Frequently Asked Questions
Masters and Certification Programs in Early Childhood Special Education
1) How do I know if the Early Childhood Special Education program is the right program for me?
The Masters and certification programs in Early Childhood Special Education will prepare you to work with young children (preschool through 5th grade) of all disability categories and ranges and their families. If you would like to work with children older than 9 years of age, it is recommended that you look into another of Georgia State University’s special education programs.
2)What are the certification and degree options?
- Early Childhood Special Education General Curriculum (certified to teach all core subjects for children from preschool through 5th grade with and without disabilities included in the general curriculum)
- Preschool Special Education (certified to teach children 3-5 years old with disabilities)
- Add-on to current certification
Masters degree and certification:
- Early Childhood Special Education General Curriculum
- Preschool Special Education
3) Should I do the certification only or the Masters and certification?
- The answer to this depends on your career goals as well as your current degree status. If you already have a relevant Masters degree, it may make sense to do the certification only. If you do not already have a Masters degree, completion of the Masters degree with the certification may increase your marketability and pay scale on the job market. The Masters degree involves 3 additional courses and a comprehensive exam requirement beyond the coursework required for the certification.
4) If I am admitted into the certification only program, can I decide later to complete the Masters degree?
- Yes. You will need to apply to the M.Ed. program, which involves sending GRE scores and submission of letters of recommendation and an application fee. Note: You are only able to transfer up to 9 semester credit hours in addition to prerequisite courses to the M.Ed. program.
5) What if I already have certification in a related field and just need an endorsement to work with young children?
- You can add the Preschool Special Education endorsement to current Georgia certification in early childhood, special education or speech-language. The 3 courses are: EXC 7010 (language development) offered every summer, EXC 7650 Characteristics of Young Children with special needs (offered every fall), and EXC 7660: Methods of teaching young children with special needs (offered every spring). You must take 7650 before you take 7660 and 7660 has a required practicum 3 hours a day one day a week in a program serving young children with special needs.
6) What is a typical course load for a full-time student? What about a part-time student?
- Full time students are those taking 9 semester hours per semester (3 courses). Part-time students are taking 5 semester credit hours per semester (less than 2 courses).
7) Do I need to take prerequisite courses before I apply to the program?
- No. You do not need to take prerequisite courses before applying to or being admitted to the program. If you are missing any of the prerequisite courses, they will be included in your program plan.
8)How long will it take me to complete the program?
- If a full-time student has no prerequisite courses completed prior to admission, he or she can usually complete the program in 2-3 years (including summers). Receiving credit for prerequisite courses from comparable courses completed in a previous degree program may reduce the number of semester hours required to complete the program.
9) When will I know what courses I will take?
- Once you are admitted to the program you will be assigned an advisor. You will contact your advisor and meet with her to plan your program (determining specific courses needed and when they will be taken), prior to your first semester of courses.
10) When are classes offered?
- Most classes are offered in the afternoon (e.g., 4:30-7pm) and at night (7:30-10pm). However, some courses may be offered during the day during the summer. The time each class is scheduled may vary from semester to semester and some classes are only offered once per year.
11) Do you offer distance learning or on-line courses?
- At this time, there is 1 prerequisite course and 1 Master’s level course in the program that are offered online. Parts of other courses are offered online.
12) When should I submit my application?
- Applications may be submitted at any time of the year. To be admitted, applications must be complete and all materials submitted to the Office of Academic Assistance in the College of Education. You can find admissions information on the web under the College of Education, Graduate Admissions, or you can call (404) 413-8000
13) What materials are required to be included in the application packet?
- For the certification only application, you must submit the completed application form, two copies of sealed, official undergraduate transcripts, and a 300 to 500-word essay about why you want to pursue certification.
- For the M.Ed. program application, you must submit the above with at least 2 letters of recommendation and GRE scores.
14) Who should write my letters of recommendation?
- You want individuals who know your academic potential to write letters of recommendation for you. Typically academic faculty members who taught courses in which you were enrolled serve as the most relevant letter writers. You are not limited to two letters, so an employer or supervisor might also be an appropriate person to write a letter. Personal friends, friends of the family, family members, etc. are not the best sources for recommendations.
15) What are the minimum grade point average and GRE scores required for the M.Ed. program in Multiple and Severe Disabilities?
- The Georgia State University College of Education requires that you have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.5 and a minimum GRE score of 800 in order to be considered for admission. The ECSE Program also requires that you score a minimum of 400 on both the Verbal and the Quantitative sections of the GRE. However, simply meeting the minimum requirements does not insure you will be selected for admission. You are encouraged to re-take the GRE before you apply if you do not believe your scores are a reflection of the best you can do.
16) Is the Praxis I Exam or GACE I Exam required for admission into the M.Ed. program in Multiple and Severe Disabilities?
- For some applicants it will be required. You will be exempt from the PRAXIS I Exam or GACE I Exam if you score a minimum of 1030 on the GRE, a minimum of 1000 on the SAT, or a minimum of 43 on the ACT. If you do not meet one of these criteria you must take and pass the PRAXIS I Exam or GACE I Exam: Academic Skills Assessment of Reading, Mathematics, and Writing.
17) How does admission work if I’m an international student and/or I received my undergraduate education at a university outside of the U.S.?
- You should contact the Office of Academic Assistance . They will do a course evaluation to determine if your coursework completed outside of the U.S. meets our requirements for a bachelor’s degree. They can also answer your questions about the requirements for admission for International students.
18) How does Georgia State University decide whom to admit to the program?
- Your application will go through two reviews. The initial review is done by the Office of Academic Assistance to ensure that it is complete and that you meet the minimum requirements established by the College of Education. If your complete application meets the minimum requirements, it will be reviewed by ECSE faculty. The most qualified applicants (highest GRE scores and undergraduate GPAs, most appropriate goal statements, strongest letters of recommendation, etc.) will be invited for admission.
19) When will I know if I am accepted into the program?
- You should receive your letter of acceptance within two months of your application being submitted.
20) What semester would I start the program if I am admitted?
- You may begin in any semester, including summer.
21) Who do I talk to about admissions questions?
- Our department intake specialist, Sandy Vaughn, is a wonderful resource: firstname.lastname@example.org or 404-413-8318. You can also find admissions info at the Office of Academic Assistance website .
22) Are there scholarships/graduate assistantships and financial assistance options available?
- Yes. Our program offers a limited number of graduate assistantships and these assistantships vary in terms of type of work, tuition payment, and stipend. Once you have been admitted into the program, we will send you a graduate assistantship application if requested. If an assistantship is not obtained within the MSD program, there are other options available within Georgia State. Other departments within the College of Education and other colleges at Georgia State offer graduate assistantships for which you can apply by contacting those departments. Financial aid is also available through the Office of Financial Aid .