Childhood Special and General Education Dual Certification – M.S.Ed

Learn more about this online degree

Prepare yourself to be a model teacher in diverse settings

As a student in this program, you will become well-grounded in child development and its variations by closely observing children and engaging them in active learning. You will develop the capacity to work in a range of settings and engage all children. This includes working with children from diverse racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, and linguistic backgrounds and children with a variety of social, emotional, behavioral, physical, and cognitive variations.

This program will help you develop the understanding that learning comes through play, social interaction, and sensory experiences as well as through engagement in the worlds of literacy, literature, mathematics, science, arts, and social studies.

You will learn to:

  • Construct developmentally responsive learning experiences that encourage all learners to follow their curiosities.
  • Create accessible curricula so all learners can explore literacy, literature, mathematics, science, arts, and social studies content.
  • Develop a strong social justice focus in order to advocate for and with children and families.
  • Plan for dynamic and collaborative partnerships with families and school professionals.
  • Engage in critical explorations of yourself, others, and the wider world.

This program is for you if:

  • You are seeking your first teaching certification.
  • You want to work with children grades 1 through 6 in general, inclusion, and/or special education settings.

This program culminates in a Master of Science in Education and requires 52 credits.

Bank Street Teacher

Your degree will provide you with a range of career opportunities

Courses Required to Complete Your Dual Certification

Supervised Fieldwork/Advisement

Supervised fieldwork/advisement lies at the heart of a Bank Street education. Through sustained experiences in the field, supervision from core faculty, and close collaboration with peers, our graduate students develop the ability to connect theory to practice and to reflect deeply on their own growth as educators. In this program, you will:

  • Be supervised by your advisor, a core graduate faculty mentor and experienced teacher,
  • Participate in a weekly conference group of 5 to 7 students and your advisor.
  • Reflect on a lesson with your advisor once each month.
  • Meet individually with your advisor twice each month.
  • Complete projects to help you take a deeper look at the setting and students you work with.

During your fieldwork experience, you will work in classroom settings as a head teacher or assistant (full-time), or as a student-teacher (3 days each week):

  • As a student-teacher we will place you in two settings throughout the year. You will experience two age bands (grades 1-3 and grades 4-6), general and special education, and a public, high-needs environment.
  • As a working head or assistant teacher in an approved setting, you will use your own classroom as your fieldwork. We will place you in a different setting during the spring or summer semester to give you additional experience in a second setting.

EDUC 500   |   Credit(s) 3.0   |   Term(s) Offered: All terms; This course is offered as a blended or fully online course

In this course we will examine the interactions among the cognitive, social, emotional, linguistic, and physical development of children from infancy into adolescence. We will pay close attention to children as makers of meaning in the contexts of their development, including family, school, socio-economic class, and culture. Through reading classic and current literature, we will attend to some of the larger questions about development, such as the relationship between nature and nurture, the role of developmental theory, and the tension between the search for developmental universals and the reality of individual differences. The goal is to make developmental theory vibrant and meaningful so that the generalized theoretical child comes to enhance and inform how one understands individual children.

EDUC 800  |   Credit(s) 3.0   |   Term(s) Offered: To be announced

This course is designed as a forum for thinking about what it means to care for children at the beginning of the 21st century. Consideration will be given to how issues such as poverty, changing family structures, substance abuse, community violence, and HIV/AIDS affect children, teachers and the curriculum. Students will critically examine the traditional knowledge base of childhood education and child development – and explore alternative lenses for viewing children. History, literature, philosophy and feminist theory will be used to reflect upon taken-for-granted assumptions about childhood. Students will learn how reading, writing and interpreting narrative can become an invaluable source for understanding themselves and the children in their care. Prerequisite: EDUC 500 or EDUC 501 or by permission of the instructor.

Credit(s) 2.0   |   Term(s) Offered: All terms; This course is offered as a blended or fully online course

Based on the belief that language is an essential foundation for the learning that takes place in formal and informal education, this course will look at the typical stages of language acquisition in monolingual and multilingual children. Participants will examine the various theories about language acquisition and diversity, and about the role that caregivers and teachers play in the child’s development of language. In addition, they will analyze the political, educational, social, and emotional aspects that determine the stratification of languages and dialects. A significant part of the course will deal with the ways in which students learn English as a second language and the strategies that teachers can use to help them learn the language and to fully integrate English language learners into general and special education classrooms.

Credit(s) 1.0   |   Term(s) Offered: Fall; Spring

This course examines the impact of technology on teaching and learning. Participants will explore how new technologies can be integrated with curriculum to create access to learning for a range of learners, including students with disabilities. Through readings, class discussion, and hands-on,project-based learning experiences, students will be introduced to various technological tools. Emphasis will be placed on encouraging students to reflect on their experiences in the course, both as a learner and as a teacher, in order to understand the role of new technologies in education.

Credit(s) 3.0   |   Term(s) Offered: All terms

This course examines the historical, philosophical, and cultural roots of contemporary education, including Bank Street’s history and philosophy, the contributions of major educational leaders, and current practices and innovations in education. The course is designed to help teachers to expand and deepen their understanding of the social, political, and economic forces that influence the work of educators and children and their families.

EDUC 535   |   Credit(s) 2.0   |   Term(s) Offered: All terms

In this workshop course, students explore basic science through discussion and hands-on experience with materials such as snails, plants, clay, boats, batteries, and bulbs. Students are helped to choose appropriate topics that may be integrated into a core curriculum. A methodology of exploration and discovery is used as a paradigm for working with children in the science curriculum.

EDUC 540   |   Credit(s) 2.0   |   Term(s) Offered: All terms; This course is offered as a blended or fully online course

This course provides participants with an overview of mathematics learning for children grades N-6. Participants deepen their own mathematical knowledge while furthering their understanding of effective mathematics instruction. In each session, participants do math together and use these experiences to investigate the development of mathematical thinking and to reflect on their own learning. Participants explore the essential elements of a constructivist mathematics classroom in which collaboration is core to building concepts and skills. Designing a classroom where deep mathematical understanding is the primary goal requires explorations of attitudes and beliefs as well as practices and expectations. This course addresses the moral imperative that all students are capable of learning math. It focuses on creating inclusive environments for learners with developmental variations. The course also focuses on creating mathematical experiences that support students for whom English is a new language. Participants discuss classroom management strategies for grouping and individualizing instruction.

EDUC 563   |   Credit(s) 3.0   |   Term(s) Offered: Fall; Spring; From Summer 1 to Summer 2

This course examines the processes through which speaking, listening, reading and writing are acquired by young children. Through course readings, discussion, and hands-on experiences, students will develop an understanding of the ways in which theory and research in the fields of language development, linguistic diversity, socio-cultural perspectives, and special education form an essential basis for effective literacy teaching. Each student will observe and work with an individual child, trying out methods and materials in order to develop first-hand awareness of the reading and writing process, and roles of the teacher and child in that process. Through this integration of theory and practice, students will develop an understanding of the ways in which (1) literacy acquisition draws upon the personal, cultural, and linguistic experiences of all learners; (2) literacy acquisition can be facilitated through technology; (3) teachers can and should be the constructors of literacy curriculum that meets the needs of diverse learners; (4) assessment and instruction are ongoing and integrated processes; and (5) effective literacy education is the outcome of the collaboration of home, school, and community.

EDUC 591   |   Credit(s) 2.0   |   Term(s) Offered: Spring; Summer 1; Summer 2

This course is designed to introduce key elements of music, movement, sound-based media and physical education grounded in neurocognitive, developmental and critical multicultural perspectives. Students learn to create and use musical instruments from recyclable materials; explore digital composition; use equipment such as hoops, scarves and parachute, and integrate skills and repertoire with ongoing classroom curriculum. Songs, rhythms and games from diverse traditions are included to address children’s cultural and linguistic backgrounds in alignment with NYS and Common Core standards. Applications and strategies for children with special needs and dual language learners are incorporated through readings, film and guided activities (background in music, dance or sports is not required). The NYC/DOE and the NYS Division of Teacher Certification accept one (1) credit of this course as teaching special education credit. This course also fulfills Liberal Arts requirement for 1 credit of Physical Education.

Credit(s) 3.0   |   Term(s) Offered: Fall; Spring

This course provides the opportunity for participants to analyze and develop integrated curricula in social studies using a sociopolitical lens. Participants integrate knowledge from the six disciplines of social studies: history, anthropology, sociology, political science, geography and economics into the design of a constructivist, inquiry-based social studies curriculum. The course explores ways children come to learn and care about themselves and others through the social studies. There is an emphasis on differentiating curriculum, including attention to diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds, and variations in development.

Credit(s) 3.0   |   Term(s) Offered: Fall; Summer 1

This course is designed to help participants create classroom environments that will meet the needs of all children, including those with developmental variations. Addressing the concerns of both general and special education teachers, it incorporates presentations, role-playing, discussions, analyses of multimedia content, and informal diagnostic procedures. Participants examine the complexities of teachers’ day-to-day responsibilities and concerns, including classroom design, varied approaches to behavioral intervention, and the interplay among curricula, rules, expectations, routines, procedures, and children’s behavior.

Credit(s) 2.0   |   Term(s) Offered: All terms; This course is offered as a blended or fully online course

This course is designed to increase participants’ awareness and understanding of the educational, social, cultural, linguistic and developmental implications of disability from historical, legal, and socio-political perspectives. The course will critically examine state and federal special education and disability laws and regulations and their implementation across a range of settings including their intersection with issues of race, class, language and gender. There is an emphasis on understanding how disability is socially constructed at the levels of family, community, school, and the larger society. Participants apply an understanding of developmental variations to analyze and create accessible learning experiences for children. Prerequisite: EDUC 500 or 501 or 800; or permission of instructor.

Credit(s) 2.0   |   Term(s) Offered: Spring; Summer 1; This course is offered as a blended or fully online course

This course focuses on understanding, teaching, and meeting the needs of children with variations in emotional, social and behavioral development. Participants will critically examine the construct of children’s emotional and behavioral disorders and approaches to intervention from historical, socio-political, mental health, and legal perspectives. There is an emphasis on understanding the intersection of these issues with the race, class, language, and gender of teachers and children. Participants will develop an in-depth case study of a child applying an inquiry orientation to the Functional Behavior Assessment-Behavior Intervention Plan. Participants will collect and analyze data from observations, interviews and other sources, and make recommendations to support ongoing social and behavioral development. Prerequisites: EDUC 500 or EDUC 501 or EDUC 800; and EDUC 803.

Credit(s) 3.0   |   Term(s) Offered: Fall; Summer 2

Building on theories of language development and learning, this course is designed to deepen graduate students’ understanding of language and communication disorders in monolingual and bilingual children. There is an exploration of the reciprocal relationship between children’s diverse communication abilities and styles and academic, social and emotional development. The importance of teacher collaboration with other service providers is highlighted. Graduate students will reflect on their own communication styles as a means of more effectively meeting the communication needs of their students. The concept of social construction of disability will help to frame issues of equity that can guide teachers in their roles as advocates for all children. Prerequisites: EDUC 505; or EDUC 561 and EDUC 870

Credit(s) 3.0   |   Term(s) Offered: Fall; Spring

This course integrates research, theory, and practice as participants learn about supporting literacy development for children with reading, writing, and language variations. Participants learn about the reading and writing processes within a developmental framework. The course explores the iterative relationship between assessment and intervention, and critically examines a range of methods and materials in use in the field. Participants apply their learning as they work over multiple sessions with a child. Prerequisites: EDUC 505; EDUC 563 or 568.

Credit(s) 3.0   |   Term(s) Offered: Fall; Spring; Summer 2

This course is designed to explore a variety of approaches used for the diagnosis, planning, and evaluation of students with disabilities. Participants will develop a critical understanding of the historical, legal and ethical considerations, appropriate use, mis-use, value, and limitations of standardized assessments including their intersection with issues of race, class, language and gender. Participants will administer and interpret various psycho-educational tests and develop instructional plans to meet the unique needs of children with oral language, reading, writing, and math challenges. Participants will broaden their abilities to incorporate information from diagnostic reports into their teaching.

Credit(s) 3.0   |   Term(s) Offered:Fall; Spring

This course combines theory and practice through work with children from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds who have learning variations. Using assessment data gathered through formal and informal measures, students will devise educational plans for children. Participants will be exposed to a repertoire of evidence-based practices and instructional strategies in oral language, reading, written language, and math in order to promote positive learning outcomes. The course will also provide opportunities to develop and apply strategies for working with families and collaborating with other educators. Utilizing their knowledge of individual learning differences, participants will become skilled at differentiating instruction for a class of students with diverse learning needs. Prerequisites: EDUC 803; EDUC 563 or EDUC 568 or EDUC 540 or EDUC 542.

Credit(s) 6.0   |   Term(s) Offered: Fall; Spring

Fieldwork in appropriate settings with supervision and advisement. Candidates in advisement participate in weekly small-group conferences with their advisor. These seminars include the exchange and analysis of ongoing professional experiences and provide a forum for integrating theory with practice. Attention is given to instructional strategies for addressing the individual academic and behavioral strengths and needs of typically and atypically developing children within classroom settings. Opportunities to collaborate and co-teach with cooperating teachers and other school personnel are an integral part of the course.

Credit (s) 1.0 | Terms Offered : Please Inquire

This one-credit course provides working teachers, interns, and assistant teachers the opportunity to meet the mandated New York State regulations for certification. The State regulations require teacher candidates to work in a second grade band level in an high needs public school setting, according to the age band of their certification. In addition, there may be an expectation of direct work with English language learners (ELLs) and/or students with developmental variations. Graduate students will be placed, for the Summer II session, in appropriate educational programs for at least 100 hours. In addition, graduate students will participate in a series of six seminars focused on these classroom experiences.

Additional Application Requirements

In addition to the main admissions criteria, there are additional requirements needed to apply for this program:


When you complete the Childhood Special and General Education program you will be eligible for your:

  • New York State initial certification in Childhood General Education: for those who meet experience requirements and pass state assessments.
  • New York State initial certification Teaching Students with Disabilities, grades 1-6: for those who meet experience requirements and pass state assessments.

After teaching for three years and provided that you meet experience requirements, you will be eligible for New York State professional certification.

Shoshana Koslowe Ainsberg
GSE ’14

Meet our alumni

“I chose Bank Street for multiple reasons and I know that it was a wonderful decision. The faculty at Bank Street are so attentive and supportive of my academic goals as well as my professional development. In particular, my advisor has been a constant confidant and individual to whom I can bring any questions or inquiries. Additionally, the hands-on approach to learning has been such an informative way of educating future teachers. I have been pushed to consider lessons for a diverse population of learners with an array of academic and social-emotional needs. It is just one of the many ways in which the course work and class conversations educated me on how to become a more conscientious and thoughtful teacher.”

Frequently Asked Questions

The Academic year, 2019-2020 begins on July 1, 2019. There are three start dates offered per year. The Summer semester begins in May, Fall semester begins in September, and Spring begins in January. Contact a Bank Street Graduate School Online Application Specialist at 212-652-8722 to find the next start date that works with your schedule.

Yes, there is a $65 application fee.

Yes, there are other fees. Please visit the Bank Street main website for complete information.

The per-credit cost for the 2019-2020 academic year is $1,612, starting with the Summer 2 Term (July 1, 2019). There are scholarships and financial aid available to support your participation in the program. Please contact your Application Specialist at 212-652-8722 to find out more about tuition and financial aid at Bank Street.

Yes, each year, Bank Street’s Office of Financial Aid administers over $8.5 million in financial aid to students. Our scholarship program makes the cost of attending Bank Street College of Education competitive with most other private schools.

All students interested in receiving financial aid must complete and submit the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).  Students must also complete the admissions application and indicate that they are interested in applying for financial aid, and complete the scholarship application section in this form.  Please remember that in order to complete the FAFSA, you will need your federal tax returns. The FAFSA becomes available annually on October 1st and can be accessed at the Federal Student Aid website. Bank Street’s Title IV Code is G02669 (G ZERO 2669).

Yes, if you have been admitted, you will reply to confirm your enrollment. A $250 enrollment fee will be due with this form to secure your spot in the incoming class.

The length of the program will depend upon the specific course of study that you select and how many credit hours per semester you complete. To review the credit hours by program, visit our guide to Academic Programs.

Supervised fieldwork at Bank Street is usually a year-long, intensive learning experience and is central to nearly all our programs. Some programs require one semester of supervised fieldwork; some programs have unique schedules spreading supervised fieldwork over three or four terms. During supervised fieldwork/advisement, you work with a faculty advisor who is experienced in your area of study. In addition, you will also work in a conference group with about six other students in your program, and your advisor.

Yes, students are required to have a bachelor’s degree to be eligible for admission.

To see if you need to submit an entrance exam for your program selection, visit the Admissions Guide Chart on Bank Street’s main website.

Bank Street Graduate School of Education follows New York State Education Department regulations for program registration. In accordance with regulation 8 CRR-NY 52.21: Registration of Curricula in Teacher Education, applicants intending to begin a teacher preparation pro­gram or educational leadership program that leads to a New York State Professional Certification must sit for an entrance exam.

If you already completed a graduate teaching program and hold a currently valid New York State Professional Certification, an entrance exam is not required.

Applicants who are applying to any of our certification programs (with the exception of Child Life) require that applicants submit scores from the GRE (institution code 2035) or MAT (institution code 3197) before new student registration.

Our programs are varied enough to meet the needs of all qualified college graduates with or without prior experience in teaching, administration, or other human service fields. However, we do feel it is important for you to have some experience working with children so that you feel confident that this career choice is grounded in a realistic understanding of yourself and of children.

Bank Street Graduate School of Education is fully accredited. It is nationally accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). NCATE covers initial teacher preparation and advanced preparation levels. It is also accredited regionally by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

The online courses are a mix of self-paced material and assignments, team assignments, and faculty-led discussions. We take the best of both fully online education and on-campus education: you will receive the same learner-focused content and active engagement that Bank Street is known for, but most of the work you do throughout a typical week will be completed according to your own schedule.

Each online course is held for the full academic semester, which is between 11 and 16 weeks in length (Summer semester is shorter). The weekly schedules will vary by course and credit hour.

Usually, as a student and with your program director’s approval, you will be able to use your own classroom for your supervised fieldwork setting as long as it is appropriate for the program to which you have applied.  You will need to have support from your principal or school director or from your Bank Street advisor as you do fieldwork at the school.  Your advisor will need to have access to your classroom

Yes, Bank Street’s teacher and supervisor preparation programs are approved in New York State. For more information about Bank Street’s New York State registered programs, please visit our listing page.

If you want to get certified in another state after you complete your Bank Street program, you should start researching early. Contact the relevant State Department of Education for details on requirements and application procedures. Certification regulations vary by state, so it is best to obtain the information well in advance of your intended program completion date. For more information, please visit the Bank Street main website Outside of New York page.

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Earn Your ONLINE Master’s Degree in Childhood Special and General Education Dual Certification -M.S.Ed