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Teaching Children with Disabilities (7-12) Generalist, Master of Science in Education

The program prepares teachers to develop a strong command of content and pedagogical knowledge, multicultural perspectives, and instructional skills appropriate in addressing the social, cultural and educational needs of their students.

The Adolescent Education Master’s Degree Program at St. John’s University qualifies students for a full-time salaried teaching position in Grades 7-12. The program prepares teachers to develop a strong command of content and pedagogical knowledge, multicultural perspectives, and instructional skills appropriate in addressing the social, cultural and educational needs of their students. The courses are designed to foster the development of skills, attitudes, and abilities needed to identify and remediate learning and behavior disorders of students. Individuals are provided with a range of teaching and learning experiences with an emphasis on relevant pedagogical methods and a broad knowledge of strategies for devising, implementing, and assessing learning experiences for exceptional learners.

In this program you will be prepared to teach in a variety of inclusive and self-contained special education settings. You will learn to work with students with a range of learning, social emotional, and behavioral variations, including those with high and low incidence disabilities.

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Degree Type
Area of Interest
Associated Colleges or Schools
Program Location
  • Queens Campus
Required Credit Hours


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


Program Prerequisites: This Master’s degree can only be taken by students with initial NYS certification.

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

EDU 3215: Research & Practice of Teaching Writing/English Language Arts in General & Inclusive Education, 5-12
EDU 9003: Literacy Development for the First and Second Language Learners (10 Hrs. Fieldwork)
EDU 7267: Technology for Literacy Based Applications in Content Area Learning in Regular and Special Education Settings
EDU 3280: Digital Literacy and Learning

EDU 9704: Research in Collaborative Partnerships and Strategic Instruction for General, Special and Inclusive Educational Settings: Adolescent (10 Hrs. Fieldwork)
EDU 9706: Curriculum Adaptation and Modification Planning for Exceptional Students: Adolescent (10 Hrs. Fieldwork)
EDU 9711: Education and Accommodating Needs for Individuals with Exceptionalities, K-12 (15 Hrs. Fieldwork)
EDU 9719: Principles of Applied Behavior Analysis and Positive Behavior Supports, K-12 (15 Hrs. Fieldwork)
EDU 9726: Curriculum and Instruction Design for Individuals with Exceptionalities: Math, Science, and Social Studies- Adolescent (15 Hrs. Fieldwork)
EDU 9742: Formal and Informal Educational Assessment of Individuals with Exceptionalities- Adolescent (prerequisite: EDU 9711) (20 Hrs. Fieldwork)
EDU 9744: Curriculum and Instructional design for teaching Literacy to Individuals with Exceptionalities- Adolescent (20 Hrs. Field work)
EDU 9705: Practicum in Special Education-(150 Hrs.) – Adolescent
    Must be taken in your final Semester. Must have completed all Special Education Coursework and CST- Students with Disabilities

EDU 7106: Understanding socio-emotional, cultural and cognitive aspects of middle school/adolescent learners in general and Inclusive settings
EDU 7107:  Methods and strategies of teaching middle school/adolescent learners in general and Inclusive settings

Students satisfying the 30 credits in a content area with a minimum grade of C, passing the CST content subject area will be eligible for certification, grades 7-9, in their content area

Student Resources

Career and Education Opportunities

The completion of the program qualifies students for New York State initial certification as a teacher of students with disabilities provided students have successfully completed all New York State mandated external tests, training modules, workshops, and teaching experiences. Students are required to complete 33 credits in total.


Career Options

  • Special Education Teacher, Gr 7-12
  • General Education Teacher, Gr 7-12
  • Inclusive Education Teacher, Gr 7-12
  • Resource Room Teacher
  • Coordinator
  • Advocate
  • Consultant
  • Professional Development
  • Special Education Itinerant Teacher

Gainful Employment Disclosures

This certificate program is approved as a Gainful Employment Program through the US Department of Education and is, therefore, eligible for Federal Student Aid. View Disclosure to learn about this program outcomes.


Top Outcomes for this particular program

The program is designed to foster the ability of teachers 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.

The program prepares graduates to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of human developmental processes, particularly related to the lifespan development
  • Understand a wide range of disabilities and how a student’s disability may impact high school services and post-school outcomes for adolescents
  • Identify students’ strengths and needs so as to individualize and modify instruction
  • Collaborate effectively with parents, educators, and related service providers
  • Create and implement educational programs for adolescents with disabilities using most current evidence-based practices and technology
  • Demonstrate knowledge of and competence in adapting curricula for students with disabilities in specific subject matters, such as, reading/language arts, math, social studies, and sciences.
  • Assess and evaluate the development and implementation of effective strategies for children with learning and behavior challenges in the classroom setting
  • Use, interpret, and analyze various forms of assessment (formal, informal, formative, summative) to gather detailed information, from multiple sources, about student learning
  • Use the basic principles and strategies of the science of applied behavior analysis with students who have disabilities
  • Understand research in the broader context of special and inclusive education
  • Create safe, nurturing, inclusive, and individualized learning environments for student with disabilities, being mindful of how life experiences, culture, ethnicity shape and strengthen students are learners
  • Interpret and apply standards from the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC),  Interstate New Teachers Assessment and Support Consortium (inTASC), and other relevant professional organizations


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


Program News

Programs in Special Education host a College Immersion Program for Youth and Young Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities to increase inclusive opportunities in Higher Education:  Funded Grant Project with the Cooke Center for Learning and Development, New York City (2016- present)

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


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