Jul 12, 2024  
2023-2024 Undergraduate/Graduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Undergraduate/Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Childhood Education/Special Education Combined Program, B.S./M.S.Ed.

Program Coordinator

Ms. Kathryn Alton, 518-564-5144
Email: kalto001@plattsburgh.edu
Sibley Hall, Room 323H

Program Coordinator

Ms.Cynthia McCarty, 518-564-5141
Email: mccartca@plattsburgh.edu
Sibley Hall, Room 200B

Department Co-Chairs:

Dr Michelle Bonati, 518-564-5123
Email: mbona005@plattsburgh.edu
Sibley Hall, Room 200C

Dr. Heidi Schnackenberg, 518-564-5143
Email: schnachl@plattsburgh.edu
Sibley Hall, Room 200A

The Program

The Childhood Education and Special Education Combined Program prepares teacher education candidates to work with students, parents, and administrators in a rapidly changing educational landscape. The program is designed to help students maximize their college experience studying both a liberal arts concentration and the principles of teaching and learning, giving the aspiring teacher competency with the content, the learner, and the multiple contexts of teaching and learning. In the combined program, students have greater flexibility in their undergraduate education, including the opportunity to pursue four areas of New York state teacher certification. Most of the first three and a half years is spent  studying General Education, a specialization area (e.g. English Language Arts), and childhood education. Early field experiences support candidates considering the soundness of their career choice and the rigors attending that choice. The last three semesters are devoted to graduate education courses, practicum, and student teaching.

Practicum consists of a six-week supervised teaching experience in a birth-2nd grade level special education setting. Student teaching consists of two eight-week supervised teaching experiences in two different school settings. Students complete an eight-week teaching experience with school students in a childhood education setting and an eight week experience in a  special education setting.

Graduates of Childhood Education / Special Education Combined B.S./M.S.Ed. program will:

  • be eligible for “initial certification.”
  • earn a bachelor of science in childhood education 1-6.
  • earn a master’s degree in special education.
  • be eligible to apply for certification in birth-2nd grade special education.
  • be eligible to apply for certification in birth-2nd grade childhood education.
  • be eligible to apply for certification in grades 1-6 special education.
  • be eligible to apply for certification in grades 1-6 childhood education.

Internal Transfers

Any SUNY Plattsburgh student wanting to transfer into the B.S./M.S.Ed. program must meet with the Program Leader or Department Chair.


Students in the combined major are assigned an advisor who is an education faculty member. The purpose of advising is to assist students in planning their program throughout the course of study in childhood/special education at SUNY Plattsburgh, but the ultimate responsibility belongs to each student. Students have an important responsibility in the advising process and should take the initiative to seek advisement and to develop close relationships with their advisors.

Program Requirements

Students are responsible for satisfying all requirements as specified in the undergraduate catalog for the year in which they declare their academic major. A minimum grade of C is needed in each course used to meet concentration area and cognate requirements. To graduate in ten semesters, students must complete 15-18 credits each semester, plus an additional summer or winter course. To register for a course overload of more than 18 credits, students must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 and file an approved permission form with the Registrar. If a student’s cumulative GPA falls below 3.0 or the student fails to meet standards for professional behavior, the student may be dismissed from the program. Students who exhibit deficiencies in professional behavior and/or teaching performance regardless of GPA may be subject to dismissal from the program. 

Curriculum Codes for Combined Childhood Education Grades 1-6 B.S./M.S.Ed. Programs:

0330 - The Arts B.S./Special Education M.S.Ed (w/8080)
0331 - English Language Arts B.S./Special Education M.S.Ed (w/8081)
0332 - Modern Language and Cultures B.S./Special Education M.S.Ed (w/8082)
0333 - STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) B.S./Special Education M.S.Ed (w/8083)
0334 - Social Studies B.S./Special Education M.S.Ed (w/8084)
0335 - Interdisciplinary B.S./Special Education M.S.Ed (w/8085)
0336 - No Concentration

Field Experience

Field experience is an important component of the program. Throughout each semester of the program, students complete field experience in schools, day-care centers, after-school programs and other educational agencies, resulting in a minimum of 115 hours of field experience. In the students’ ninth semester, there will be a six-week practicum experience in a birth-2nd grade special education setting. The tenth semester consists of two eight-week teaching experiences. In order to apply for student teaching, students must attend one of the mandatory orientation meetings, complete an application form, and pay an application fee at the student accounts office.

Requirements for Student Teaching

Students must apply for student teaching placement in February of the year before the intended student teaching semester. Additionally, they must attend one of the application/orientation meetings, complete an application form, and pay an application.

Prior to student teaching a student must have completed:

  1. A minimum of 30 graduate hours at 3.0 GPA or above.
  2. All required graduate professional education courses through the semester preceding the student teaching experience with no grade below a B.

See additional information about student teaching and teacher certification (including the mandated NYSTCE exams) in the Education Department  section of this catalog.

Change of Status from Undergraduate to Graduate Student

Students in the combined program are undergraduates and are charged undergraduate tuition until the semester that they attempt their 13th graduate credit or meet all academic progress requirements to advance to graduate status, whichever comes first. Graduate course grades of I, W, WC, or E count as credits attempted. Graduate tuition rates apply from then onward, packaged, if applicable, with graduate forms of financial aid. Students may enroll in a graduate course after the completion of 57 undergraduate credits, a review of their academic record, and the recommendation of their education instructors. The bachelor’s and master’s degrees will be conferred simultaneously upon completion of all program requirements. If at any point a student enrolled in the combined program is found to have failed to meet any academic progress requirements, including dispositional assessments, he or she may be counseled to repeat selected coursework or other requirements or to transfer into another program.

Additional Graduate Requirements:

  • Students must maintain a GPA of 3.0 in graduate education courses.
  • Courses at the graduate level must be passed with a B or higher.
  • Students may register for a maximum of 15 graduate credits per semester.
  • Students must take an additional EDS 500-level course during summer or winter in order to graduate in ten semesters as referenced in the program requirements.

Additional Certification Requirements:

Students should refer to www.nystce.hesinc.com for updates regarding the New York State Teacher Certification Exams. All candidates must complete the online TEACH certification application, and the Banner Web TEACH waiver consent form. Completion of this waiver allows the college to notify the State Education Department of all degree completers.

After graduation the college will recommend every B.S./M.S.Ed. candidate for initial and professional certification. An initial teaching certificate is valid for 5 years. Upon completion of three years of school teaching, including a mentored first year, teachers will be eligible for professional certification. A professional certificate is valid for 5 years, renewable with 175 hours of documented professional development through the hiring school district office.

For more information on credential requirements and processes, see www.highered.nysed.gov/tcert or https://www.plattsburgh.edu/academics/certification.html

Tuition Liability for Change from Graduate to Undergraduate Program

If a student in a combined program starts a semester at the graduate level and then voluntarily or involuntarily changes their program to an undergraduate program after the date of 100% tuition liability, this change becomes effective in the subsequent semester and the student will continue to be charged the graduate tuition rate until the current semester is complete. If a student in a combined program starts a semester at the graduate level and then voluntarily or involuntarily changes their program to an undergraduate program before the date of 100% tuition liability, the change becomes effective in the current term and the student will be charged the undergraduate tuition rate for the entire semester. The student is also liable for the difference between the graduate and undergraduate tuition rate according to SUNY Tuition Refund Schedule. Note that any financial aid package would also change from graduate to undergraduate for the entire semester, and the student would be responsible for any account balance resulting from this change.