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M.S.Ed. Special Education

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Make a Meaningful Impact

This program prepares you to thrive in the fastest growing sector of the teaching profession, special education, and make a meaningful impact in the lives of children who need it most.

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Role in Education

Special education teachers work with students who have an array of learning, mental, emotional, and physical disabilities. They wear many hats, serving as both an educator and an advocate for students with special needs.

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Our Commitment

Our faculty and program are dedicated to preparing knowledgeable and passionate special education teachers with strong commitments to equity and diversity, excellence in their practice, social responsibility, and critical reflection.

Make a Meaningful Impact

This program prepares you to thrive in the fastest growing sector of the teaching profession, special education, and make a meaningful impact in the lives of children who need it most.

The Master of Science in Education in Special Education is recognized by the Council for Exceptional Children and the New York State Education Department, and accredited by NCATE. Upon completion, candidates will meet the academic requirements for certification in their current certification area, and be recommended for their Initial/Professional certification in one of the following special education teaching levels: Early Childhood (Birth-Grade 2), Childhood (Grade 1-6), or Adolescent (Grade 7-12, Generalist). Please note that students may also receive certification at both the Early Childhood and Childhood levels.

What You Will Learn:

  • A deep understanding of learning disabilities and differences, as well as the methods and strategies to empower student success.
  • The ability to assess and diagnose students with mild to moderate disabilities, and design interventions and curriculum to meet their needs.
  • Expertise in creating an inclusionary classroom environment, and implementing differentiated instruction to help students with special learning needs and styles perform at the highest level possible.
  • Creative approaches for integrating technology into your classroom to enhance learning.
  • Collaboration and communication skills central for working as part of a school team addressing the unique needs of B-12 learners.
  • Knowledge of behavior management strategies to help your classroom run smoothly.
  • Foundational knowledge about current issues, policy, and educational research in the field of special education.

The Fieldwork Experience:

  • Two semesters of hands-on field experiences with students with disabilities under the mentorship of the classroom teacher and college supervisor.
  • A close relationship with your field supervisor, who is committed to offering the support and insight you need to reach your highest potential as an educator.

Unique Program Features:

  • Field placements frequently result in full-time employment upon graduation. Our faculty has a large network of contacts that lead to information about job opportunities, and our graduates regularly call for recommendations to fill positions.
  • Flexible class scheduling including full-time and part-time options.
  • Opportunities to attend professional development workshops and/or conferences to help further your understanding of educational content and pedagogy.
  • Small class sizes promote close relationships with professors and fellow classmates. Students graduate with a cohort who provides support throughout the length of their future careers.

“Making the decision to attend SUNY Potsdam changed my life and allowed me to have a career in helping others with special needs. Small class sizes and hands-on experiences in classrooms make this a great program for anyone that wants to work with students with special needs.”

~Pamela Charleson, ‘09

Admissions FAQs


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Program Contacts

Admissions / General Information Center for Graduate Studies
(315) 267-2165
Raymond Hall 206

Program-Related Information
Lisa Lamondi-Grenville
Program Coordinator
Satterlee 212
(315) 267-2530