

Independent studies require an application and approval by the associate dean.

Prerequisite: permission of the instructor, department chair, & associate dean.