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Advance Your Teaching Career with Computer Science

MAT program offers unique dual certification for in-demand educators.

Over the last decade, computer science has become a larger part of K-12 school curriculums around the country. New York State has in many ways been an early adopter: In 2015, former mayor Bill de Blasio announced a plan to bring computer science instruction to all New York City schools by 2025, a charge currently led by Mayor Eric Adams.

NYU Steinhardt’s Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) Students with Disabilities and Computer Science seeks to create highly employable graduates who can help fulfill this mandate, as well as fill the growing deficit of special education teachers.

NY’s Only Dual Certification in Computer Science and Special Education

“The main reason I chose the MAT, Students with Disabilities/Computer Science program is because of its focus on inclusive education,” says Joyce Wu (BS ’22, MAT ’23), who majored in math education with a computer science education minor at Steinhardt before enrolling in the MAT. “It really challenges the views society may hold on what it means to be a computer scientist, who has a voice there, and what computer science is meant to be used for.”

The state’s only program that leads to dual certification in computer science and special education, the MAT, Students with Disabilities/Computer Science acknowledges that every student can benefit from the tools of a special education teacher.

“All students should be taught in the most accessible ways, and we’re committed to the idea that every teacher should understand and be equipped for special education,” says Jasmine Ma, associate professor of teaching and learning and director of the MAT program. “Computer science is particularly important in this context because we don’t want it to be gate-kept in the same way that other math and science disciplines historically have been; we want to break down barriers and make computer science more accessible for all.”

Broad CS Foundation Plus Pedagogical Training

While many other computer science education programs are geared either toward pedagogical or content knowledge, the Steinhardt MAT takes a more blended approach.

“Other programs seemed to teach courses in isolation: You’d learn computer science and you’d learn pedagogy, but not together. At Steinhardt, on the other hand, two of the most impactful classes I took were my ‘Intro to Computer Science Education’ and 'Teaching of Computer Science' courses, which also focused on how to teach inclusively.”

Real-World Teaching Experience

Students also benefit from two student teaching placements in schools working with different age groups, maximizing their hands-on learning and mentoring with practicing teachers. The importance of the MAT program speaks to our digitally dominant world that young students need to be prepared to lead.

“Right now, students view computer science in the same way they do computer classes — it’s a common thing to learn,” says Wu. “It’s more than just coding or digital literacy; it’s also about computational thinking, what it means to be on the internet, and how to keep kids and their data safe.”

“Today, we’re all both consumers and producers of content, so our understanding of how algorithms work, how internet security works, how the fundamental hardware and software interact with human life — it all matters and it’s all related to being a computer scientist,” says Ma.

Is the MAT, Students with Disabilities/Computer Science Right for You?

Successful candidates for the MAT program will hold a genuine belief that everyone is able to learn and enjoy working with young people of all kinds, as well as be lifelong learners. 

“Our students enjoy grappling with computer science concepts,” says Ma. “You don’t already have to be an expert in computer science, but you need to enjoy the challenge. This is a rapidly changing field, and both students and teachers will need to keep learning.”

The MAT, Students with Disabilities/Computer Science program also boasts close-knit cohorts of students from a wide range of backgrounds and life experiences. These small groups are encouraged to develop a community, learning together and with interdisciplinary faculty who are nationally recognized researchers in diverse fields.

Scholarships Available

Because of the National Science Foundation’s Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program, students coming into the MAT program can receive financial support, as well as mentorship with paid induction activities in their first year of teaching.

Learn more about the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) Students with Disabilities and Computer Science program and how to apply.

Key Takeaways about MAT, Students with Disabilities/Computer Science:

Apply to the MAT now