About the Department
Acting Interim Chairperson:
Assistant Professor of Special Education Jennifer F. Samson
909 West Building
About the Department
Hunter’s graduate programs in special education prepare teachers to provide specially designed instruction for students with disabilities and to work across a variety of educational settings, including: special schools, special classes, resource rooms, pre-schools, early intervention programs, supported general education classrooms in public and private schools, hospitals, clinics, health agencies, home programs, and residential facilities. Special education programs at Hunter College have been nationally recognized by the Council for Exceptional Children.
Completion of any one of Hunter’s specializations for the master’s degree in special education leads to New York State teacher certification. Hunter’s specializations are: childhood special education: learning disabilities; childhood special education: behavior disorders; childhood special education with an annotation in severe/multiple disabilities (including deafblindness); early childhood special education; early childhood special education with an annotation in severe/multiple disabilities (including deafblindness); deaf and hard-of-hearing; and blind and visually impaired.
Students who enter the programs with no previous certification and subsequently complete the master’s degree will meet the education requirements for New York State initial and professional certification in either childhood special education or early childhood special education and either childhood general education or early childhood general education. Students without prior teacher certification enter the Program 1 track.
Students who enter the childhood special education program with initial certification in childhood grades 1-6 and subsequently complete the master’s degree, will meet the education requirements for New York State professional certification in childhood/elementary education as well as for professional certification in childhood special education grades 1-6. Students with prior childhood certification enter the Program 2 track. Similarly, students who enter the early childhood special education program with initial certification in early childhood birth-grade 2 and subsequently complete the master’s degree, will meet the education requirements for New York State professional certification in early childhood education as well as for professional certification in early childhood special education birth to grade 2. Students who hold early childhood certification enter the Program 2 track in early childhood special education.
The early childhood master’s degree programs are designed for students whose primary interest is in teaching children from infancy through kindergarten. While students in the early childhood special education programs will also be prepared to teach grades 1 and 2, applicants whose primary interest is in these grades should apply to the childhood special education program, which encompasses grades 1-6.
The programs (with the exception of early childhood special education) are organized into a set of cross-categorical core courses and disability-specific specializations. Core courses develop knowledge and skills across a variety of disabilities to be applied across a range of education settings; specializations provide in-depth preparation for working with students within a particular disability area. Both core and specialization courses provide historical, theoretical, and clinical perspectives, as well as current research and direct experiences with students of different ages and profiles. A hallmark of Hunter’s programs is their linking of theory to effective instruction.