Early Childhood Education: Special Education MA Dual


In the Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Education/Teaching Students with Disabilities (Dual Certification) programs at Teachers College, Columbia University, we prepare early education professionals who are committed to the well-being of young children with and without disability labels and who are knowledgeable about Birth-Grade 2 education, special education, and early intervention. Our degree programs focus on urban settings and center issues pertaining to curriculum, social justice, teaching, and learning across abilities. Our students are prepared to engage in the real world, skillfully addressing important issues pertaining to inclusive education via pedagogical, political, psychological, and sociological perspectives.

Our program offers both a full-time and part-time option. However, please note (in accordance with NYS guidelines), all students will be required to engage in one semester of full-time student teaching. Designed as a cohort model, anticipated duration for full-time students range from 1 ½ years (3 semesters + 2 summers) or 2 years (without summers). 

Prioritizing theory in practice, our program at TC requires that students in the Early Childhood Education and Early Childhood Education/Teaching Students with Disabilities- Dual Certification programs at TC participate in several field experiences (student teaching, practicum), which serve as the foundation from which to theorize about child development, learning, and inclusive curriculum. By bringing together coursework and fieldwork, graduates are well-prepared to begin and continue to develop their professional identity and practice in research-informed ways. Many of our graduates have gone on to become early childhood practitioners, administrators, community organizers, school founders/leaders, authors, researchers, and professors.

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A graduate student studies in the TC library using a book and her laptop.

Admissions Information

Displaying requirements for the Spring 2024, Summer 2024, and Fall 2024 terms.

Master of Arts

  • Points/Credits: 42
  • Entry Terms: Summer, Fall


View Public Disclosure Notification

  • NY State Initial: Birth-2
  • NY State Initial: Students with Disabilities Birth-2

Application Deadlines

Entry Term AvailablePriority DeadlinesFinal DeadlinesExtended Deadlines
SummerJanuary 15, 2024April 1, 2024May 1, 2024
FallJanuary 15, 2024April 1, 2024May 1, 2024

Program has reached enrollment capacity and is no longer accepting applications for the following 2024 term(s): Fall, Summer.

Select programs remain open beyond our standard application deadlines, such as those with an extended deadline or those that are rolling (open until June or July). If your program is rolling or has an extended deadline indicated above, applications are reviewed as they are received and on a space-available basis. We recommend you complete your application as soon as possible as these programs can close earlier if full capacity has been met.

Application Requirements

 Online Degree Application, including Statement of Purpose and Resume
 Transcripts and/or Course-by-Course Evaluations for all Undergraduate/Graduate Coursework Completed
 Results from an accepted English Proficiency Exam (if applicable)
 $75 Application Fee
 Two (2) Letters of Recommendation
 Preference that one (1) letter of recommendation be academic

Requirements from the TC Catalog (AY 2023-2024)

Displaying catalog information for the Fall 2023, Spring 2024 and Summer 2024 terms.

View Full Catalog Listing

Course requirements for M.A. degree students seeking initial dual teacher certification as both early childhood teachers and teachers of students with disabilities in early childhood (birth–Grade 2):


C&T 4302    Supervised practicum in the educational assessment of young children with disabilities (3)

C&T 4308      Introduction to diverse early childhood classrooms (3)

C&T 4708      Student teaching in early childhood setting (4)

C&T 5118      Infant and toddler development and practice (3)

Foundations and Methods Courses

C&T 4003      Differentiation and inclusion in early childhood classrooms (3)

C&T 4080      Child development and intersectional identities (3)

C&T 4083          Home/school/community partnerships (3)

C&T 4112      Integrated curriculum in early childhood education: curricular inquiry and design (3)

C&T 4114      Integrated curriculum in early childhood education: diversity, equity, and technologies (3)

C&T 4131     Play, language, and early childhood curriculum (3)

C&T 4132      Language and teaching in the primary reading/writing classroom (3)  or selected  alternative

A&HM 4022 The artistic Lives of young children (2)   or selected alternative

Out of Department Elective (6)

Elective (3)

Elective in special education  (3)

Culminating Project:

Students complete an integrative portfolio over the course of the degree program reflecting their growth as an early childhood teacher.

New York State Education Department (NYSED) mandates teacher certification requirements that are needed for program completion and graduation which are listed in the Office of Teacher Education section of the catalog.

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