Skip to navigation menu

Skip to main content

Gifted Education
Teachers College, Columbia University
teachers college logo columbia univertsity logo

Gifted Education

In the Department of Curriculum & Teaching

Program Information > Course of Study

Course of Study

Students must earn 32 credits and complete a culminating project to earn the M.A. in the Education of Gifted Students.  The course of study consists of courses in the following areas:

The Nature of Giftedness

Courses in this area focus on the nature of giftedness and intelligence and include an advanced seminar that deals with topical issues in gifted education.  There are three required courses and one elective course dealing with the education of young gifted students.

Teaching Gifted Students

Three required courses focus on pedagogical issues in gifted education, including curriculum differentiation, instructional models, and program planning.

Out of-program Courses

Depending on how many credits a student accrues in the previous two areas, students take 9 to 16 credits of coursework in programs outside the Program in the Education of Gifted Students.  These courses are chosen in consultation with the academic advisor with the goal of addressing gaps in the student’s professional education and constituting a coherent course of study.

Field Placement
Depending on the student’s experience, he or she completes one semester of student teaching in a classroom for gifted students or a practicum designed to complement his or her coursework.

The Culminating Project
The culminating project for students in the Professional-certification Program in the Education of Gifted Students consists of a professional-development portfolio that documents the student’s growth as an educator. Students are responsible for designing, compiling, managing, and submitting the portfolio prior to graduation.  The portfolio is not graded and does not earn academic credit.  Completed portfolios are retained by the College as part of our accreditation requirements.  Please see page 4 for more information about the Professional-development Portfolio.


The Nature of Giftedness (6 -12 credits)

Required Courses:

C&T 4021       Nature and Needs of Gifted Students (2-3)

C&T 4026       Giftedness and Intelligence: Theoretical Approaches (2-3)

C&T 5506       Advanced Seminar: Giftedness (3)

Elective Courses:

C&T 4025       Nurturing Talents & Gifts during the Early Childhood Years (2-3)


Teaching Gifted Students
(6 - 9 credits) 

Required Courses: 

C&T 4023       Differentiated Curriculum for Gifted Students (2-3)

C&T 4022       Instructional Models in the Education of Gifted Students (1-3)

C&T 4024       Planning and Implementing Programs for Gifted Students (3)


Out-Of-Program Requirements (8 - 17 credits) 

Additional courses to be determined in consultation with your advisor.

Field Placement (3 credits)

C&T 4702       Observation and Student Teaching: Gifted (3)


C&T 5302       Advanced Practicum: Gifted (3)

Culminating Project (0 credits)

Completion of the Professional-development Portfolio.


Your culminating project for the M.A. in Gifted Education for in-service students will consist of a professional-development portfolio.  This portfolio will document your professional growth as an educator over a period of time of your choosing but which must include the period in which you are a student at Teachers College.  You will be responsible for designing, compiling, managing, and submitting the portfolio to me as a requirement for graduation.  To complete the project, you must do the following:

1.      Review the literature on professional-development portfolios.  Based on your review, write a short (3-4 pages) paper discussing the rationale and implementation of such portfolios.

2.      Design your own portfolio and submit the plan to me.

3.      Maintain your portfolio.  It could contain a number of things, including, but not limited to:

  •       Degrees
  •       Certifications
  •       Papers
  •       Photographs
  •       Lesson Plans
  •       Journals

4.  There must be a separate section devoted to your Advanced Practicum (C&T 5302).  Describe your practicum and discuss how it has affected your teaching or your plans for your teaching.


5.      The last item in your portfolio should be a reflective paper (5-6 pages at most) that summarizes, analyzes, and reflects upon your professional development.  It should also address the issue of how you plan to be a life-long learner as an educational professional. 

If you have any questions about this requirement, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me at

Additional Information

If you would like more information about the program or wish to discuss any aspect of the program, the Department of Curriculum and Teaching, or Teachers College, please do not hesitate to get in touch with the Program Coordinator, Professor James Borland, at (212) 678-3801 or

James H. Borland, Ph.D.
Professor of Education
Coordinator, Programs in Gifted Education