An Intensive 13-Month Program

A semester-by-semester guide of what to expect as you proceed side-by-side with your small cohort through our M.S. graduate education program.

What to Expect Semester-by-Semester

Students who have not completed the prerequisite coursework in education can be admitted provisionally to the M.S. Program. The May Term at Ithaca College provides an opportunity for provisionally-admitted students to complete one of the prerequisite courses in education:

  • EDUC 21910: Early Field Experiences: Theory and Practice (3 credits)
  • EDUC 34000: Social and Cultural Foundations of Education (3 credits)
  • MATH 29000: Mathematics for Childhood Education (3 credits) prerequisite beginning Summer 2009

Note: These Ithaca College courses are also offered during the fall and/or spring semesters and can be taken prior to application to the program.  The two courses offered by the Education Department are also offered during the January Term.  In addition, equivalent coursework can be taken at other accredited colleges and universities.

The Childhood Education Program begins on the first day of Ithaca College's first summer session, on the Tuesday after Memorial Day, with a Program Orientation designed to provide an overview of the program's goals and structure, an introduction to the work of the summer session, and the opportunity to engage with fellow learners in the cohort.

Coursework during Summer Sessions I and II consists of 12 graduate credits:

  • Foundations of Language, Literacy, and Culture (3 credits)
  • Teaching and Learning in Diverse Elementary Schools (3 credits)
  • Language Development and Second Language Acquisition (3 credits)
  • Curriculum and Instruction in Elementary School Science (3 credits)
  • In addition, students also attend the state-required workshop on Harassment, Bullying, and Discrimination.
  • Students participate in a local-area field experience during Summer Session II.
  • Towards the end of the summer, students assist a mentor teacher with preparation for the school year.

In addition, M.S. students attend the Ithaca City School District's orientation for new teachers and assist a mentor teacher as she/he prepares an elementary school classroom for the school year.

The fall semester in the Childhood Education Program is an intensive one, as students enroll in 12 graduate credits and spend three days per week working with a mentor teacher in a local-area elementary school.

Coursework during the Fall Semester:

  • Curriculum and Instruction in Elementary School Language Arts and Literacy (3 credits)
  • Curriculum and Instruction in Elementary School Mathematics (3 credits)
  • Curriculum and Instruction in Elementary School Social Studies (3 credits)
  • Exceptional Child in the Classroom (3 credits)

In addition, students attend state-required sessions on Child Abuse, Drug and Alcohol Abuse, and Violence Prevention.

Fall field experiences include the following:

  • Observation, tutoring, team-teaching, and general classroom assistance in an Ithaca-area elementary school classroom
  • A week-long October field experience at the Washington Heights Academy in NYC

During the spring semester in the program, students enroll in 9 credits:

  • Professional Semester in Education (6 credits)
  • Seminar in Reflective Practice (3 credits)

M.S. students participate in two student teaching internships, one in grades 1-3 and the other in grades 4-6. Experienced cooperating teachers provide modeling, mentorship, and ongoing feedback throughout the internships. College faculty meet regularly and work closely with the Childhood Education students and their mentors in shared discussions and analyses of teaching and learning.

Reflective practice and teacher research are core components of the professional experience.  Students meet weekly in collegial seminars to engage in critical reflection on their teaching practices and to support one another's professional development.  Each Childhood Education student explores a classroom issue in an action research project that helps inform the student's teaching practice.

Childhood Education graduate students reflect on and analyze the results of the teacher inquiry project conducted during the professional experience in the spring. Written reports on these research projects are completed, and oral presentations are prepared for the annual teacher inquiry conference held in June. This research project paper/presentation is completed in lieu of a thesis or comprehensive exam and is expected to demonstrate the candidate's strengths as a reflective practitioner, knowledgeable about both recent research and current best practice.

During this final semester, students:

  • Enroll in a 3-credit course in Educational Technology
  • Enroll in a 1-credit course in Music
  • Enroll in a 1-credit course in Art
  • Complete the final revision of the Teacher Inquiry Project Paper, and
  • Give a presentation on their research project at IC's annual Conference on Teacher Inquiry.

Upon completion of this final semester in the program, M.S. students work with our Office of Teaching and Certification to apply for an initial teaching certificate in New York State. Initial certification as a teacher in the state of New York requires passing scores on four certification exams. Fees for these exams total approximately $700; specific information about exam costs is available on the state's teacher certification exam site. The application for certification in New York costs $40.