Support student needs.

Special educators teach students (grades 1-6) with a wide range of challenges and barriers related to their educational performances.


This master’s degree in Special Education is designed for students who have met the certification requirements for Childhood Education and are looking to become certified in Special Education. The Special Education master’s program at Russell Sage College will provide you with a wide range of classes to assist in building your repertoire of skills — preparing you to teach across the special-education continuum.


Small class sizes will allow you to build relationships with your professors. Faculty create a positive and engaging learning community that focuses on personal attention and student support, and they have extensive experience teaching general- and special-education students. They are employed as special educators, administrators and consultants with diverse and vast ranges of experiences.

Program Distinctions

Many students with disabilities and barriers to educational learning struggle with literacy and math, often presenting with behavioral challenges. The Special Education master’s program focuses on specialized, evidence-based strategies for teaching concepts, as well as a tiered approach to academic and behavioral challenges.

Within this program, you’ll learn dynamic and effective classroom management strategies — a vital tool for any educator — but especially special educators. By the time you finish the program, you’ll also be well-versed in how to provide support to students with high- and low-incidence disabilities, as well as those who need specific targeted individualized support.

This program is accredited by the Association for Advancing Quality in Educator Preparation (AAQEP).

“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 be fully prepared for your career as an exceptional special educator when you graduate from the Special Education master’s program.

Student Teaching

You’ll work one-on-one  with faculty and the Director of Student Teaching to figure out your best fit for student teaching placement. Faculty will also supervise and work collaboratively with you and your cooperating teacher. Most student teaching experiences are 50 hours across a five-week period.


To become certified as a special educator, graduates of the program must take the Content Specialty Test (CST) in Students with Disabilities. After this, graduates go on to be special educators in grades 1-6.

With a Special Education master’s degree, you’ll be prepared to teach across the continuum of special education. You’ll be efficient as a co-teacher, consultant teacher (providing direct and indirect services), resource room and within a specialized self-contained program.

Learning Experience

You’ll have the chance to participate in practical experiences while studying theoretical research background in this program. 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.

Teaching Across the Continuum

The Special Education master’s program focuses on providing you with knowledge on general support and best practices for whole-class academic and behavioral supports. Many classes include role playing to mimic experiences you’re likely to engage in within the school community.

As well as student teaching, there are several opportunities to teach small groups of at-risk students in reading, writing and mathematics within an urban school prior to student teaching.

You’ll also learn technology and best practices for educating students with disabilities. Assistive technology is addressed throughout various classes.

Application Requirements

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

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

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Have questions?

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