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Special Education: Early Childhood Program, M.S.Ed

About the Program

National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Accreditation (NCATE) Accredited

Enrollment in all teacher education programs follows the guidelines for "Admission to Teacher Education Programs" found in the catalog. Applicants who do not yet meet all admissions criteria should consult with the department.

The special education programs lead to a master of science in education degree and eligibility for New York State certification in special education. The teaching bilingual exceptional individuals program leads to eligibility for a New York State Bilingual Education Extension. The early childhood and childhood special education graduate programs are designed for students with undergraduate majors in education or special education.

The Exceptional Education Department offers three specialty master of science in education degree programs in special education: early childhood, childhood, and generalist 7-12. Students who are not provisionally/initially certified in special education must complete 15-18 credit hours of preliminary coursework in addition to the program area requirements. Students in the generalist 7-12 program or one of the 17 generalist 7-12 and 7-12 subject area extension programs may require additional New York State content core and/or specific subject area coursework. Required preliminary courses are listed under each program area below. All three programs require the completion of a research component: EXE 684 and EXE 690, which must be taken in sequential order at the end of the program. The Exceptional Education Department also offers a Bilingual Special Education Certificate Program. Successful completion of this program leads to recommendation for New York State certification extension in bilingual special education. Students are able to complete this certificate program concurrently with one of the special education masters of science in education programs offered by the department.

Advisement: Because of the variety of options available in the department, it is imperative that majors and premajors seek advisement as early as possible. Students should contact their assigned academic advisers. The student designs programs of study with his or her adviser according to the student’s goals and background.

Practicum: Practicum assignments link theoretical coursework with the applied demands of a wide variety of internship settings. Practicum sites are available to meet the needs and interests of nearly all students and are selected by the program coordinator.

Certification: Students in the department who are certified in early childhood education, childhood education, or adolescent education must fulfill course and degree requirements for New York State certification in special education and/or teaching bilingual exceptional education.

Special Education: Early Childhood Program (EXC)

Enrollment in all teacher education programs follows the guidelines for "Admission to Teacher Education Programs" found in the catalog. Applicants who do not yet meet all admissions criteria should consult with the department.

This program prepares early interventionists and teachers to work with infants and young children with disabilities—or young children at risk for being identified with a disability—and their families. The program is cross-categorical; prospective teachers receive coursework related to working with students with physical, intellectual, sensory, communication, and/or behavioral disorders.

The role of the early interventionist or preschool teacher is to facilitate the child’s development of social, motor, communication, self-help, cognitive, and behavioral skills. Interventionists are expected to design activities and environments to enhance the child’s concept of self, sense of competence and control, and independence. Because a number of educational programs serving this population subscribe to an interdisciplinary approach, much of the assessment, planning, and implementation of programs is done in collaboration with other members of the professional team.

*Admission to EXE 684 is by special permission. An application is completed the semester prior to admission. See the department office for application deadlines.

About the Exceptional Education Department

204 Ketchum Hall
1300 Elmwood Ave
Buffalo, NY 14222
Phone: (716) 878-3038
Fax: (716) 878-5410

Admission Requirements

1. A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 (4.0 scale). Admission is competitive; not all qualified applicants are admitted.

2. Employment or other experience relevant to the graduate course of study.

3. A written statement describing the applicant’s philosophy of education and relevant experiences in the field. This statement must adhere to standard written English.

4. Faculty review.

5. Completion of a special application (available from the department or download from

6. The ability to speak English and Spanish, and an oral interview (for bilingual exceptional individuals certificate program applicants only).

In addition, all applicants should review the Admission to a Graduate Program section in the catalog.

Successful completion of the undergraduate program in exceptional education at Buffalo State is not a guarantee of admission to a graduate program. A point system based on the above criteria is used to evaluate applicants. Applicants with the highest point totals are admitted to the program each admission period. Only students admitted to the major (as majors or premajors) may take courses other than EXE 500.

Premajor Status: Students may not apply for premajor status. They apply to the graduate program, and the department decides if they are accepted to the program as majors or premajors. Premajors may enroll, by advisement, in two EXE courses at the 500 level (e.g., EXE 500, EXE 501) only. Premajors may not register for courses identified as "majors only" during the preregistration period. Student teaching and other fieldwork experiences are closed to premajors. There is no waiting list for admission to the Exceptional Education Department. Premajors apply for admission as majors by submitting a change of major form to the Graduate School during or after the completion of two EXE courses. Premajors are not guaranteed admission to the program.

Program Requirements

Preliminary Courses 15 cr
Required for students without provisional/initial certification in special education
EXE 500 Individuals with Special Needs
EXE 501 Educational Assessment Techniques for Special Education
EXE 502 Contingency Management
EXE 504 Graduate Practicum in Special Education (6)

Required Courses 24 cr
EXE 510 Strategies for Cognition and Emergent Literacy in Young Children with Disabilities
EXE 612 Managing the Behavior of Young Children with Disabilities
EXE 620 Advanced Curriculum for Individuals with Moderate and Severe Disabilities
EXE 628 Collaboration and Consultative Practices in Inclusive Settings
EXE 650 Assessment of Young Children with Disabilities
EXE 652 Intervention in Early Childhood Special Education
EXE 682 Instructional Field Experience in Special Education
EXE 684 Graduate Seminar in Exceptional Education

Elective Courses* 6 cr
Select two courses from the following:
EXE 518 Individuals with Physical Disabilities
EXE 530 Parent and Family Involvement in Special Education Programs
EXE 534 Understanding Students with Behavior Problems in the Classroom
EXE 544 Models of Classroom Discipline for Students with Disabilities
EXE 631 Adapting Language Arts and Reading Instruction for Students with Mild Disabilities
EXE 632 Direct Instruction Intervention Models for Students with Special Needs
SLP 540 Childhood Language Disabilities

Master’s Project or Master’s Thesis 3–6 cr
Select one option:
EXE 690 Master’s Project
EXE 695 Master’s Thesis (6)

Total Required Credit Hours 33–51 cr

* Selected under advisement

All courses are 3 credit hours unless otherwise indicated.

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