Apr 14, 2024  
2018-2019 Course Catalog 
2018-2019 Course Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Early Childhood Education/Special Education, M.A.T.

Also see

Special Education Literacy, M.A.  
Special Education - Comprehensive, M.A.T.  

The Early Childhood Special Education Master of Arts in Teaching is for candidates seeking an initial teaching license within a master’s degree. Graduates earn a master’s with initial licensure to teach Special Education in nursery and kindergarten levels, and elementary education in Grades 1, 2 and 3.

This program meets the new State Board of Education policy, which reads: Applicants for a professional educator certificate who are first certified in Connecticut after July 1, 2016, shall complete a minimum of 15 graduate credits of content or content pedagogy, either as part of or in addition to a master’s degree. 

Program outcomes

Students will:

  • Be critical thinkers and effective problem solvers who are concerned with the social, emotional and intellectual issues of young children in the contemporary educational setting
  • Apply advanced pedagogy in child development, curriculum, instruction and assessment to engage young students in reaching their potential as individuals and as learners
  • Develop the capacity to influence and advance positive change for young children and the profession of early childhood education in a complex global society
  • Encourage development of collaborative relationships among all adults and agencies responsible for the appropriate emotional, social and cognitive development of young children

Acceptance requirements

  1. Graduate admission application and nonrefundable admission fee
  2. A conferred bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution
  3. A minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA of 2.67 
  4. Two sealed official transcripts of all undergraduate work and any prior graduate work
  5. Two letters of recommendation from individuals who can attest to the candidate’s suitability as a prospective teacher or to work with children and families, accompanied by the School of Graduate and Professional Studies cover form. Note: Recommendations must be obtained from individuals who are not family members, personal friends or members of the School of Education at USJ.
  6. Immunization record using the USJ Health Service form available on the University website
  7. A planned program of study developed by the candidate and the faculty advisor, approved by the chair of the Department of Education

Continuation requirements

Students must earn a grade of B or better in their first attempt in their first two classes to remain in the program. They must earn a B or better in all courses for continuous progression throughout the program.

Exit requirements

Eligible candidates for the master of arts in teaching degree submit an edTPA portfolio for national scoring during their  EDUC 523 - Student Teaching and Student Teaching Seminar: Primary Grades 1, 2 or 3  placement. Upon successful completion of the edTPA requirements, CT state license test requirements (Pearson ECE 002 and Pearson Foundations of Reading Test); candidates earn their MAT degree.

Required clinical experience for licensure

A portfolio is required to address all standards. No comprehensive exam.

Other opportunities In education

Laboratory schools

The School of Education benefits from two laboratory schools. The Gengras Center, an on campus school for students with significant disabilities, and the School for Young Children, an early childhood school nearby, offer students pre-professional opportunities in working with teachers, children and families.

Kappa Delta Pi Honor Society

Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education has been active at USJ since 2009. The society has a long-standing commitment to “recognizing excellence and fostering mutual cooperative support, and professional growth for educational professionals.” Letters of invitation are sent in March to students eligible for membership informing them of an April orientation meeting and an initiation ceremony in the spring.


The School of Education has partnerships with several school districts and agencies, which provide candidates the opportunity to interact with K-12 students under faculty supervision. Longstanding partnerships include: Bloomfield School District, Connecticut Department of Children and Family Services, and West Hartford Schools. Candidates are provided authentic opportunities to assess, teach and collaborate with others.