male student writing on paper at desk

Childhood and Childhood Special Education, Master of Science in Education

The Childhood and Childhood Special Education, Master of Science in Education (Career Change) program is an accelerated program for college graduates seeking to become special education teachers.

The Childhood and Childhood Special Education, Master of Science in Education (Career Change) program is an accelerated program for college graduates seeking to become special education teachers. It prepares holders for both initial and professional certification as Special Education Teachers, Grades 1-6. In order to attain certification, holders must pass the New York State Content Specialty Test (CST) in special education.

In completing initial, general education coursework, Career Change students learn about the fundamentals of teaching in grades 1-6, as well as child development and educational history. Advanced coursework is designed to foster Career Changers’ ability to develop the skills, attitudes, and abilities needed to identify and remediate major learning and behavior disorders, ranging from mild to profound, regardless of etiology. Attention is also paid to diagnosis, intervention, program planning and program evaluation.

Apply Request Info Plan your Visit
Degree Type
Area of Interest
Associated Colleges or Schools
Program Location
  • Queens Campus
Required Credit Hours


Please view the School of Education Graduate Admission Application Requirements for detailed admission information. 

A baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university. Undergraduate scholastic achievement must be such as to give reasonable assurance of success in work for an advanced degree. Normally this will be a “B,” both in the general average and in the major field.


The Career Change Master’s program requires students to have an undergraduate course distribution in the General Liberal Arts and Sciences and a concentration in Social Sciences (or other) for childhood certification. Your undergraduate transcript will be assessed by the School and a deficiency evaluation will be made available in the first semester. An individual deficiency evaluation will be completed upon admission, to list the credits that you will need to complete before being endorsed for certification.


*SJU Comprehensive Exam must be passed during the final semester of classes.

EDU 3210: Research & Practice of Teaching Writing/English Language Arts in General & Inclusive Education, B-6
EDU 7000: Psychological Foundations of Learning
EDU 7135: Current Trends and Research in the Teaching of Social Studies (15 Hrs. Fieldwork)
EDU 7136: Current Trends and Research in the Teaching of Science (15 Hrs. Fieldwork)
EDU 7137: Current Trends and Research in the Teaching of Mathematics (15 Hrs. Fieldwork)
EDU 7195: Teaching and Learning: Childhood (20 Hrs. Fieldwork)
EDU 7266: Technology for Teaching Literacy Applications in regular and Special Education Settings                                    OR

EDU 3280: Digital Literacy and Learning
EDU 7115: Childhood Associate Teaching or EDU 7115I- Internship
Must be taken in your second to last semester. New York State Required Examinations must be passed prior to enrollment in Student Teaching: EAS, CST-Multi Subject. edTPA is done during this semester.

EDU 9700: Research in Collaborative Partnership and Strategic Instruction for General, Special and Inclusive Educational Settings: Childhood (10 Hrs. Fieldwork)
EDU 9707:  Curriculum Adaptation and Modification Planning for Exceptional Students (10 Hrs. Fieldwork)
EDU 9711: Education and Accommodating Needs of Individuals with Exceptionalities, K-12 (15 Hrs. Fieldwork)
EDU 9712: Education of Assessment of Individuals with Exceptionalities (Prerequisite EDU 9711) (20 Hrs., Fieldwork)
EDU 9716: Curriculum and Instruction Design for Teaching Literacy to Individuals with Exceptionalities: Childhood (20 Hrs. Fieldwork)
EDU 9718: Curriculum and Instructional Design for Individuals with Exceptionalities: Math, Science, Social Studies (20 Hrs. Fieldwork)
EDU 9719: Principles of Applied Behavior Analysis and Positive Behavior Supports, K-12 (15 Hrs. Fieldwork)
EDU 9702: Practicum in Special Education: Childhood (150 Hrs.)
Must be taken in your final semester.  Must have completed EDU 7115, all Special Education Coursework and CST-Students with Disabilities



Student Resources

Career and Education Opportunities

Our school’s mission of “Preparing teachers, counselors, and administrators as transformational leaders who honor the dignity of all people” guides our programs and informs our practice each day. This can be seen in the multiple opportunities we offer for engagement in professional activities, academic service learning, and global education consistent with the University’s Catholic and Vincentian mission.

In addition to many online learning opportunities that allow for current and effective use of online resources for research and practice in special education, and preparation for careers in an increasingly global and digital world, our students complete 150 hours of supervised special education practicum in various settings including self-contained, inclusive, and mainstreamed classrooms. Students are exposed to instructors, current researchers, and leaders in the field of special education who have many years of experience and expertise working directly with children in diverse, multicultural, and high-needs urban and suburban school settings. Our students engage in several professional and networking events throughout their program, developing competencies to effectively communicate and interact with stakeholders in collaborative and inclusive ways. 

Our graduates are successful and highly proficient teachers trained to meet the highest professional standards in special education set by the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC). We are excited to welcome you to join this cadre of effective teachers and global citizens effecting change in the lives of children and youth through education and service.


Career Options

  • Special Education Teacher, Gr 1-6
  • General Education Teacher, Gr 1-6
  • Inclusive Education Teacher, Gr 1-6
  • Resource Room Teacher
  • Coordinator
  • Advocate
  • Consultant
  • Professional Development
  • Special Education Itinerant Teacher

Success Stories

We succeed in graduating excellent teachers, who are caring and sensitive individuals. Our graduates are always sought after by both public and private schools, including a host of Catholic programs. 

Our graduates attest to their academic preparation and growth as professionals in the field of special education and inclusive collaborative services

“I felt very confident going into my first year of teaching and practicum this year after completing many of my courses”

Early Childhood Special Education Teacher


“The special education courses provided me with a different lens and particularly allowed the facilitation and continuity of being mindful of each student’s particular needs and style of learning.”

Early Childhood Special Education Teacher


“St. John’s really prepared me to grow as an educator and it prepared me to go out to schools and maintain a close connection with the teachers”

Childhood Special Education Teacher

Our Faculty

  • Faculty with extensive experience as school and community-based professionals are actively engaged in school-based research and service activities
  • Faculty regularly present at local, national, and international special education conferences
  • Faculty have published in highly regarded peer-reviewed education and special education journals including Review of Educational Research, Learning Disability Quarterly, Learning Disability Research & Practice, Behavior Modification, Preventing School Failure, Beyond Behavior, Intervention in School and Clinic, International Review of Research in MR, American Journal of Mental Retardation, Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, International Journal of Inclusive Education, and International Interdisciplinary Journal of Education

Associate Professor and Program Coordinator

Dr. Khemka received her Ph.D. with distinction from Columbia University in the area of Intellectual Disability and Autism in 1997.  She has been involved in teacher preparation programs for many years now and has taught previously at Teachers College, Columbia University and Long Island University, C.W. Post, NY.  She has directed several intervention-based research and evaluation projects and has extensive experience in bilingual evaluation and arts based programming for students with special needs. Dr. Khemka is well known for her work in the area of interpersonal decision-making and prevention of peer-victimization and abuse in adults and youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including autism.  She is the lead author of 2 evidence based instructional programs (ESCAPE and PEER-DM) designed to provide effective, strategy-based decision making training for the reduction of risk and abuse.  Her new research focuses on studying the impact of cyber bullying in school-aged children with special needs and in designing targeted, disability-specific interventions. 

Research Interests: Among adolescents and young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (including autism) : decision-making, prevention of peer victimization, abuse prevention, development of evidence based curricula

Sullivan Hall, Room 410
(718) 990-2631
[email protected]


Assistant Professor

​​Rebecca A. Louick, Ph.D., a native New Yorker, is an Assistant Professor of Special Education in the Department of Education Specialties at the School of Education, St. John's University. For eight years, she was a middle- and high-school teacher at schools for students with learning disabilities. Dr. Louick has a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from Boston College, an M.S.Ed. in Special Education/Learning Disabilities from City University of New York-Hunter College, and an A.B. in English and Sociology from Amherst College. She has taught courses on reading methods for students with special needs, assessment of students with special needs, and special education more generally. Her research focuses on the learning needs of adolescents with learning disabilities, particularly in terms of communication and academic motivation.

Research Interests: Among adolescents with learning disabilities: academic motivation, literacy skill development, language and communication skills

Sullivan Hall, Room 414
[email protected]


Assistant Professor

Dr. Mello received her Ph.D. in Special Education from Vanderbilt University. Dr. Mello combines her research with effective practical work in the field. Before coming to St. John’s she taught young adults with intellectual disabilities for six years in a college program for students with intellectual disabilities. She also served as the coordinator for a special education advocacy training program for parents of children with disabilities. Her research explores the area of transition to adulthood of adolescents and young adults with intellectual disabilities and autism. More specially, she examines the acquisition of independent living skills and access to postsecondary education and housing. She conducts research on service provision and family advocacy in underserved communities. Dr. Mello is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA).

Research Interests: Among young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (including autism):  transition to adulthood, postsecondary education programs, access to affordable housing and supported living, acquisition of independent living skills with assistive technology, service provision in underserved communities

Sullivan Hall, Room 412
[email protected]



Assistant Professor

Dr. McDevitt received her Ed.D. in Curriculum and Teaching from Teachers College, Columbia University. Prior to joining the St. John’s University community, she spent over a decade working with young children with and without disabilities and pre- and in-service teachers in various educational settings. Her research interests are broadly in the areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion. More specifically in the field of early childhood inclusive education, she examines teacher development and diversity, young children’s experiences of “schooling,” and inclusive, culturally sustaining and relationship-based practice.

Research Interests: Teacher education and development for teaching immigrant children and children with disabilities; Young children’s experiences of transition; Inclusive, culturally sustaining and relationship-based practice

Sullivan Hall, Room 413
[email protected]

Program Contact

Ishita Khemka

Associate Professor

Sullivan Hall Queens Room 412


Interested in Education, but not sure if Childhood and Childhood Special Education, Master of Science in Education is right for you?

Explore opportunities at St. John's with our pathway generator.