Childhood Education

Childhood Education Admission Requirements

Admission to the childhood education program is highly selective. Applicants are expected to have a strong general education background in the liberal arts and sciences and a demonstrated interest in and commitment to working with diverse student populations in educational settings.

Applicants must have earned a cumulative grade point average of 3.00 (on a 4.00 scale) from an accredited college or university, with the completion of a general liberal arts and sciences curriculum and a major in an academic discipline. Admission to the childhood education program -- and teaching certification in New York -- also requires the successful completion, or the equivalent, of at least one semester of college-level study in a language other than English.

The M.S. program in childhood education has established two prerequisite courses in education:

  • EDUC 21910 Early Field Experience: Theory and Practice (includes 50 hours of field experiences in school settings) -- 3 credits
  • EDUC 34000 Social and Cultural Foundations of Education -- 3 credits

These prerequisite courses are offered at Ithaca College multiple times each year. Ithaca College undergraduates who plan to apply to the childhood education program are encouraged to take these courses prior to graduation. Applicants from other accredited institutions can submit evidence of course-equivalent syllabi and grades of B or better in these courses, as well as satisfactory completion of 50 hours of course-connected, school-based field experiences. Childhood education applicants who have not completed these prerequisites may be admitted provisionally with the expectation that these prerequisites be met according to stipulations established by the graduate chair.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to take -- prior to admission, for advising purposes -- the Liberal Arts and Sciences Test (LAST), one of the three examinations required for New York State teacher certification. For information about this exam, see

Teacher Certification Examinations

Requirements for the M.S. in Childhood Education

A total of 38 credits, including a full professional semester of student teaching, is required.

A cumulative average of 3.00 or better must be maintained in order to graduate.

This program is designed for candidates seeking initial teaching certification in childhood education, grades 1-6.

Childhood Education Program Coursework (38 credits):

EDUC 50000 Professional Development Seminar 0
EDUC 50100 Literacy Development and Second Language Acquisition 3
EDUC 50300 The Exceptional Child and the Classroom 3
EDUC 51210 Seminar in Reflective Practice 3
EDUC 60000 Professional Semester in Education 6
EDUC 61000 Teaching and Learning in Diverse Elementary Schools 3
EDUC 62000 Curriculum and Instruction in Elementary School Social Studies 3
EDUC 63000 Curriculum and Instruction in Elementary School Science 3
EDUC 64000 Curriculum and Instruction in Elementary School Mathematics 3
EDUC 65000 Curriculum and Instruction in Elementary School Language Arts and Literacy 3
HPEG 57700 Teaching and Learning for Healthy Growth and Development 3
COMM 56500 Educational Technology for Childhood Educators 3
ART 52500 Integrating Visual Art in the Elementary School Curriculum 1
MUED 65000 Music for Elementary Classroom Teachers 1

Teacher certification requirements (noncredit workshops):

Prior to graduation, all childhood education students must have attended and participated in these three state-required workshops, each of which is offered several times a year on the Ithaca College campus:

  • Child Abuse Identification and Prevention
  • School Violence Prevention and Intervention
  • Drug and Alcohol Abuse: Identification and Prevention

Professional Portfolio and Action Research Project

In lieu of a thesis requirement and/or a comprehensive exam, the childhood education program includes the graduation requirement that all students complete both a professional development electronic portfolio and an action research project. The professional portfolio provides evidence that the childhood education candidate has met College, state, and national standards for effective teaching, and its preparation begins during the first semester of the childhood education program. The action research project is also a yearlong project: the research proposal is developed in the summer and fall, data is collected and analyzed in the spring, and the research report is written and presented in the final summer semester of the program.

Professional Semester in Education

During the spring semester in the program, childhood education students complete two student teaching experiences, one in grades 1-3 and the other in grades 4-6. Student teaching is a full-time commitment requiring full days in public schools and additional hours spent in planning, assessment, after-school activities, and a weekly seminar. Childhood education students are not allowed to enroll in additional courses or participate in varsity sports, musical ensembles, or theater performances at the College during the professional semester.