Undergraduate majors in exceptional education study within a cross-categorical program focusing on the education of students, who have a variety of regular and special instructional needs. Included are students in disability groups traditionally associated with mental retardation, physical/neurological disabilities, and learning and behavioral problems.
Graduates of the program typically obtain positions as teachers in resource rooms, self-contained classrooms, special schools, and residential facilities, or as consultant teachers in general education settings. Students who pursue initial certification in both childhood special education and childhood education are particularly well qualified to work with students with special needs in integrated education settings. Students in exceptional education complete coursework in elementary education to be recommended for initial certification as a teacher of childhood education (grades 1–6) in New York State, as well as being recommended for initial certification as a teacher of childhood special education in New York State.
Candidates for initial certification in special education must achieve passing scores on the Liberal Arts and Sciences Test (LAST), the Assessment of Teaching Skills-Written (ATS-W), Multi-Subject Content Specialty Test, and the Students with Disabilities Content Specialty Test of the New York State Teacher Certification Exam (NYSTCE).
Students must provide evidence of potential for success to be admitted into the exceptional education program. Entering freshmen who express an interest in exceptional education on their applications to Buffalo State will be assigned to premajor status (0301) and will be accepted into exceptional education (0299) after: (1) successfully completing 12 credit hours at Buffalo State, (2) successfully completing ENG 101 and ENG 102, (3) earning at least two minimum grades of C in two Intellectual Foundations courses, (4) completing the mathematics basic skills competency requirement, and (5) earning a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.6.
Transfer students from other colleges who are not directly accepted into the exceptional education program by the Admissions Office will be accepted as exceptional education premajors (0301). They will be accepted as majors (0299) after (1) successfully completing 12 credit hours at Buffalo State, (2) waiving/successfully completing ENG 101 and 102, (3) earning at least two minimum grades of C in two cognate foundations courses, unless waived by an associate of arts or associate of science degree, (4) passing the mathematics basic skills competency requirement, unless waived, and (5) earning a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.6.
Buffalo State students who are undeclared or wishing to change to an exceptional education major from another major will be accepted directly into the program (0299) after (1) successfully completing ENG 101 and 102, (2) earning at least two minimum grades of C in two cognate foundations courses, (3) passing the mathematics basic skills competency requirement, and (4) earning a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.6. Students who meet criteria 1, 2, and 3 above will be accepted as premajors (0301) if their cumulative GPA is between 2.5 and 2.59. They can be accepted into the major only after earning a cumulative GPA of 2.6.
The exceptional education program is a dual-certification program for teachers of special education and elementary education. Students must complete 158-176 credits to graduate, compared with 120 credit hours in most other programs. Graduates are recommended for New York State Initial Certification in two specialties: exceptional education, which focuses on educating learners who have special instructional needs, and childhood education (grades pre-K-6). Graduates must meet all the requirements to receive permanent certification to teach in New York State.
Graduates typically obtain positions as teachers in resource rooms, self-contained classrooms, inclusive classrooms, special schools, and residential facilities or as consultant teachers in standard education settings. Students are well qualified to work with students with special needs in inclusive education settings.
Graduates are employed throughout the United States and in many foreign countries as special education teachers in preschools, elementary schools, and junior and senior high schools; as administrators in schools, community agencies, and state agencies; and as college professors and scholars.
Recent graduates have been hired by school districts in Buffalo and Western New York, across New York and the United States; and at institutions such as United Cerebral Palsy, Gateway-Longview, Baker Victory Services, Stanley G. Falk School, and Buffalo Hearing & Speech Center.
Intellectual Foundations Requirements: 39–66 cr
Total Required Credit Hours for Concentration: 30 cr
A concentration can be in one of the following subjects: English, French, Italian, math, science, social studies, Spanish, or American studies.
Total Required Credit Hours for the Exceptional Education Major: 65 cr
EDF 202 Child Development and Education
EDF 203 School and Society
EDF 302 Educational Psychology: Elementary Education
EDU 211 Introduction to Literacy
EDU 310 Teaching Social Studies in the Elementary School
EDU 311 Teaching Reading and Language Arts (6)
EDU 312 Teaching Math and Science (6)
EDU 404 Practicum in Elementary School Teaching (6)
EXE 100 Nature and Needs of Individuals with Special Needs
EXE 360 Foundations of Teaching Individuals with Disabilities
EXE 361 Field Experience in Teaching Individuals with Disabilities (1)
EXE 362 Behavior Management
EXE 363 Field Experience in Behavior Management (1)
EXE 364 Educating Students with Severe Disabilities
EXE 365W Evaluation and Assessment in Special Education
EXE 366 Field Experience in Evaluation and Assessment in Special Education (1)
EXE 367W Curriculum for Children with Mild Disabilities
EXE 368 Field Experience in Curriculum for Children with Mild Disabilities (2)
EXE 375 Integration of Technology into Education
EXE 420 Practicum in Special Education (6)
Distribution Courses: 24 cr
6 credit hours can be in each of the following areas: English, math, science, and social studies.
Total Required Credit Hours: 161–179 cr