Dual-Certificate Program

This combined master’s degree will prepare you for dual certification in teaching elementary and special education for grades 1-6.


With this master’s degree in education, you’ll be able to teach all learners in the elementary setting, grades 1-6. You’ll build your skills to teach in a general-education classroom, planning units of study and lesson plans for all students in the class. You’ll also be ready to work closely with other colleagues, including literacy specialists, speech/language teachers, occupational therapists and physical therapists. And as a special educator, you’ll be able to help students with disabilities thrive in their class.


Faculty cultivate a positive and engaging learning opportunity through this program. They have extensive experience teaching general- and special-education students and are employed as special educators and/or administrators.

Program Distinctions

This program will allow you to benefit from the knowledge of local teachers, counselors and administrators. Network and learn from active guest speakers about current trends and initiatives within the field.

There are two options for the Childhood/Special Education master’s degree — one with a traditional student-teaching experience and another with the Classroom Academy residency program starting in the summer. You’ll apply for the Classroom Academy residency at the time you submit your application for the M.S. program, if you choose to pursue this option.

Our partnership with Classroom Academy will allow you to get direct, hands-on experience through a two-year, full-time residency program for master’s-level students. You’ll assume increasing responsibility for classroom- and special-education teaching under the direction of a mentor teacher.

“Russell Sage College and the Esteves School of Education act as leaders in education not just in the Capital District, but in New York State.”

Peter Stapleton, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Education
Spotlights Pattern

Your Future

You’ll leave this program with a wealth of content and application knowledge. Once you complete your master’s degree in education, the edTPA and Content Specialty Tests (CST), you’ll meet the requirements for dual certification in teaching elementary and special education.

Student Teaching

You’ll complete two seven-week student-teaching experiences in the traditional format, one in grades 1-3 and another in grades 4-6. One placement will be in a general-education classroom, and the other will be a special-education-based experience. Get a wide range of experiences within urban, suburban and rural school districts.


Being able to teach all learners increases employability in the field. Graduates go on to work in schools as special educators as well as general-education teachers. They also pursue other education-related opportunities, such as working for the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities.

Classroom Academy

Through Russell Sage College, you can also apply (at the time you apply for your M.S. degree) to take the Classroom Academy option. This allows you to be part of a residency program where you’ll teach in a public school for two years, gaining all necessary experience for content areas (including childhood and special education) and grade levels for certification (1-6). You’ll have increasing responsibility as you’re mentored by highly qualified educators. This program allows you to fully immerse yourself in life at your school, with benefits such as a stipend and course schedules that align with the needs of working professionals.

Candidates complete their student-teaching throughout the duration of the two-year residency program.

Information and the application for the 2021 Classroom Academy are available at www.classroomacademy.org.

Learning Experience

This master’s degree in education is very interactive, with many connections to local public schools. You’ll have the chance to participate in practical experiences while studying theoretical research background. The program also includes many guest speakers from the Capital District — teachers, directors, principals and related service providers — so you can learn from the best in the field.

Course Objectives

You’ll learn best practices for working with students of varying needs, including working with gifted students. Learn through foundational knowledge, advanced theories and supervised practical experiences.

Application Requirements

  • official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended
  • one letter of recommendation
  • 1-2 page career goals essay
  • GRE is not required

Deadline: Rolling Admission
Start Date: Fall, Spring, Summer semester

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Office Coordinator: Esteves School of Education, Administrative Assistant: Professional Education Programs, and Teacher Certification Officer
Assistant Professor of Special Education and Physical Education