Support student needs with a Master’s Degree in Special Education

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

Earn New York State Special Education Certification

This master’s degree in Special Education is designed for individuals who have met certification requirements for Childhood Education and are looking to become certified in Special Education.

(If you would like to pursue certification in Childhood Education and Special Education, please see our Childhood/Special Education program. )

To become certified, graduates of the Special Education master’s program must take the Content Specialty Test in Students with Disabilities. After this, graduates go on to be special educators in grades 1-6.

If you are interested in dual certification, please see Russell Sage College’s dual master’s degree program in Special Education/Literacy.



More About Sage’s Special Education Master’s Degree

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.

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.


“We offer a variety of graduate programs to meet Special Education certification requirements in New York state.”

Peter Stapleton, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Education

Spotlights Pattern

Careers with a Special Education Master’s Degree

With a Special Education master’s degree, you’ll be prepared to teach across the continuum of special education: in classrooms, resource rooms and within specialized programs.

Recent graduates have been hired as special education teachers in the Albany, New York, area, in Queensbury, New York, and throughout New York state. They also work as education data consultants, as directors of student support services and in other education administration roles.

Student Teaching in the Special Education Master’s Program

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  supervise and work collaboratively with you and your cooperating teacher.


Most student teaching experiences are 50 hours across a five-week period.


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 semesters

Next steps?

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Have questions about a master’s degree in Special Education?

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