August 06, 2008
Educators who are busy professionals trying to balance career
and family commitments can now advance their careers thanks to a
brand new online option for St. John’s University’s already
existing Master of Science in Education in Teaching Children with
Disabilities at the childhood level (1-6). This new online
option will allow School of Education graduate students to receive
a high quality education without leaving their home or office.
Online students can avail themselves of the same vibrant
classroom interaction between professors and students for which St.
John’s School of Education has been renowned for over the past 100
years. Ranked in 2005 among the top 100 graduate schools of
education in the nation by U.S. News and World Report, the
School of Education’s online graduate degrees are accredited by
Middle States and by the New York State Department of
Deirdre Mithaug, Ph.D., Program Coordinator in the
Department of Human Services and Counseling, and her colleagues
have been longtime supporters of distance/online learning. Over the
past eight years they worked to offer all their courses online at
least once, consistently receiving positive feedback from students.
“Then we thought, why not offer the entire degree online,” comments
Now St. John’s students can benefit from this new online option.
“I’m very excited. This option is valuable to students for many
reasons,” explains Dr. Mithaug. “It offers the optimum flexibility
in terms of time. Students can study on their own
timetables. Working full-time and caring for family and
friends will not preclude them for taking classes since the courses
are available 24 hours a day and professors are in continuous email
Dr. Mithaug adds that transportation is now not an issue.
Students can study from anywhere without worrying about the rising
cost of gas, parking fees, or public transportation
“Most importantly though,” she says, “online learning allows
students at St. John’s to personalize their coursework. If
they are having difficulty with a particular concept, students can
spend as much time as they want on it without feeling they are
slowing down their classmates in school. Students work at
their own pace and sometimes they complete the class in less time
than if they had attended the weekly classes on campus.”
St. John’s online M.S.Ed. in Teaching Children with Disabilities
is the first master’s degree offered completely online by any
school or university with a campus in New York State. The new
online option for the M.S.Ed. program complies with all state
regulations while remaining sensitive to technological, cultural,
political, social and economic changes that students encounter in
This 33-credit graduate level program is designed to prepare
elementary school teachers interested in receiving a master’s in
special education that is New York State certified. Teachers are
able to fulfill their own needs as well, whether they are trying to
meet requirements for their permanent teacher certification or are
taking courses to fulfill their school districts’ needs.
The program is designed to develop the skills, attitudes, and
abilities necessary for identifying and remediating major learning
and behavior disorders and to instruct children who demonstrate
learning and behavioral disorders. The curriculum focuses on
diagnosis, intervention, program planning, program evaluation and
A baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university is
required to enter the program. Undergraduate scholastic achievement
must convey assurance of success in work for an advanced degree.
Normally, this would be at least a “B,” both in the general average
and in the major field.
The special education program serves students who have received,
or who have qualified for, the New York State initial teaching
certificate. Applications of those individuals who meet
program requirements but whose GPA falls below 3.0 in their initial
certification area will be reviewed by a committee of designated
faculty members to assess the applicant’s ability to successfully
complete the program. In such cases, the committee may also request
an interview with the candidate. Upon committee recommendation,
those applicants will be accepted conditionally with the provision
that they receive at least a 3.0 in each of the first four courses
in the program.
In addition to meeting all academic prerequisites, prospective
online students must meet rudimentary computer proficiency
requirements, such as internet experience, and how to log on, cut
and paste text using word processing software, and attach documents
to e-mail messages.
To learn more about this degree, scholarship programs and to
join the Department of Human Services and Counseling at their next
online open house, click