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Teaching Children with Disabilities in Childhood Education (1-6), 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 Childhood Education Master’s Degree Program at St. John’s University qualifies students for a full-time salaried teaching position for Grades 1-6. 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 while incorporating the New York State Learning Standards, Common Core Standards and the Council of Exceptional Children Standards.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.

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Program Location
  • Queens Campus
Required Credit Hours


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


Career and Education Opportunities

The completion of the program qualifies students for New York State initial or professional 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.

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:

  • Understand a wide range of disabilities, including those identified in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
  • Collaborate effectively with parents, educators, and related service providers
  • Identify students’ strengths and needs so as to individualize and modify instruction
  • Create safe, nurturing and individualized learning environments for students with disabilities, mindful of how life experiences, culture, and ethnicity shape and strengthen students as learners
  • Create and implement educational programs for children with disabilities, using the most current evidence-based practices and technological resources  
  • Use the basic principles and strategies of the science of applied behavior analysis with students who have disabilities
  • Use, interpret and analyze various forms of assessment (formal, informal, formative, summative) to gather detailed information, from multiple sources, about student learning
  • Understand research in the broader context of special and inclusive education
  • Apply standards set by the Council of Exceptional Children (CEC) and the Interstate New Teachers Assessment and Support Consortium (inTASC)

Top three features/qualities of our program:

Our full-time faculty is highly qualified with many years of experience working with individuals with disabilities, and their families, in diverse school and clinical settings, and is also actively engaged in research and professional service. Further, we have a strong supporting Adjunct faculty that brings unique practitioner inputs to our programs. To access information about our Faculty, please visit:

Our courses are offered across multiple campus sites (Queens, Manhattan, Staten Island, and Long Island) with ample online course offerings.  Online courses allow students to learn at their own pace and participate in interactive and creative online learning opportunities

Programs that offer multiple opportunities for engagement in professional activities, academic service learning, and global education consistent with the University’s Catholic and Vincentian mission. 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.

Why is the experience unique at St. John’s ?

Our students complete 150 hours of supervised special education practicum in various settings including self-contained, inclusive, and mainstreamed classrooms. St. John’s program is unique in that it allows students to develop skills to teach exceptional students in schools, clinics, and early intervention settings. 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 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), through rigorous course work based on evidence-based practices, applied observation and practicum experiences, and engagement in student activities, including academic service learning. 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.

Our students participate in 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 engage in several professional and networking events throughout their program developing their competencies to effectively communicate and interact with stakeholders in collaborative and inclusive ways.  Please visit our CEC Student Chapter page at to learn more about the exciting opportunities for professional preparation and student engagement that we offer to our students as part of their overall experience in our Special Education program.

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

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

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 

*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 9003: Literacy Development for the First and Second Language Learners (10 Hrs. Fieldwork)
EDU 7266: Technology for Literacy-Based Application in Content Area Learning in regular and Special Education Settings

EDU 9700: Research in Collaborative Partnerships, Strategic Instruction for General, Special, and Inclusive Educational Settings: Childhood (10 Hrs. Fieldwork)
EDU 9707: Curriculum Adaptation and Modification Planning for Exceptional Students: Childhood (10 Hrs. Fieldwork)
EDU 9711: Education and Accommodating Needs for Individuals with Exceptionalities, K-12 (15 Hrs. Fieldwork)
EDU 9712: Educational Assessment of Individuals with Exceptionalities (prerequisite EDU 9711) (20 Hrs. Fieldwork)
EDU 9716: Curriculum and Instructional 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 –Childhood (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-(150 Hrs.) – ChildhoodMust 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

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


Federal Regulations require all higher education institutions offering an academic program designed to meet the educational requirements for a professional license or certification or advertised as such, to provide potential students with information about whether completion of that program would meet the educational requirements for licensure/certification in the state of the student’s location upon enrollment.

This program prepares students for licensure/certification in New York State. Students who plan to work in a state other than NY, must visit our Professional Licensure Disclosure Information page where we have indicated if this program meets or does not meet the educational requirements for specific states.

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