Special Education/Childhood Ed (BS)

Chair: Barbara A. Burns, 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.  More information can be found at the program website.


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 appropriate double major request form and get the signature of each department chairperson and 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, regardless of the number of majors they complete.


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 & 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 Requirement 10-3
Total Credits69-72

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.

Early Childhood Extension

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, Music, 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

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

Music Concentration

FAM 115Fundamentals of Music3
FAM 119Masterpieces of Music3
FAM 210Keyboard Musicianship3
FAM 230
Music Theory I
and Music Theory I Lab
FAM 240
Music Theory II
and Music Theory II Lab
FAM 330
Music Theory III
and Music Theory III Lab
One Music Literature I course 13
One Music Literature II course 23
One Music elective 33
Total Credits30

Science Concentration

GEO 325Introduction to Physical Geography3
BIO 111
Introductory Biology I
and Introductory Biology Laboratory I
BIO 112
Introductory Biology II
and Introductory Biology Laboratory II
BIO 211
Biochemistry and Cell Biology I
and Biochemistry and Cell Biology Lab I
CHM 111
General Chemistry I
and General Chemistry I Laboratory
CHM 112
General Chemistry II
and General Chemistry II Laboratory
One physics course3
Two science electives 16
Total Credits32

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
Twentieth Century Europe
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 two of the following)6
Qualitative Research Methods
Research Methods in the Social Sciences
Quantitative Research Methods
Skills Classes (select two of the following)6
Oral Communication
Interpersonal Communication
Small Group Communication
Metropolitan Economic Development and GIS
Leadership and Motivation
HSV 360People Helping Skills3
Four Electives (from your focus: Local/Urban or Global)12
Local/Urban Focus Electives
Social and Cultural Diversity
Immersion East Side Seminar
African American History
Violence and the Family
Gender and Society
Deviant Behavior
Stereotyping and Prejudice
Social Policies
Contemporary Social Problems
Children, Schools, and the Community
State and Local Politics
Sociology of the City
Global Focus Electives 1
Sociocultural Anthropology
Women In The Western World
Modern Middle East
Children, Schools, and the Community
International Relations
American Foreign Policy
One course from the other focus (either Local or Global)
Total Credits33

Spanish Concentration

SPA 215Intermediate Spanish 13
SPA 217Introduction to Spanish Composition 13
SPA 323Topics in Conversation I: Peninsular Culture and Conversation3
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

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
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.

Prerequisite: SPE 341. Corequisite: SPE 292.

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.

Prerequisite: SPE 341. 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: occasionally.

SPE 312 Multidisciplinary Assessment and Childhood Teaching 3 Credits

Emphasizes a multidisciplinary approach to meet the assessment and learning needs of childhood students with disabilities. Explores assessment and evaluation using the New York State Standards for Severe Disabilities and the Alternative Performance Indicators.

Prerequisite: SPE 291 & SPE 292. Corequisite: SPE 311.

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: occasionally.

SPE 335 Classroom Management in Childhood Classrooms 3 Credits

Discusses implications of behavior management and importance of a proactive approach to prevent behavior problems. Emphasizes appropriate classroom structure, and individual and group contingencies to support children with E/BD in grades 1-6.

Prerequisite: SPE 311 & SPE 312. Corequisite: SPE 330.

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

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 494 & 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.