Teacher working with student
Catholic University's program in Early Childhood Special Education offers graduate students the opportunity to complete a dual licensure program through our Master of Arts degree (M.A.) or Graduate Teacher Certification Program (GTCP). It prepares post-baccalaureate candidates to become reflective practitioners able to work in early childhood settings within public, private, and parochial schools. Students learn how to help infants and young children with exceptional needs develop so that they can become successful in a diverse and changing society.
The Catholic University program fosters the development of skills and expertise so that graduates can work collaboratively in a network of early childhood settings and a variety of programs, including early intervention, public elementary schools, public charter schools, Early Head Start, and preschools. The University places a strong emphasis on cross-cultural sensitivities and backgrounds, especially bilingual language development and bilingual school settings. The program is also notable for its family-centered emphasis.

 Graduate Handbook and other Documents

For additional information, please contact Dr. Carole Brown: brownc@cua.edu


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Program Requirements

Catholic University's program in Early Childhood Special Education offers graduate students the opportunity to complete a dual licensure program through our Master of Arts degree (M.A.) or Graduate Teacher Certification Program (GTCP).

  Number Course Description M.A. GTCP
Spring (initial)
EDUC 639 Human Growth and Development X X
EDUC 581 Educating Diverse Learners X X
Summer (initial)
EDUC 531 Literacy and Language Instruction for Diverse Readers X X
EDUC 532 Modification and Adaptation of Curriculum and Instruction of The Exceptional Individual X X
EDUC 525 Psychology of Learning for Diverse Learners X X
EDUC 572 Language and Cultural Issues in Bilingual Education X X
EDUC 702 Advanced Foundations of Education X  
Spring (final)
EDUC 635 Psychological Measurement X X
EDUC 699 Introduction to Educational Research X  
Summer (final)
EDUC 533 Field Experience in Assessment X X
EDUC 573 Family Support Using A Strengths-Based Model X X
EDUC 575 Supervised Internship: Early Childhood X X

Transfer of Credits

University policy permits the transfer of up to 6 credit hours of previous graduate work into the MA or GTCP program with the approval of the student's academic advisor and the Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences. In addition, the Department of Education normally will consider for transfer only credits earned in the five-year period immediately preceding the student's admission to the University and for which the student earned a grade of "B" or better. Older graduate work will be reviewed for its continued currency in the field of education. Transfer credits to replace EDUC 525, EDUC 699, and EDUC 702 are not usually allowed.

Research Papers for the M.A. in Early Childhood Special Education

Two major research papers are required for the M.A. in Early Childhood Special Education. One research paper is written in EDUC 699: Introduction to Educational Research and the second research paper in EDUC 702: Advanced Foundations of Education.
The research papers are scholarly, comprehensive literature review papers on an approved topic.  Each paper must be at least 20 pages in length and include at least 20 scholarly references. The professor of record for the course will grade the papers. Students must receive a grade of B or better in order for the paper to satisfy the requirement. Students who receive a grade lower than B on the paper will have the option of working with the professor of the course to improve the paper to meet the requirement of a B grade.
Completed papers must be approved by the course instructor and by the Department Chair. They indicate their approval by signing the Research Paper Form, which includes an abstract of the paper. Approval signatures are due at the completion of the term in which the course is taken.

Field Experience

Early Childhood Special Education candidates are required to complete three field experiences, which occur during the summer: the first field experience occurs in the summer term following their first term of coursework; the second and third field experiences occur in the second and final semester. Together, the three field experiences and course fieldwork total 500 hours.
Candidates' teaching practices are observed and evaluated by University supervisors, during EDUC 532 and again in EDUC 575. The overall evaluation of student teaching is conducted twice; the initial observation occurs during EDUC 532: Modification and Adaptation of Curriculum and Instruction of the Exceptional Individual. The final observation occurs in the final field experience during EDUC 575: Supervised Internship: Early Childhood. The midterm evaluation is a formative assessment conducted by the University supervisor, the student's cooperating teacher and the student (three-way assessment). During this three-way assessment, goals for improvement of the student's performance are developed. The final evaluation is a summative, three-way evaluation of overall student teaching performance with input from the candidate, cooperating teacher and university supervisor.