Special Education

MA in Early Childhood Special Education, Birth-Grade 2, Professional Certification

Teach children of all ability levels during their earliest years

This master of arts degree will build on your pedagogical knowledge to prepare you to teach young children in special education settings, working collaboratively with families, other professionals, and community organizations. Graduates are eligible for New York State certification in early childhood special education, birth-grade 2.

This program is open to participants who have a bachelor's degree and hold certification or are eligible for certification in early childhood education or early childhood special education. A dual-certification MA program in Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Special Education leading to initial teaching certification is also available.

What you'll learn
  • Core content and pedagogical knowledge essential to educating young children 
  • Skills for providing children with rich, child-centered educational environments
  • Approaches for adapting curricula, assessments, and learning environments to meet children's diverse needs and abilities
  • Deep understanding of how children grow and develop, that play is the basis of learning in all spheres of development and relationships with peers and adults are key to children’s learning, 
    and strategies for supporting learning at all stages 

See the curriculum and requirements for this master's degree. 

How you'll learn

Immersion in Various Early Childhood and Special Education Settings
Undertake extensive study of how children develop in multiple contexts. You will participate in student teaching in a variety of early childhood general and special education settings, from preschools to early childhood centers and Head Start programs. 

Practical Teaching Strategies
Take coursework that will expand your pedagogical training and help you develop strategies for teaching young children with a diversity of needs and abilities. Courses include the Young Special Needs Child, Principles and Practices of Early Childhood Special Education, and Literacy of the Special Learner.

Develop as a Reflective Practitioner
As a prospective teacher, you’ll be immersed in thoughtful discussions and interactions around critical educational issues, especially issues of developmental, linguistic, cultural, and racial diversity and educational equity. Each course in the program is tied to either fieldwork or student teaching, generating rich and authentic reflections upon theory and practice.

Prepare for a career as a
  • Lead or team teacher in public or private childcare centers, preschools, early childhood centers, and elementary schools
  • Preschool or elementary school supervisor, counselor, psychologist, or administrator
  • Curriculum specialist, staff developer, or program director in early childhood special education programs
If you have any questions about prerequisites and requirements, please email teachlearn.gradadvise@nyu.edu
For more information about this master's program, please contact

Audrey A. Trainor
Associate Professor
Department of Teaching & Learning, Special Education
Room 524 East Building
239 Greene Street
New York, NY 10003