Master of Science in Education (Birth - Grade 2)

  • Learn to give children from birth through grade 2 the healthy start they need in school and in life. Nazareth defines inclusive education, also called special education, as nurturing students in their pursuit of a meaningful life.
  • Gain knowledge, understanding, and skills to develop early intervention environments and learning experiences that support the physical, social, cognitive, and emotional development of infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and children in kindergarten and grades 1-2.
  • Benefit from Nazareth’s accomplished faculty, clinically rich program, and innovative approaches to learning, which have given the College’s inclusive education programs a long, proud history of transforming dedicated learners into well-prepared, effective educators.
  • Program graduates are recommended for two N.Y. state teacher certifications: Birth through grade 2 and Students with Disabilities at the initial and professional levels.
  • You have the option to get specialized preparation in teaching students with autism and students with severe or multiple disabilities, and a federal grant may cover your cost for those courses. See details about the Interdisciplinary Specialty Program in Autism (I-SPAN) specialization and the I-SPAN Scholars grant opportunity, which also can cover the Teaching Students with Severe or Multiple Disabilities annotation.

Program Options

Initial and Professional Certification (48 credits) in both Early Childhood and Students with Disabilities

Program is ideal for:

  • Recent college graduates (with any degree) who want to effectively teach young children and aren’t yet certified as teachers.
  • Career re-inventors who’d like to become great teachers of young children.
  • People drawn to specifically teach youngsters with disabilities or with special education needs, or to teach in inclusive, heterogeneous settings.

Additional Certification at the Same Developmental Level (36 credits)

Program is ideal for teachers seeking certification to teach students with disabilities.

Additional Certification to Change Developmental Level (39 credits)

Program is ideal for teachers of older students who want to be certified to work with younger students, including students with disabilities.

Career Information

  • Many of our graduates work in school settings as Pre-K, kindergarten, first-, or second-grade teachers, consultant teachers, or special educators.
  • This degree also provides a good background to work in nursery schools, child care settings, private agencies, and as early intervention service providers.

Urban Education Grant

A TOC state grant can provide up to half the cost of tuition for eligible students from racial/ethnic groups historically underrepresented in the teaching field who are committed to teaching in high-need urban schools. Learn more about TOC »

Student's Perspective

"While I consider myself lucky to have been hired straight out of graduate school, it was my education through Nazareth College, not luck, which provided me with the up-to-date knowledge of current best practices and the tools I needed to be successful in the application and interview processes. Though every day still brings new challenges, the foundation and hands-on experience I received from my coursework has allowed me to face these challenges with confidence. The only part of teaching I wasn't prepared for was just how much I would love what I get to do every day.

Rebecca Hamilton ‘15, first-grade teacher, Newark Central School District

What to Expect
  • A blend of classroom instruction and on-site experience
  • Site-based classes at local partner schools and educational settings
  • Exposure to rural, urban, and suburban schools
  • Flexibility; most classes are in the evenings, and classes are available in traditional (on campus) and hybrid (partly online) formats
  • Choose part-time or full-time; full-time students can complete a program in as little as 14 to 20 months
  • Individual advisement is available for program planning and support in applying for N.Y. state certification

Curriculum Examples
  • Teacher Learner Research and Inquiry
  • Diverse Learners Learning and Learning Environments
  • Differentiated Curriculum/Instruction and Collaborative Practice
  • Foundations of Language and Literacy
  • Curriculum in Early Childhood Education
  • Integrated Arts in Early Childhood Education
  • Literacy Assessment Program Planning and Assistive Technology for Diverse Learners
  • Capstone Seminar

Program Requirements & Course Descriptions

Program Director

Ellen Contopidis

Ellen Contopidis

Professor / Graduate Inclusive Childhood Education Program Director in Inclusive Childhood Education
Golisano Academic Center 251

Education: B.A., Herbert H. Lehman of CUNY; M.S. Ed., SUNY College of Brockport; Ph.D., SUNY, University Center at Albany

Teaching and Research Interests: Special Education, Transition Services, Disproportionality in Special Education, Universal Design for Learning, Interprofessional Education, Assessment in Teacher Education

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